Trekkers often overlook the northern parts of Argentina, but the provinces of Salta and Jujuy offer beautiful, if sometimes a bit hot, hiking. The scenery in this region stands in stark contrast to its better-known Patagonian counterparts, but is nevertheless spectacular.
Since it will likely be hot when you visit, hiking to a waterfall is always a crowd-pleaser. The Rio Colorado runs about six kilometers outside of Cafayate, a town in the southern part of the province of Salta. If you follow the river upstream for about an hour and a half you will reach a waterfall you can swim in. If that one is crowded, continue on to a second waterfall further up. Both waterfalls are set in the scenic red rock of the Quebrada de Cafayate area. While you are in Cafayate, don’t forget to stop by a winery, as the region is famous for its unique torrontés white wine.
The northern region is home to several national parks that have great trails. Parque Nacional Calilegua is one of the most accessible. Located in the subtropical zone, the park is much greener than the Cafayate area. The park has something for everyone, with short strolls as well as challenging full-day hikes. Additionally, the park is known for its extensive fauna, so take a few longer breaks near streams to see what you can spot. For hikers looking for a longer hike, a week-long trek from the parks western boundary via the ancient Inca trails in the Sierra de Zenta will take you to Humahuacha.
By Noelle Smith