Sometimes it is about the journey more than the destination. This is absolutely true for the trip to Cafayate from Salta. The drive is about 3-4 hours and takes you through an amazing section of the Andes. After the experience my parents had with our tour to Salinas Grandes, they opted to hire a driver just for the day. This isn’t exactly the budget backpacker way but an amazing way to stop and see exactly what you want to see and have a more personal experience.
The Andes is the second youngest mountain range in the world after the Himalayas. It is the longest mountain range in the world and has a peak of 22,000 feet. This means that even though it’s summer, there is snow that can be seen in some spots.
Our driver stopped at some natural formations that have formed in the mountain including this amphitheater pictured below. There were musicians playing music and vendors selling their trinkets. It was an absolute natural wonder.
The pictures do not do justice to show just how beautiful the landscape was. Endless mountain ranges with peaks and valleys everywhere. As we were driving we saw goats, llamas, horses, cows, pigs and parrots. It was a wildlife extravaganza.
The main reason for the drive was to check out the little town of Cafayate and do a little wine tasting. We went to Piattelli and had a delicious lunch with breathtaking views and a fantastic bottle of Torrontes. Torrontes is a varietal of white wine from this region and is incredibly refreshing.
Our wonderful tour guide then took us to a great wine store to buy some wine and then a little off the path bodega to try some Malbec and goat cheese. We ended up buying the cheese along with llama sausage from a local vendor, fresh baked bread from another local vendor and some olive oil from yet another local vendor. These were all gems that only a private tour can provide and really made the experience very special.