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Valles Calchaquies, Tucumán
Considered a sort of portal to northern Argentina, the Valle Calchaquí circuit in the province of Tucumán takes the tourist through various historically relevant sites, such as indigenous ruins, archeological sites, vineyards, and the constant, beautiful landscape, always accompanied by the region’s tradition and colorful folklore festivals.
The area knows no season; it is attractive year round, inviting you to come explore its most well known spaces and most hidden corners. Its landscape is vastly different from other parts of the small province, and is a great way to see the country while learning about its history and heritage. For more information about Argentina and its culture, read this Argentina Travel Guide.
To start, it is best to take RN 38 from San Miguel de Tucumán south to Acheral, just 45 kilometers from the capital city. From there, head west on RP 307, and you will begin the climb through the jungle mountainous roads.
El Monumento al Indio is your first stop, situated 1,100 meters above sea level, inside the Parque Provincial Los Sosa. From here, you will see impressive panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and hills.
Entering Tafí del Valle, you will notice an important change in vegetation, due to the altitude of 2,000 meters. El Mollar and Tafí del Valle are two of the summer villages most chosen by tourists.
This summer getaway is set at the foot of the Nuñorco hill, and attracts all sorts of young visitors with its incredible opportunities. Walks and horseback rides, water sports, camping and all sorts of adventure activities away, and in the winter, the small locale and its snowcapped peaks attract a more tranquil crowd, happy to enjoy the setting while relaxing. The key points to visit here are the Reserva Arqueológica Los Menhires, the Dique La Angostura (especially for water sports), el Criadero de Truchas, and la Capilla Virgen de Covadonga, an impressive chapel.
Just 4 kilometers north of El Mollar, Tafí del Valle is a picturesque little town located in the center of the valley, with everything the tourist could want. Once a Jesuit town, it has many years of history to be explored, coupled with the adventure tourism the area is known for. Don’t miss the Museo Jesuítico La Banda and el Museo de Mitos y Leyendas, where you can learn about local myths and legends. There are also archeological reserves, indigenous ruins, cheese producers, rural accommodations, rivers, hills and waterfalls.
Amaicha del Valle
The next stop is Amaicha del Valle, rich is local customs and traditions. This can be reached by crossing over El Infiernillo, the highest passable point in Tucumán, at 3,000 meters. This separates Tafí valley from Yokavil valley, and will also lead you through Ampimpa, which has a great astronomic observatory. Amaicha del Valle has one of the best climates in the world, but offers more than great weather. It is also an important part of Argentine history and tradition, as it continues to uphold the traditions of generations past. True artisans live and work here, producing not only cloth and ceramic goods, but sweets, cheeses and turrons, also. Here, the Fiesta Nacional de La Pachamama is celebrated annually, celebrating Mother Earth. There are also many museums and cultural sites here.
Ruinas de Quilmes
The next stop on the route is the most important archeological site in all of Argentina. The ruins of the warrior Quilmes people are here, and their descendents still inhabit these lands. The town of Quilmes itself is full of history and tradition, and the ruins are just a stone’s throw away; they represent the largest pre-Spanish settlement in Argentina.