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 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…
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!