Bicycling Northern Argentina Plus! Ruins of Quilmes

Bicycling Northern Argentina Plus! Ruins of Quilmes

Get off the beaten path in Latin America. Explore the famous Camino Inca or Inca Trail - a major trade and cultural route between Buenos Aires, Bolivia and Peru. Pedal paved roads through deserts, canyons, cloudforests, and wine country. Bike through Argentina's rich past and experience the archeological ruins of once-prosperous, pre-Incan societies that thrived amidst the splendor of the spectacular Rio Grande Valley.
  • QUEBRADA DE LAS CONCHAS - See these twisted, dazzling geological formations.
  • PURMAMARCA - Visit a gorgeous small village situated at the base of a mountain of seven colors: a hub for artisans from Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.
  • CUESTA DE LIPAN - this pass is rightfully gaining notoriety with cyclists throughout the world. See wild guanaco, and llama as you ascend 26+ switchbacks before reaching the 13,600 foot summit.
  • QUILMES - Explore these justly famous ruins.
  • THE CANYONS OF CAFAYATE - Hike these gorgeous canyons.
If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour check out our Bicycling Northern Argentina tour, which includes the first 8 days of this tour.

Is cycling in South America for you? Check out our What to expect: Cycling in South America page.

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

Tour Style: Classic Hold A Space Request Private Departure Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 12 Days
  • Total Distance / 639-719 km (394-444 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 30 -86 kms (18 - 53 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 4.0 Classic
  • Countries / Argentina
  • Begin/End / Salta / Tucuman
  • Price / From USD$4845
More Photos
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Ruins of Tilcara--the Pucará, Salta, Purmamarca's Cerro de Siete Colores, the Mountain of Seven Colors, UNESCO World Heritage Site Quebrada de Humahuaca, Geological formations at Quebrada de las Conchas, Colorful deserts, Incan ruins, Rides through deserts, lush green valleys, quiet villages, and wine country, Cafayate's wine country

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    Road surface quality varies significantly expect sections of rough chip seal and potholes. Because there are very few roads in this area we'll shuttle in and out of towns to avoid traffic.
  • Includes
    11 nights accommodation, guided visit of Salta; meals as noted in itinerary.

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Salta (SLA) / Tucuman (TUC). There might be a reciprocity entry fee for entering Argentina through an international airport.
  • Overall Tour Level
    4.0 difficulty level 4.0

    Some high elevations and strong winds are possible. Varying road surface quality.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    93km / 1201m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 4.0
    3
    71km / 1942m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    4
    Hike day
    5km / 61m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 0.5
    5
    31km / 535m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.0
    6
    87km / 473m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    7
    80km / 1234m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 3.5
    8
    Hike day
    8km / 99m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    9
    66km / 544m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    10
    53km / 1191m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    11
    80km / 261m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    12
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

DAY 1: Salta loop ride and bike fitting

Highlights: Salta, bike fitting, warm-up ride

We'll meet early this afternoon in Salta. After introductions we'll do a bike fitting, and take a short loop ride. Known to Argentineans as "Salta la linda," or "Salta the beautiful" because of its delightful colonial architecture, pleasant weather and beautiful natural surroundings. We'll be back in Salta in a few days so on your first day we recommend you enjoy the town square and lively city. Dinner is together this evening.

DAY 2: Bicycle to San Salvador de Jujuy

Highlights: Cycle through cloud forest, views of the Andes

Today we'll shuttle to the suburbs of Salta to cycle through a cloud forest to the outskirts of San Salvador de Jujuy, capital of the Jujuy Province. Today's ride highlights the contrasts of the area as you pedal in and out of a cloud forest with song birds, ferns and bromeliads before descending back into desert and cactus country. We'll have a picnic lunch at the border between the Salta and Jujuy provinces. San Salvador de Jujuy offers tremendous views of the Andes range which run the length of Argentina.

  • Distance: 93km (58mi)
  • Gain: 1201m (3939ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Bicycle to Salina Grande

Highlights: Cuesta de Lipan, Salina Grande

Today we shuttle 1h 15 minutes further north to Purmamarca, the town famous for its mountain of seven colors the "Cerro de Siete Colores." Today you have a ride up to the great salt flats above Purmamarca. Considered one of the most epic and scenic rides in the region you'll begin in Purmamarca at 2,325 meters (7625 feet), up the Cuesta Lipan to 4170 meters (13678 feet), downhill to the Salt Flats. The ride starts gently and offers stunning views from the first pedal stroke. The van will support the climb so if you decide to take a lift over the pass you can shuttle to the salt flats, or get back on your bike at the top and ride. There is nothing quite like the surreal feeling of walking in this immense basin of salt so we encourage everyone to give it a go! This afternoon we shuttle back to Purmamarca and our hotel.

DAY 4: Purmamarca

Highlights: Hike through the Cerro de Siete Colores

We have a rest day today on the bike. In the morning we will offer a 40 minute shuttle to Tilcara de Jujuy to visit the famous archelogical site of Pucara de Tilcara. And in the afternoon we will journey further north to Purmamarca, the town famous for its mountain of seven colors the "Cerro de Siete Colores." Put on your walking shoes and join us for the 4 km gravel path around the colorful mountain, or extend your hike further into the hills. This small village is also a great place to wander and shop for souvenirs at the traditional market in the square. Potter, painter, and ballad singer Barbarita Cruz was instrumental in preserving traditional pottery methods by offering workshops for both adults and children. You'll also find woolen goods, musical instruments, and traditional food like empanadas, and dulce de leche in numerous forms. We recommend visits to the church and cemetery, the 600+ year old Algarrobo tree. We'll have dinner together this evening. Our hike today will be at least 4 km long (more for those who wish)

DAY 5: Salta la linda

Highlights: Guided walk of Salta

We shuttle back towards Salta today and then mid-morning jump on our bikes and pedal through the hills and back into town. Just before the descent into Salta we'll recommend a great place for lunch where you can relax and enjoy views of the city. We'll reconvene this afternoon for a guided walk of the city to learn about its pre-Columbian history.

