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Home > 4x4 raid - Route 40 from Mendoza to Salta

4x4 raid - Route 40 from Mendoza to Salta

A great tour on the road of the North West region of Argentina. Discover this 4x4 raid across the famous and renowned route 40 to join Mendoza to Salta.

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Mendoza - Salta - Mendoza
  • Day 2: Mendoza - Vineyards Mendoza - Mendoza
  • Day 3: Mendoza - Barreal
  • Day 4: Barreal - Villa Union
  • Day 5: Villa Union - Talampaya - Villa Union
  • Day 6: Villa Union - Belén
  • Day 7: Belén - Cafayate
  • Day 8: Cafayate - Cachi
  • Day 9: Cachi - Salta
  • Day 10: Salta - Purmamarca
  • Day 11: Purmamarca
  • Day 12: Salta

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: Mendoza - Salta - Mendoza

Rental car, 4x4, like Volkswagen Amarok or similar.
Pick up rental car in the airport
Suggested itinerary:

Mendoza is a town in the foothills of the Andes, neighboring Chile to the west.
It has 1.5 million inhabitants. It's a big city but relatively quiet and a peaceful pace of life. In downtown, you will find the same characteristics as a big city, but have the advantage of walking on main avenues shaded by trees, or enjoying a drink in one of the many terraces cafes enjoying a relaxing atmosphere.

Night at the hotel Argentino ***.
Drop off of your vehicle at the airport.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 2: Mendoza - Vineyards Mendoza - Mendoza

Suggested itinerary:

Departure from Mendoza to explore the region, including the cities of Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu.
This tour through the vineyards will be an opportunity to observe how the people in this region, managed to transform the desert into an oasis, through canals and irrigation "drip style", allowing today Argentina to be a major producer of wines in the world.
This day will be of particular winery tours and tastings.
Return to Mendoza in the evening.
Note: We highly recommend visiting the Bodega (wine cellar) Catena Zapata, Bodega Familia Zuccardi (excellent for lunch), Bodega Alta Vista, etc…

Night at the hotel Argentino ***.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 3: Mendoza - Barreal

Suggested itinerary:

Morning departure towards the Andes.
First you find the Potrerillos Dam, superb construction which ensures water for the surrounding vineyards of Mendoza throughout the year.
Then you continue by the National Route No. 7.

You arrive at Uspallata, the last town before beginning the ascent to the mountain.
This charming "oasis" still preserves the remains of the Inca Trail where there were advanced control stations called "Tamberías" (place of supply) to develop trades between local tribes and the Incas tribes of northern countries. Uspallata is also known because, in 1997, Brad Pitt filmed "Seven Years in Tibet".

When leaving the city, the landscape gradually changes, and you can admire the volcano "Tupungato", witness the current seismic activity in the region.
You continue the journey to the Inca Bridge, where in the early twentieth century; this small hamlet had a spa hotel until in 1965 an avalanche destroyed it almost entirely, with the exception of its chapel and spa rooms. Today the ruins are a unique landscape!
After a stop at the Inca Bridge you continue to the Aconcagua Provincial Park.
From here, you have a charming view to the Aconcagua (6962 m). Then you descend to Uspallata facing north, to Barreal, a small oasis village living from agriculture.

At night you have the clearest skies of the world, hence its two astronomical observatories. We advise you to visit one of them (Day only). One of its main attractions is the "White Barreal”, which is a former lagoon dried up and now this range offers the ideal spot for sand yachts.

Night in the Posada de los Patos ***
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 4: Barreal - Villa Union

Suggested itinerary:

After breakfast you continue your journey with the mountains as only witnesses!
For lunch, stop in the city Iglesia where you can visit a farm trout.
Then you continue to Lake Pico de los Vientos, and the slope of Huaco.
In the afternoon you arrive at Villa Union, where the main attraction is the roasted goat, in Spanish called "chivito".


