(Salta, Argentina) — On a northern spur of highway, just north of Salta city lies the stratified painter’s palette of the Humahuaca Gorge, one of several UNESCO World Heritage sites in the jaw dropping valleys and deserts of Salta province. The gorge starts on the northern edge of Salta province and continues into Jujuy province (which is a hoot to just say: “hoohooee”) Who knew there were so many shades of green in rock? With my trusty guide Augustin, we just just dipped into the gorge up Ruta 9, just north of Purmamarca before we diverted over the mountain pass to see the stunning Salinas Grande. Riding along a curvy riverbed (that was absolutely gorging with water from recent rainfalls when I was there in March 2010) you can stop in Pumamarco for lunch and continue along the gorge, which I hear gets even better as you go farther north, with each turn in the road opening up a canyon with its own spectrum of colors. It cannot be captured in photos. Definitely talk someone else into being the driver so you can stare straight out the passenger window.
Here’s a great recap from Conde Nast Traveler. Here’s a great NYTimes article on Jujuy and Purmamarca, this is the article that turned me onto this magical, undiscovered corner of northwest Argentina. And in Travel & Leisure.
Here’s an overly long video that brings to life the geography of Salta:
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