Inca Trails near Salta

Salta Argentina: (IT-ARRT20)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/argentina_inca_trails_salta.aspx

Introduction
Salta Argentina
We will ride the Andes Mountains of Northwest Argentina the way it was done in Colonial times but keeping some XXI Century privileges. These are ancient Inca trails. It is the ideal setting for an unforgettable trip. We will get to places you can only reach on horseback.

The area has impressive landscapes and diversity of climates. Tropical forests with crystal clear streams in the Lerma Valley, the Calchaquí desert with its multicoloured mountains and the Cafayate Creek and its water and wind eroded hills. We designed our trail rides to show this breathtaking contrast.
We go up to 3000 m (9000 feet) where the forest changes to high altitude grassland. This is the homeland of the Andean condor. As the sun sets, the spectacular stars of the southern hemisphere will cover the sky. Relax at the camp with its peaceful atmosphere as you share a cup of coffee, tea or mate. All this creates the ideal ambiance to feel the timeless spirit of nature and make new friends.

All along the trail, have a chance to absorb from the locals, heirs of the ancient Incas, their deeply rooted way of life still alive high up in the mountains. Our long experience in riding tours guarantees an unforgettable vacation.

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a progressive ride where nights are spent in different locations.

Description
We spend the night in mountain refuges run by local herdsmen and ranchers, heirs of a pre-hispanic tradition, and have a glimpse of a way of life so different from our own. It is an experience without comparison. In all of the accommodations but the first there are beds with no linen. We use sleeping bags. It is best to bring your own sleeping bag but you can also rent one ahead of time (please inquire).

Three of the accommodations have baths with shower (one with hot water and two with cold water).

9-day Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel in Salta
Nights 2 & 3: Peñas Blancas
Nights 4 & 5: Amblayo
Night 6:  El Churqui
Night 7: Hotel in Salta
Night 8: Hotel Tribeca or similar in Buenos Aires

12-day Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel Tribeca or similar in Buenos Aires
Night 2: Hotel in Salta
Nights 3, 4 & 5: Peñas Blancas
Nights 6 & 7: Amblayo
Night 8:  El Churqui
Nights 9 & 10: Ayuso
Night 11: Hotel in Salta

Hotel in Salta
We usually use a small hotel located steps away from the Plaza 9 Julio de Salta. This hotel provides basic accommodations with a ceiling fan and private bathrooms. There is free Wi-Fi available.

Peñas Blancas
This is a 3000 hectares ranch where cattle is bred. The accommodations are basic cabins. By no means can it be considered a lodge, hotel or anything of the sort. However, it does provide guests with and authentic experience and offers more comfort than a tent. We sleep in beds but there is no bathroom or showers but water is available if you wish to freshen up.

Amblayo
We stay at the house of one of the local families. The accommodation is simple and basic but gives guests a glimpse into the locals’ way of life. A shared bathroom with hot shower is available. There is also electricity.

El Churqui
This is a small and rustic mountain refuge with cold running water and a toilet. Guests sleep inside the cabin in their sleeping bags.

Ayuso
We spend the night in tents overlooking the Calchaquí Valley. There are toilets and cold running water here.

Hotel Tribeca in Buenos Aires
This beautiful hotel offers modern and comfortable accommodations in the heart of Buenos Aires. The rooms are simply decorated and all feature a private bathroom, a TV, free Wi-Fi, A/C and heating. There is also a fitness center, a sauna and a sun terrace on the rooftop.

Room Occupancy
Rooms in all accommodations are shared (except for nights spent in hotels).


Meals
All meals are included during this trip and wine is serve with dinner.

For dinners in Salta and Buenos Aires, we dine in local restaurants and taste local dishes. For the rest of the trip, we will be transporting our own food so we can make simple dishes such as pastas, stews and BBQs.