Night at the Pircas Negras hotel ***.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 5: Villa Union - Talampaya - Villa Union

Suggested itinerary:

Early morning departure to reach the beautiful Talampaya National Park, 120 km gravel road, of which 58 are paved.
Talampaya National Park, with its 215,000 hectares, was created in 1975 to safeguard the archaeological and paleontological resources presented in a beautiful environment. The Talampaya River Canyon, with its gigantic walls which shelter the nests of condors, one of Argentina’s natural wonders. Grey foxes or Southern vizcachas hide behind the old carob trees and arum lilies. With an official guide and a car park approved, you go for a ride of 3 hours to complete a loop in a magical setting where the ochre colours contrasts with the intense blue colour of the sky.
Lunch on a cafeteria.

In the afternoon, you return to the vehicle, towards the Ischigualasto Provincial Park, better known as “Valle de la Luna” or “Moon Valley”.
225 million years ago, this valley was a luscious green paradise with huge ferns and colossal vertebrates. Under the vivid blue sky, lie such natural sculptures as “the mushroom” or “the sphinx” and many reptile fossils that figure among the countless treasures located in this region. In fact, this park is the only place in the world where nearly all of the Triassic is represented in the rock deposits (between 248 and 206 million years ago).
It is only natural, therefore that these 60,000 hectares were listed among UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage in the year 2000.
We visit this site with an official guide (approximately 3 hours) and the small museum which houses several reconstituted dinosaurs which inhabited this region.
You head to Villa Union.

Note 1: an official guide has to accompany us on our tour around the Valle de la Luna (compulsory) – we use our own vehicle.
Note 2: The Park opens between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (from October to April) and between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (from May to September).
Note 3: Talampaya is operated by the National Park, making it impossible to drive in your vehicle.
Note 4: Talampaya National Park is open from 8am to 6pm (October to April) and from 9am to 5pm (May to September).

Night at the Pircas Negras hotel ***.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 6: Villa Union - Belén

Suggested itinerary:
Morning departure to reach Belen, a pretty little town, capital of the "poncho".
You can visit the Elinda Finguerosa workshop to discover the superb craftsmanship of weaving which is very famous in Argentina.
8 km further, we arrive at the "El Shincal" archaeological reserve, site of 23 hectares at the foot of the chain Quimivil. We assume that this site was occupied by the Incas between 1471 and 1536. This site, declared National Historical Monument, every summer is the house for many archaeologists that are working on its restoration.
Some 20 km further, we reach the village of London. This was the second village established in Argentine territory (1st was in Santiago del Estero), June 24th 1558, when Juan Perez de Zurita christened "London of the New England." This village has 2,600 inhabitants who live mainly on weaving production.
You arrive late afternoon in Belen.

Night at El Belen hotel **.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 7: Belén - Cafayate

Suggested itinerary:
You leave Belén to reach the archaeological site of Quilmes, old fortified stronghold of the Incas which housed up to 3,000 people, resistant to evangelization and to the Spanish military conquest. The city with its labyrinthine structures was built in tiers on a hillside. Visit of the site.
You then continue on to Cafayate.
This village, situated in the heart of Calchaquies Valley in Salta's province, is internationally known for the quality of its wines, its mild climate, friendly people and beautiful landscapes. Discover the streets and the central square.

Night at Killa hotel ***.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 8: Cafayate - Cachi

Suggested itinerary:

This morning we leave Cafayate and enter the Calchaqui Valley and its vineyards. Gradually, the greener views give place to a desert-like landscape as we cross the “Quebrada de las Flechas”, a geological formation featuring soaring rock arrows.

We arrive at Molinos, dating from 1659; there is a church, probably erected in the late eighteenth century, by the last royal governor of Salta, Don Nicolás Severo of Isasmendi, buried there. Around this chapel, is where the town of Molinos grew.

