Many of the locals like to compare the Quebrada de Cafayate to the great national parks in the United States such as Zion, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and others. Even though Cafayate does not compare to the scale of the Grand Canyon the geology is very similar. The windy road from Salta runs through this colorful and windy canyon. There are many interesting rock formation carved out of the soft stone from the wind and occasional rain. This region used to be under ocean so there are lot of salt pans around.
The town of Cafayate is a quaint, relaxing town with nothing to do but check out the local Bodagas (winearies) and read a book. There are some nice restuarants and cafes around. The icecream here is quite good too.
If you want to shot some pool and enjoy a beer there are a couple of good pool halls to accomadate you. This small town has enough to keep you occupied for a few days as you relax and recoperate from those long Argentine bus rides.
There is abundant accomodation that is cheap and good. There are several tour agents that can hook you up with a day trip to see the Canyons and near by waterfalls. You can also hire a bike and ride out on your own. You can take a bus up the canyon and bike down as well to save yourself time and energy.
It is very easy to get here from Salta. Buses leave Salta early in the morning and take about 4 hours to reach Cafayate.
Check out my travel log of the Northwest for more pictures and information.
Most people in Cafayate just visit the Quebrada and the winerys ! There is also a very good walk up the river to see a series of small waterfalls. The main pleasure ofthis is that it is well ot of the way of everyone, there are nice places to have a picnic, and you even swim ifthe water is not TOO cold!
Walking in the street, we saw a lot of children in uniform on the walkway near a big building : curious, we went in this building with opened doors (we can dot it, do we?) and we saw the presentation of the results of the pupils of the school of Cafayete... Each child is called and receive his report on the podium! I became jealous...in Belgium, we don't have such an honnor when the scholar year ends!!!
Just a little altar located 2km to the north of the Cafayate town.
A nice pleasant walk through the dusty little town and a short hike up the rocky hill to the altar.
There, you have quite a pleasant view of Cafayate.
Another pleasant little walk through the vineyards to get to the tiny Rio Colorado, about 5km north of Cafayate town.
As it can get very hot to walk out here, as there is no shelter for a large distance, do start out really early, like 7am, to beat the heat.
There are some trees and shelters when you arrive near the river.
One can observe some traces of the ancient culture of the a group of Indians that used to settle here - Calchaqui. They were here even before the Incas arrived. For example, on some rocks there were holes which the Indians used to pound maize. They resisted the colonization of the Spanish bravely but many died as they were brought to Buenos Aires to build the city there. I believe the race is now extinct.
There is also a water-fall further out but I was too hot and tired to check it out. Boy, was it HOT here in Cafayate!!
There a some kilometers away from Cafayate...and they are really worth! Take a look at the page of Quilmes!