Breakfast and tea at the refuges: at the refuges we have tea, coffee or hot chocolate, home made bread with jam.
Lunches on the trail: picnic style. Roast beef, ham, cheese sandwiches. Salami and home made cheese, etc. Fruits, pies for dessert. Water and wine to drink.
Dinner at the refuges: local traditional meals like lamb barbecue, stew or "empanadas". Fruits, pies for dessert. Wine, water, soft drinks.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater for most dietary requirements (vegetarian, celiac) with prior notice. Unfortunately, we cannot cater to vegans on this trip.

Riding

Pace
We will be riding at high altitude, often above 6000-9000 feet.
The pace is slow with a few trots and canters during most of the trail due to the terrain. This allows to enjoy the scenery, the conversation, take pictures, etc.
The average riding day includes 3 hours on horseback in the morning and 3 to 4 hours in the saddle during the afternoon with plenty of intermediate stops to take pictures, spend some time at specific points of interest, etc.

Horses
We assign horses according to each rider's preference. We have plenty of horses, some are more challenging while others are very easy to handle. They are sure-footed as they were all born and raised in the mountains.

Safety measures
The trails are well known by our guides. In those places we believe risky, we step down the horse and walk. In case of emergency, our guides are trained and know what to do. We carry radio equipment in case of emergency. We consider a must that all our guests follow our guide's instructions.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary 11-day trip - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival. Transfer to Salta.
Transfer to Domestic Airport & flight to Salta. We will visit the MAAM (Museum of High Altitude Archaeology) (closed Mondays). Recently opened to show the items found at an Inca human sacrifice site on top of the Llullaillaco volcano (6730 mts - 18000 ft. high). It holds the best preserved mummies worldwide. Check in at boutique hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner with your guide.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Salta


Day 2: Ride to Peñas Blancas
After breakfast, we will drive to meet our horses. The drive takes us along the Cuesta del Obispo and its breathtaking views and the Cardones National Park where you can usually spot guanacos (Andean camelidae). When we reach Piedra del Molino (3348 meters high) we meet the horses and gauchos. Lunch by the corral. We start our ride going south at this high altitude spot. We will reach Peñas Blancas (2750 meters high) before sunset to spend the night in a cabin with beds after crossing a small range of hills to our left. On the way there are herds of wild donkeys set free by the Spanish Conquistadors.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Peñas Blancas


Day 3: Isonza Ride
After breakfast we get ready to ride. We can see, here and there, the small houses made with mud and archeological remains of ancient settlements. We will stop for lunch at a dry river bed which is great for cantering and we will take advantage of that. On the way back, we will stop to see the ancient pictographs painted by local Indians centuries ago. Then, we will visit Isonza, a working ranch with its ancient way of life still intact. The way they milk the goats, make cheese and grow their crops is centuries old and inherited from Inca times.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Peñas Blancas


Day 4: Chilo slopes
Today, our ride takes us West, to the very steep Chilo slopes which divide two valleys. The view is magnificent. We will ride down the Chilo slopes, a truly unique experience. Then, lunch before starting the ride uphill on the way back to Peñas Blancas.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Peñas Blancas


Day 5: Ride to Amblayo
We move mainly South, towards Yaslaguala. The giant cacti are all over and set the stage. After lunch, we ride to Amblayo town (2450 meters high) where we will spend the night. It has only 150 dwellers and its main means of transportation is on horseback. It is renowned for its goat cheese. Sense the feeling of arriving on horseback to this tiny town with almost no cars! An unforgettable experience.
To get there we will ride first through archaeological areas where you can see pieces of painted pottery scattered around. We have a look with agreement not to remove any of the findings. Night at Amblayo. Rooms with beds, bathroom with hot water. Electricity available.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Amblayo


Day 6: Sierra Pelada Ride
After breakfast, visit the ancient chapel and its 17th century paintings brought from Peru. After lunch, we ride to the foothills of the Sierra Pelada. These multi-coloured hills are unique. We will also ride to Río Salado, which is a great place for cantering!
Traditional goat barbecue for dinner tonight.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Amblayo


