It’s been an absolutely incredible week. We flew into Salta city on friday night and then my friend and I had a Parilla for 2; it was the biggest portion of meat I’ve seen here. On Saturday we hiked up to a lookout with a stray dog then had some of the best empanadas in Argentina. We then wandered through a park North of town and hiked around. We went off trail and swam in a hidden creek, followed by a hike up to a summit that overlooked the small town and Salta city in the distance. Afterwards, we couldn’t find a taxi back so we walked down a dirt road until we stumbled upon a hostel that luckily was able to call us a taxi.
We saw an Inca museum that had a completely preserved body from Inca tribal sacrifices. It was pretty crazy how real it looked; the process to maintain the body must be totally involved. Later, We hit the road on Sunday for Pumamarca. It was such a sick feeling going down a highway with beautiful mountains and open road ahead. What. A. Day.
Monday we went to the salt flats. It was crazy going up to an altitude half of Everest with switchbacks every 500 feet. The salt flats looked like a snow desert; it was vast and silent. The ground tasted like normal table salt. We then split a bottle of wine overlooking the mountain of 7 colors at sunset to cap off an amazing day.
Tuesday we hit the road for Humamarca. Upon arrival, the tourism office flagged us down to offer us a truck ride up to the mountain of 14 colors. Lucky we did that, a couple had a flat tire up near the peak. This mountain made the 7 colors mountain look like a crumble falling off of a piece of bread; it was huge and super impressive. Although it was only a short walk to the lookout, the altitude of 14,000 feet made it so tiring. To go down, we all sat in the bed of the truck; it was the best tour I’ve had in Argentina.
We got to Tilcara Tuesday afternoon and unfortunately didn’t get to enter the Inca ruins but instead hiked up a mountain to overlook it and the city. It was a great alternative since there was no entrance fee. The trail was probably the most exciting route up a mountain I’ve done yet. We ate at a small restaurant next to the hostel and it was so good, I had llama sautéed in a dark beer sauce.
As we were sitting en route to Cafayate, the lush green vegetation changed into canyons that are reminiscent of Utah. We did a 10 mile bike ride from town into the park and stumbled upon a wine bar in a huge empty barrel that sold amazing wine and goat cheese; it was an essential pit stop on the ride. We also did some wine tastings and winery tours since this is what the town is famous for.
Every single day this week was eventful, unpredictable, and special. Spring break went by quickly and my days are numbered in this magnificent nation. I can’t believe how amazing it’s been so far; I need to cherish every waking moment and make the most of every opportunity.