We carry on until reaching the colonial town of Cachi, which lies at 2,200masl. Cachi is a tranquil Andean village featuring low-whitewashed houses and the San José Church with its sculpted roof of cactus-wood dating back to the eighteenth century. We visit the small archaeological museum, which has a wonderful collection of pre-Inca and Inca ceramics, especially those pertaining to the Santa María culture.
Night at Cachi.
271km - 4 hours

Night at the Casa de campo La Paya hotel ***.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 9: Cachi - Salta

Cachi is a tranquil native village featuring low-whitewashed houses and the San José Church with its sculpted roof of cactus-wood dating back to the eighteenth century. We visit the small archaeological museum which has a wonderful collection of pre-Inca and Inca ceramics, especially those pertaining to the Santa María culture.

We will get back to the vehicles for a 6km excursion to Cachi Adentro. After visiting the beautiful environment of Cachi, its snow topped peaks and clear streams; we will take the road to Salta for a 145km trip.

We drive through spectacular landscapes such as those offered by the Piedra del Molino mountain pass at 3,600 meters, the Quebrada de Escoipe, a deep gorge where the green of the woods contrasts with the ochre of the soil on the bare mountains of “Cuesta del Obispo” and Los Cardones National Park composed of stark expanses scattered with candelabrum-shaped cacti…

Night in Salta
Meals not included

Night at Delvino hotel ***
Included : room & breakfast

Day 10: Salta - Purmamarca

Suggested itinerary:

We ride in a private vehicle along the railway tracks of the famous “Tren de las Nubes” and head first for Salinas Grandes and then for Purmamarca.
We leave Salta (1,200 masl) and after a 166km (104mi) ride, we arrive in San Antonio de los Cobres at 3,774 masl. Before we stop to visit Santa Rosa de Tastil (3,200 masl) and the pre-Inca site which dates back to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD (a half-hour walk, approximately).

Later, we stop in San Antonio de los Cobres. Surrounded by mountains with virtually no vegetation, this wind swept village and its low buildings give an impression of remoteness. We visit the small museum dedicated to the highest railway-track in the world. Countless pictures describe its construction in the 1930s: what a saga!

As we follow our road, we reach a vast white expanse of land which contrasts against the pure blue of the sky. We are now in the very midst of one of the largest salt deserts in Argentina (1,200 sq. km), Salinas Grandes.

As we drive along a winding dirt track for a few miles, we reach the Lipán Mountain Pass, located at 4,170 masl and later the last stop of the day’s tour: Purmamarca, “the Holy Land” in Aymara language. This little town is renowned for its seven-colored mountain, “Cerro de los Siete Colores”, a mineral rainbow.

Night at the hotel in Purmamarca.
Note 1: a 347km (216mi) trip with some delicate mountain tracks lasting approximately 6h30 min.
Note 2: during the rainy season, between November and March, the access to the Salinas Grandes might become virtually impossible.

Night at Los Colorados Cabins ***.
Included : room & breakfast

Day 11: Purmamarca - Huacalera

Suggested itinerary:

We depart in a vehicle for a grand tour of the Humahuaca Valley.
After 20km (12.5mi), our typically Andean road takes us to Pucará de Tilcara, a pre-Hispanic Omaguaca village founded over 900 years ago. We visit the village and the remarkable collection housed in its museum including mummies, funeral vases, jewellery and other objects found in archaeological sites in the Northwest of Argentina.
Later we reach Huacalera.
42km - 30 minutes.


Night at Solar del Tropico hotel ***.
Included : car rental, insurance, room & breakfast

Day 12: Huacalera - Salta

Suggested itinerary:

Quiet morning in Huacalera.
Afterwards you leave towards Pucara de Tilcara, a pre-Hispanic Omaguaca village founded over 900 years ago. We visit the village and the remarkable collection housed in its museum including mummies, funeral vases, jewellery and other objects found in archaeological sites in the Northwest of Argentina.
We continue south to San Salvador de Jujuy. Here we can have a tour of the Huacalera Chapel dating from 1655 and restored in 1944.
We finally reach Salta.
Night in Salta.