Day 7: Ride to El Churqui
The riding will provide a day full of contrasts. Riding East, we will be crossing the Dead Lion range. The desert gradually gives way to high altitude grasslands. This is the land of the condor and we might have the chance to see some.
We then start our descent into the dense forest of the Lerma Valley. 
At sunset, arrive at El Churqui mountain camp (1960 meters high). We sleep inside a cabin in sleeping bags. Toilet available and cold running water.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at El Churqui


Day 8: El Churqui to Ayuso
Riding West, we will cross again the Dead Lion range but now through narrow trails of the Enchanted valley until we reach Ayuso (2500 meters high), overlooking the Calchaquí Valley. We put up the tents next to the village for the night. Toilet available and cold running water.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Ayuso


Day 9: Cerro Bola Ride
Today, we ride around the Cerro Bola (Ball mountain). It is a perfect day to canter along the dry river beds of the Salado river. We will have lunch under the shade of the ancient algarrobo trees. We spend the night again at Ayuso so we will just carry with us the essentials for the day.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Ayuso


Day 10: Ride to Puente Morales
We leave Ayuso riding through narrow creeks South into the Calchaquí Valleys. Our next stop is Rastrojitos (1900 meters high). We have now moved into the Cafayate Creek which has rock formations that resemble the Grand Canyon, only smaller.
This afternoon, we ride downhill towards the Las Conchas River. Some parts of our trail will be done very slowly as it is very steep. Today, we will have the chance to see one of the best views in Salta. Say farewell to the horses at Puente Morales (1300 meters high). Transfer back to Salta city.  Farewell dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Salta


Day 11: Departure
Transfer to Salta Airport. Flight to Buenos Aires on time to connect flight home. End of program.



Sample Itinerary 9-day trip - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival & Visit of Salta
Plan to arrive at Salta airport any time before 4 PM, in time for the transfer. We will visit the MAAM (Museum of High Altitude Archaeology). Recently opened to show the items found at an Inca human sacrifice site on top of the Llullaillaco volcano (6730 mts - 18000 ft. high). It holds the best preserved mummies worldwide. Check in at boutique hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner with your guide.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Salta


Day 2: Ride to Peñas Blancas
After breakfast, we will drive to meet our horses. The drive takes us along the Cuesta del Obispo and its breathtaking views and the Cardones National Park where you can usually spot guanacos (Andean camelidae). This is a program in its own. When we reach Piedra del Molino (3348 meters high) we meet the horses and gauchos. Lunch by the corral. We start our ride going south at this high altitude spot. We will reach Peñas Blancas (2760 meters high) before sunset to spend the night in cabins with beds after crossing a small range of hills to our left. On the way there are herds of wild donkeys set free by the Spanish Conquistadors. 
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Peñas Blancas


Day 3: Ride to Chilo slopes & Isonza
After breakfast we get ready to ride. This day we ride the lifeline this valley has had for centuries. On our way we can see, here and there, the small houses made with mud and archeological remains of ancient settlements. The ride takes us West at the beginning until we reach the very steep Chilo slopes which divide two valleys. The view is magnificent and makes us feel the power of nature. Lunch at a dry river bed which is great for cantering and we will take advantage of that. On the way we will stop to see the ancient pictographs painted by local Indians centuries ago. We will visit Isonza which is a working ranch with its ancient way of life still intact and Leuca Burgos who makes goat cheese. The way they milk the goats, make cheese, grow their crops is centuries old and inherited from Inca times.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Peñas Blancas


Day 4: Peñas Blancas to Amblayo
The riding today is mainly South. We will go past Yaslaguala.  The giant cactii are all over and set the stage. After lunch we ride to Amblayo town (2400 meters high) where we will spend the night. It has only 150 dwellers and its main means of transportation is on horseback. It is renowned for its goat cheese. Sense the feeling of arriving on horseback to this tiny town with almost no cars! An unforgettable experience. To get there we will ride first through archaeological areas where you can see pieces of painted pottery scattered around. We have a look with agreement not to remove any of the findings.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Amblayo