  • Distance: 31km (19mi)
  • Gain: 535m (1755ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Dique Cabra Corral

Highlights: Lush green valleys and quiet countryside

Leave the city for the quiet countryside and green valleys south of Salta. As you ride today notice the whitewashed colonial farm houses amid fields of one of the finest types of tobacco in Argentina. Our destination is the lake resort area of Dique Cabra Corral and our hotel tonight has a beautifully situated pool!

  • Distance: 87km (54mi)
  • Gain: 473m (1551ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Cafayate

Highlights: Spectacular scenery, Quebrada de las Conchas, Cafayate

We start our day with a shuttle before embarking on what some people consider their "most beautiful ride ever." Decide for yourself as you pedal through the magical Quebrada de las Conchas, passing by geological formations eroded into forms such as the "Devil's Throat," the "Frog," the "Amphitheater," the "Monk," and more. Take your time through the canyon as the late afternoon light creates an explosion of colors over the last 30 km. Our destination is the colonial town of Cafayate, famous for its wines and a base for adventure travel in the area.

  • Distance: 80km (50mi)
  • Gain: 1234m (4048ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Day off in Cafayate

Highlights: Hiking through canyons

Enjoy a relaxing morning exploring Cafayate. This afternoon we have a hike planned with a local guide to dive a little deeper into the rock formations and landscapes of Quebrada de Las Conchas. Dinner tonight is on your own and opportunities abound to sample local wines and specialties.

  • Distance: 8km (5mi)
  • Gain: 99m (325ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 9: Quilmes and Amaichá del Valle

Highlights: Wine country, famous ruins of Quilmes, Pachamama ("Mother Earth") museum complex

Our ride from Cafayate takes us by several of the vineyards that make this area's wine famous. We are riding along the valley toward the most famous ruins in Argentina - Quilmes. The indigenous community here resisted the Inca invasion first and the Spanish occupation for 130 years until 1667 when the Spaniards forced the population to march toward Buenos Aires. Hundreds died along the way, and the town of Quilmes fell into ruin. Wander through the partially restored ruins for a stunning view of the entire valley and visit the museum. Ride by Amaichá, famous for its museum complex dedicated to Mother Earth. The museum's buildings, statues and exterior features are all made from stone and were all the work of one man, Hector Cruz.

  • Distance: 66km (41mi)
  • Gain: 544m (1784ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 10: Tafí del Valle

Highlights: Biking over "Infernillo" pass

We leave the Quilmes valley to ride (or shuttle) up and over 1000 meters (3300 feet) to enter the valley of Tafi del Valle. Set in a fertile valley this famous town acts as the local resort for the people of the nearby city of San Miguel de Tucuman. The climb takes you through a desert environment with cactus covered mountains to the summit - Spanish conquistador's used this pass to enter Argentina as they traveled East from Peru. You'll notice a dramatic difference in the landscape as soon as you begin your descent to the valley; the vegetation suddenly becomes lush. Explore Tafi and enjoy lunch on your own before we rendezvous to our shuttle to our hacienda!

  • Distance: 53km (33mi)
  • Gain: 1191m (3906ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 5.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 11: Downhill ride to Famailla and shuttle to San Miguel de Tucuman

Highlights: Tropical forest, San Miguel de Tucuman

We have a 50km (30 miles) downhill through a luscious tropical forest, "the yungas," a stark contrast from the Alpine meadow valley area of Tafi and the desert like environment of the previous days. The last 10 km of the ride takes us through one of the world's largest lemon groves. We'll shuttle into San Miguel de Tucuman, the largest city in northwestern Argentina. This provincial capital is where delegates declared the country's independence from Spain on July 9, 1816.

  • Distance: 80km (50mi)
  • Gain: 261m (856ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 12: Journey's End

Highlights: San Miguel de Tucuman

Our tour ends today. Whether you're off to Buenos Aires or heading back home, buen viaje!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Salta loop ride and bike fitting

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Salta Airport (SLA).

  • Taxi from the Salta Airport to the Day 1 Hotel (25-30 min/1,000 pesos).

A Note on Flights: For information on transferring between Buenos Aires’ international and domestic airports see our information here.

Day 12: Departure Information

Journey's End

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

We recommend flying out of Tucuman Airport (TUC)

  • Taxi from the Ending Hotel to the Tucuman Airport (20-25min/1,200 pesos).

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Road surface quality varies significantly expect sections of rough chip seal and potholes. Because there are very few roads in this area we'll shuttle in and out of towns to avoid traffic.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Classic Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Sailing the boat, every afternoon relaxing on the boat after biking and swimming, lovely dinners, hearty breakfasts, bee keepers, traditional dinner out, rides through the islands (up and down!), guides, fellow passengers, crew on the boat-- really it was ALL great.

    Cheryl A., Colchester, VT - June 2021

Awards, Memberships and Reviews