Argentina travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Cafayate is one of the special places to visit in northern Argentina, a place to get to know it's streets and to explore the amazing ravine / gorge - Quebrada
de las Conchas. Cafayate has existed since around 1840 and was mainly developed in the decades after around the wine industry.
The town itself is absolutely
lovely indeed (I don't use the word lovely very often at all). There are many arts and crafts shops, colorful wall murals in the streets around the main plaza,
a wine museum (Museo de la Vid y el Vino) and the cathedral (Nuestra Senora del Rosario) beside the main plaza. Around the outer streets of the town are vineyards.
The tourist information office is located at the main plaza. The plaza itself is quite beautiful and large and has many trees with yellow
leaves and a couple of monuments. One of the monuments is of a wooden man depicting a worker carrying grapes, the other is of General Jose de San Martin.
Streets of Charm
is one of those towns where the locals ride around on bicycles a lot, unlike other towns I have been to with motorbikes constantly buzzing around the place.
That's good! The streets are quite charming with flowers in flowerpots and lamps above the sidewalk in places. Colonial arquitecture is scattered
around town (arched windows with wooden shutters etc). On one of the back streets I came across a man selling llama meat in the form of hams and salamis, he
also had some cheeses. I came across an awesome 3D wall mural that had peoples faces cast into it and created to depict the carnival. I walked past one of Cafayate's
first buildings - the hospital (1875), an historical building of pink. Exploring the other end of town I visited a plaza with monument of one of Argentina's
war heroes Gral. Martin Miguel de Guemes, there's a fountain and cactus plants here also.
Tour to Quebrada de las Conchas
So now it was the afternoon of the tour to the gorge. I booked
a tour with Ipuna Tours. We headed out into the rocky wilderness by road stopping at various places along the way. We firstly explored on foot various rock
formations then we continued on to see the Castles (Los Castillos) which are 3 tall rock forms side by side. Next we went to see the Obelisco, a huge rock
26 meters high. The next location we went to required a lot of walking, a place with very rough terrain where we climbed hills, saw amazing red rock ridges
and enjoyed the fantastic views. The natural amphitheater (El Anfiteatro) was the next stopping point, the echo and acoustics were just fantastic. Bring a
guitar, bongo drum or flute to this place! We had a quick look at a waterfall called Garganta del Diablo but there was no water, they said you need to see
it in January or February. The last thing we did was check out the views from the lookout - Mirador Tres Cruces, unfortunately we just missed the sunset. And
that was the tour. Let me be honest, the tour was great, lots of fun exploring and walking in a group situation. Make sure you take some food and plenty of
water. However, I really believe the photos I took out of the front seat on the top deck of the bus when I came to Cafayate from Salta
capture the Quebrada de las Conchas terrain so much better! Take a look