Day 5: Ride to Sierra Pelada
After breakfast enjoy this picturesque town. Visit its ancient chapel and its 17th century paintings brought from Peru, have a chat with its neighbors. After lunch we ride to the foothills of the Sierra Pelada. These multicoloured hills are unique. We will also ride the Río Salado which is a great place for cantering! Traditional goat barbecue for dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Amblayo


Day 6: Amblayo to El Churqui
The riding will provide a day full of contrasts. Riding East we will be crossing the Dead Lion range. The desert gradually gives way to high altitude grasslands. This is the land of the condor. Once we reach aprox. 3000 mts. we will have the chance to see some. We start our descent into the dense forest of the Lerma Valley.  At sunset, arrive at El Churqui mountain camp (1960 meters high) where we will be awaited with an energizing homemade meal. We sleep inside a cabin in sleeping bags. Toilet available and cold running water.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at El Churqui


Day 7: El Churqui to La Viña
After breakfast, leave for La Viña along the course of the Las Pircas stream. These trails have been used for centuries and are still the only means of communication among locals. When we reach La Viña the minibus will be waiting for us. Two hours drive will get us to Salta city. Check in at boutique hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Salta


Day 8: Buenos Aires City
Breakfast and transfer to airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Transfer to hotel. We will take some time to visit the city and learn about its icons in a very special way: tango, Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada’s balcony, Eva Peron, etc. In the evening you might want to attend a tango show (optional).
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Buenos Aires


Day 9: Departure
Breakfast. End of program.



Extra days and/or activities (please inquire for prices)

Salta city tour: We walk and drive the city with a guide. Its colony time buildings bring to life the way the city was at the time of the Spanish Conquistadors.

Quebrada de Humahuaca: Trip to Humahuaca Creek. Walk the ancient indian fortress in Tilcara. We reach Purmamarca and the 7 Colors Hill. Lunch. See a few of the small and picturesque towns along the creek.

Cafayate and its wineries: The road to Cafayate shows us very curious rock shapes (the amphitheater, the toad, the Titanic, etc.). At Cafayate we will visit the world renowned vineyards and wineries for wine tasting. The Torrontés variety is regarded as best in class and exported all over the world.


Rates and Dates for Inca Trails near Salta

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, Beverages during ride, English speaking guide and pack mules, 6 or 9 riding days & Transfers as indicated in itinerary
Saddlebags are provided

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    202411 day ride (9 riding days)$2590
    • Declining activities in Buenos Aires($150)
      Small group supplement (2-3) pp$495
      Small group supplement (4-5) pp$290
      Single supplement for hotels and individual tent (to pay locally) (5 Rooms during the ride are shared)$195
  • B
    20249 day ride (6 riding days)$2190
    • Declining activities in Buenos Aires($150)
      Small group supplement (2-3) pp$420
      Small group supplement (4-5) pp$250
      Single supplement for hotels and individual tent - paid locally (5 Rooms during the ride are shared)$195

Rates Note:

Transfers can be paid via credit card
Rooms during the ride are shared

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Transfers can be paid via credit card
Rooms during the ride are shared


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2024 Transfer included from Salta Airport $0
2024 Extra days/ activities- Please inquire $0
2024 Transfer from Buenos Aires Int'l airport to Pistrani airport , per car, each way (1-3 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$60
2024 Transfer from Buenos Aires Domestic airport to Newerby airport, per car, each way (1-3 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$30
2024 Tango show with dinner and tango lesson, pp $120

