Visit the market at Tilcara and eat an "empanada" fried at the moment. I think that visiting the local market is one of the best ways to know anyplace. There is where one can see local food, how people behave and do business.
Huacalera is a tiny village in the Quebrada de Humahuaca, located about 16km north of Tilcara. The only thing to see in the village is the beautiful church, though, whether it's open or not is a matter of luck. When we cycled through here it was closed and I couldn't understand what the lady in the shop next door was telling me when I asked her when it would open.
Our bike-hire man in Tilcara told us the inside was well worth seeing, but that it and many other churches in the region are often closed because some of the treasures inside the churches have been stolen. One of Argentina's heroes, General Lavalle, is buried close to the church. The Tropic of Capricorn passes through Argentina 1km south of Huacalera, and it's probably this, rather than the church, that ensures a steady stream of visitors through the village.
The Tropic of Capricorn crosses Argentina 16km north of Tilcara, just south of the tiny village of Huacalera. A large sundial and a sign mark the spot and it's a popular stopping point for travellers on Ruta 9. Buses will stop in Huacalera but there are very few facilities here so come prepared.
We cycled from Tilcara to the Tropic, a difficult enough journey as it was uphill most of the way there, while on the way back we had to content with the strong winds which blow up the Quebrada de Humahuaca in the afternoons. It's quite an experience cycling downhill against a strong wind.
At the sundial a group of kids sell souvenirs. They were very friendly and seemed more interested in our bikes than in trying to sell us anything.
Purmamarca is a tiny village along the Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy Province. It a small village that has a nice albeit touristy central square, and quaint little 17th century church, Iglesia Santa Rosa de Lima. The square is full of locals trying to sell their crafts which is very similar if not identical to what you would see in the markets of Peru and Bolivia. The church is so nice in its simplicity and its appropriate design to fit in these beautiful hills.
The Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors) is the main attraction here. These hills look like some huge giant painted strips here and no where else as the other surrounding hills and mountains are green and grey. These polychromatic hills look over the little town and its surrounding country side which is full of small farms and farm houses.
Come spend a day here and enjoy the hills and the small village with its nice restaurants and laid back highland atmosphere.
RN 9 is the main road that runs from San Salvador de Jujuy all the way up to the Bolivian boarder. You must get off from the main road, and take RP 52 another few kilometers to the village. Buses frequent RN 9 and it isn't to hard to get a Remise or hitch the rest of the way into town.
- Hiking and Walking