213 km - 3 hours

Included : car rental, insurance

Hotel Argentino   Mendoza

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Located in the heart of the city of Mendoza in front of the Plaza Independencia, where citizens are mixed landscapes with the green of nature, an ideal environment for building all kinds of activity, whether at work or rest, or why not ... both.

Hotel Posada de los Patos   Barreal

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

The posada receives it's name as a tribute to General San Martin. Paso de los Patos is the main path where the army of the Andes crossed the mountain chain to liberate Chile and later Peru. The Posada respects the architectural line of the Cuyo region in Argentina and it is set with a rustic and cozy style. The social area has WiFi internet connection and a direct view of the Andes to disconnect from everything. During summer time, the swimming pool is the ideal place to cool down and listen to the water running through the canals. . Paso de los Patos is a cozy, relaxed place full of good energy. It is the place that we imagined to welcome guests and say goodbye to friends. It's our passion, what motivates us and fills us with satisfaction.

Hotel Pircas Negras   Villa Union

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Pircas Negras Hotel offers a different experience, where we make all the necessary so you can have an excellent stay. Nestled beneath the foothills of La Rioja, the hotel mixes colors and architecture with the nature around. The 3300m2 on two floors offer spacious rooms. They have large windows overlooking the Cerro Famatina and the Cordillera.

Hotel Belen   Belén

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast

Belen Hotel In designing the architecture and decoration is unique and exclusive, where our indigenous past and its landscape is recreated at each corner. Enjoy this trip in a unique setting for relaxation.

Hotel Killa   Cafayate

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Killa Cafayate is a hotel de charme located in the heart of town. Developed after an old colonial house it is today a hotel with own character and a very particular style. It is a place to rest and encounter with ample guestrooms, fresh galleries and colorful gardens. Decorated with exclusive artisan designs, invites to enjoy its history and present with unique hospitality style.

Casa de Campo La Paya   Cachi

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast

Casa de Campo La Paya is located in a finca (farm) only 12 km from the historic town of Cachi, This typical rural house from 1878 has been rehabilitated by Ruiz Moreno with the typical structure of the popular Valley homes, turning it into a place of tranquility and authenticity. The old structure of the house remains the same combination of stone walls and adobe walls. The decor consists of antique furnishings, carpets typical of the region and unique ceramic pieces. Its eight rooms are decorated with different tone and rustic charm. In the garden, the flora of the region surrounds a spacious pool with excellent views of the valley Calchaquí. The vegetables and seasonal fruits from the garden are the basis of the cuisine, a delicious combination of flavors, presentation and quality for dinner and for breakfast.

Hotel Delvino Boutique   Salta

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Delvino Boutique Hotel is the first wine-themed hotel located in the heart of the city of Salta, and two blocks away from Balcarce’s walk and the station, where the "Train to the Clouds" departs. The exquisite combination of the magic of nature lained in an urban space, the silent memory hidden within the walls of an old house remodeled, and Salta wine enthusiast charm, Delvino Boutique Hotel makes an ideal place to combine pleasure, relaxation and business. Each room is unique and takes the name that characterizes its decoration, as the suite Torrontés, Cabernet and Malbec, among others. Delvino Boutique Hotel is the perfect Gateway Welcome to the beginning and the end of the wine roads.

Hotel Los Colorados   Purmamarca

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Cabañas Los Colorados is a complex of bungalows, which are located in northwestern Argentina, in Jujuy Province. The Cabañas el Colorado are located in the "Quebrada de Humahuaca" declared "World Heritage" UNESCO 2003. Located at the foot of the seven color hills (western) within the magnificent tour of the "Paseo de los Colorados." At 500 meters of Purmamarca's main square.

Solar del Tropico   Huacalera

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

The solar of the Tropic proposes different formulas from trips and workshop artistict to discover the cultural universe of the Argentine provinces of Jujuy and Salta. A trip to the encounter of the world of the gauchos, agriculturists and criadores cattle dealers of flames of artístas and craftsmen. A journey in green valley of andean chaín , Huamahuaca’s slopes and the Argentine Plateau.

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