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2024 04/27 - 05/05 9d / 8n 9 day ride (6 riding days) 6 /12 Expired
A 2024 05/21 - 05/31 11d / 10n 11 day ride (9 riding days) 6 /12 Expired
B 2024 06/02 - 06/10 9d / 8n 9 day ride (6 riding days) 6 /12 Expired
A 2024 07/08 - 07/18 11d / 10n 11 day ride (9 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
B 2024 07/21 - 07/29 9d / 8n 9 day ride (6 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
A 2024 08/12 - 08/22 11d / 10n 11 day ride (9 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
B 2024 08/25 - 09/02 9d / 8n 9 day ride (6 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
B 2024 09/19 - 09/27 9d / 8n 9 day ride (6 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
A 2024 10/07 - 10/17 11d / 10n 11 day ride (9 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
B 2024 11/10 - 11/18 9d / 8n 9 day ride (6 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
A 2024 11/17 - 11/27 11d / 10n 11 day ride (9 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve
B 2024 12/01 - 12/09 9d / 8n 9 day ride (6 riding days) 6 /12 Reserve

Dates Note: Additional dates will be set for Oct, Nov and December. Also available for groups of 4+ from October - April with supplement

Rates do not include:

International and domestic flights, Buenos Aires Pistarini airport transfers, Tango show in Buenos Aires, Travel and/or medical insurance (mandatory), Gratuities and all others not indicated.
You need to bring your own sleeping bag (can be rented for $20 ahead of time)

Other Info
Meeting: Buenos Aires / Salta
Airport: Buenos Aires / Salta
Transfer:

Climate:
                                                    Salta area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

83

81

78

74

71

69

70

73

76

81

83

84

Average Low Temperature (°F)

63

61

60

54

47

40

38

41

46

54

58

61

Average High Temperature (°C)

28

27

26

24

21

20

21

23

25

27

28

29

Average Low Temperature (°C)

17

16

16

12

8

5

3

5

8

12

15

16

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

13

12

11

4

1

0

0

0

1

3

7

11

Source: NOAA


Seasons
This ride can take place all year round as the weather always stays mild. It is usually sunny and nice in the day but the temperature drops at night to zero or even less as it is a dessert. The program is subject to the natural weather contingencies involved in an environment like this. There is a rainy season that stretches from December to March!

Summer is usually mild, not very warm even though we are far north in Argentina. This is because the Calchaquí Valleys are dry and we stay on average over 6000 feet. At noon the temperature reaches 29ºC (84F) but at night and during the morning it goes down to 10ºC (50F).

It might rain someday but these are short. Nevertheless, do not despair! The experience of riding under the rain is very special and provides close contact with nature, something we are looking for. This is why we ask everyone to bring a cloak. We can dry all that gets wet where we spend the night.

During Winter, the temperature reaches 20-25ºC (68-77F) during the day, but at night and during the morning it goes down to 5ºC (41F). This is the dry season so rains are unlikely.

What To Bring:
During the ride it is much better to keep your personal clothing and items light! Normally, you only use half of what you take along. As these are pack trips we provide saddlebags to place your personal items. You can leave everything you will not need at the starting point and pick it back upon return.

 In case you do not have some of the items, we will be happy to help get them.

· Two changes of clothes: loose pants, long sleeve shirts which protect better from the sun than polo T-shirts. For the cold weather it is better to carry along a few thin warm clothes rather than just one thick one. Polar sweaters do well both in summer and winter.
 · In winter: undershirts and underpants
 · Sleeping bag rated at 0º C or better
 · Knife, mug and water bottle
 · Jacket and/or poncho
 · Hat (not a cap)
 · Scarf, neckerchief, gloves
 · Rain cape
 · Swimsuit
 · Sneakers (the ones that can get wet) and riding boots (optional)
 · Personal medicine
 · No specific vaccine is mandatory in this region but as for any outdoors activity we recommend tetanus vaccine
 · Personal hygiene items and a small towel
 · Sunscreen
 · Sunglasses (optional)
 · Small lantern and batteries
 · Camera, batteries and film for at least 100 snapshots