High Altitude Driving, Crazy Roads:  Salta, Cafayate, Cachi RN40 Argentina

comments 6


a great door in Cafayate, had to go retro

Well its been a busy week or so, mostly without internet access.  We have been around the Salta region checking out the less travelled tourist path – mostly which turned out really nice.  We stayed for a couple of days in Cafayate in a very small Hostal that Cindy found.  Basically I think we were staying in the back of these peoples house.  We always evaluate a place by the bathroom, this one combined the shower with toilet and sink – so I guess you could take a shower, bush your teeth and goto the can all at the same time.  Add little to no warm/hot water to the mix and you get the picture.  But for $50/night for all four of us it was a deal.  Cafayate is a very small place, kids playing soccer in the street, people riding bikes and horses into town.  It’s also the start of Argentine wineries so there were lots of bodega’s along the road and various wine shops available.  They even had wine flavored ice creams.  


we had extra meat from ordering too much, soo this dog had a feast. he had a broken back leg in the hip…


everyone parks their bike like this


Hayden did a little service project in the park picking up trash, he actually got other kids to help!

we called it “Mini-zesty”

We spent a day doing a hike in the mountains with a local guide.  He took us up a hill to see a waterfall and we got to see lots of goats grazing on the hill side.  Cafayate is the same elevation as Denver and it was 85F when we did our hike, which was a big change for us weather wise.

After Cafayate we took the infamous Route 40 north to Cachi.  This road is dirt/gravel and winds its way up to about 8500 ft.  The views are spectaclar.  We drove, and drove, and drove through a very windy road – took us five hours to go about 85 miles.  ONce on top we had a spectacular view of the San Martin peak – over 20,000 feet. We managed to find a very nice hotel, met some other Americans who were also travelling at the same spot.  WE didn’t spend much time here as we needed to drive Route 9 from Salta to our next place Tilcara – which ended up being about an 8 hour drive in the car.  This drive was spectacular, going from 8500 to 11,060 feet and then progressing down a very windy and steep hillside.  At about every curve I could feel Cindy’s nerves tense up as we approached the turns going down.  She definately doesn’t like steep windy roads.  Uh hello – we are on our way to Peru…

             This is a short post, mostly around a lot of photos.  WE’re trying to catch up with the blog and will write another one about our next spot in northern Argentina.

We drove from Argentina to Chile today and are now in San Pedro de Atacama, after driving across a 15,700 ft pass.  It was snowing at the top!


  1. Rosa says

    I love reading about your adventures so very much!!!
    Un fuerte abrazo para los cuatro.


  2. Granddad says

    The pictures are over the top!!! What a beautiful part of the world. I am so glad you are experiencing it. Very proud of Hayden and the park clean up project. Keep track of names of good wines and pass them along so I can see if I can find them here.
    Love, Granddad


  3. Granddad says

    I can hear Cindy’s thoughts pondering her next burro race as she looks out the window. You did have the burro picture right before that. The adventures continue and you all look wonderful.
    My Mother’s Day flowers arrived today. Thanks so much. They are really lovely with pinks and purples throughout. It will be almost 80 here this weekend, so no rain and we can celebrate on the deck. The flowers are all in bloom here and it is spectacular.
    Continue being safe. We love you. Love, Grandmother


  4. Erin says

    Wow, those pictures are spectacular! And I can’t get over how many of them look like northern AZ/Southern UT. Funny that there is “bizarro Southwest” in the southern hemisphere. We miss you guys! Love, the Moores


    • Yes it definitely looks like the southwest. I have to post the next set of pictures from 15,000 feet and unbelievable rock formations that we saw. Northern Argentina went from high desert to forest back to high desert in a short drive. We crossed yesterday at 15,700 feet through the desert.

      We will be back in 60 days. 😦


  5. Kim says

    Cindy, my knuckles would be white, too, going down some of those hairpin curves! I truly enjoy reading of all your adventures!


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