First stop South America (then NZ, Oz & South East Asia) travel blog











Salta is another large Argentinean city with a number of impressive colonial buildings from when the Spanish were here. There is a cable car that takes you to the top of a 269m hill that provides great views of the city. Whilst in the cable car I got chatting to a guy from New Zealand who is also travelling solo. We decided to hire a car and set off on a road trip the following day as we´d heard that the surrounding area was pretty impressive. We left Salta on the Ruta 68 and within a short space of time were driving through the Andean foothills of the Quebreda de Cafayate. This was a road that cut through dramatic rock formations and provided miles and miles of stunning scenery. We stayed overnight in Cafayate which is a pleasant little town with, as with all towns and cities in Argentina, a leafy square plaza at its centre. The following day we left Cafayate on the Ruta 40, made famous by Che Guevara who´s political beliefs were shaped after he rode his motor bike along the full length of this road. This is a rough and dusty stretch of road, not a drop of tarmac in sight. But it again provided stunning scenery and spectacular rock formations. The landscape gradually changed until we were driving through a road that snaked it´s way through thousands of huge cacti, it was like being in the wild west. All along the route there were small villages of mud, straw and clay huts, and at the heart of almost each small village was a large white church. Before long we arrived in Cachi, another small and picturesque town. We left Cachi on the Ruta 33, through the Parque Nacional Cordones, which is again full of huge cacti. This road climbed 3348 metres above sea level to the Piedro del Molino. The view from the top, looking over Valle Encantado, was breathtaking. The road descended thousands of metres down with hairpin bends and sheer vertical drops just feet away (and no crash barriers!). The descent down this road was amazing, if a little frightening at times!

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