Sunday, November 7, 2010


Because of my birthday (and limited internet connection) I didn’t have a chance to write about my trip to Northwest Argentina, to the regions of Salta, Jujuy and Tucuman from October 29 to November 3. I went with my two friends Janie and Lambros, and we had a spectacular time exploring the region in a rented car (moderately dangerous considering none of us had ever driven a manual car before—don’t worry though, Lambros watched you tube videos on how to drive stick before our departure). While Argentina is one of the least indigenous Latin American countries (93% of the country is white), the Northwest is known for being the country's most heavily indigenous region while also quite well known for it’s stunning natural landscape, often compared to Arizona and other parts of the United States’ Southwest.

While physically located in South America, culturally, Buenos Aires is located somewhere in between Italy and Spain. You can eat pasta in most restaurants in Buenos Aires, and you are much more likely to hear French or Italian when walking the streets than Quecha. The European influence here in Buenos Aires is astounding, and you often forget that you are indeed in South America. It’s easy to see why this city is often referred to as the Paris of Latin America.

However, as Lambros pointed out one day, on this trip we were, for the first time, visiting "Latin America." In Northwest Argentina I felt so much closer to Peru or Mexico than I did to Buenos Aires. The indigenous roots, the traditional artisanal crafts, the colonial (but not imperialistic) European influence—all of these things made us feel far away from Buenos Aires (and Europe). We even ran into Day of the Dead celebrations in Jujuy--something that I can't imagine seeing at Recoleta Cemetery.

The three of us really bonded on our six-day trip in Northwest Argentina, and we loved getting to see a new side of the country that we have come to love. Oh, and the killer views definitely didn’t hurt.

La Iglesia San Francisco in Salta. Can you note the Spanish Colonial influence?

La Catedral de Salta lit up at dusk.

Per the suggestion of a fellow hiker, we took Matrix-esque photos at La Garganta del Diablo*

Janie and I at la Garganta del Diablo in la Quebrada de las Conchas.

Janie and I dancin' by the side of the road in the Quebrada de las Conchas--on the drive between Salta (la ciudad) and Cafayate.

Soakin' up the scenery at los Castillos in La Quebrada de las Conchas*

Wine at Bodega Nani in Cafayate. The province of Salta--most specifically the area surrounding Cafayate--is known for a white wine called torrontés.

Cacti at the Quilmes Ruines in Tucuman. The Quilmes were a pre-Incan tribe who lived in the region up until the 17th Century when the Spaniards defeated them and forced them to move to the province of Buenos Aires where authorities could more easily control them. Many of the Quilmes people died on the 600 mile treck. Those who did survive the migration refused to reproduce and the tribe died out. Argentina's famous Quilmes beer has the same name because it is manufactured in the new Quilmes outside of Buenos Aires*

A local woman in Humuhuaca selling plastic floral wreathes outside of the cemetery for El Día de los Muertos. Now THIS is Latin America.

Flower wreaths for El Día de los Muertos.

Exploring the vineyard at Bodega Colombé*

Janie, Lambros and I at Bodega Colombé, Argentina's oldest and the world's highest vineyard*

Being silly in El Parque Nacional de los Cardones outside of Cachi, Salta*

I couldn't leave our hotel in Cachi without a picture in this fabulous hat.

You've gotta take optical illusion photos in the Salt Flats. One with coke was an obvious choice for me.

A wild vicuña that we spotted on the side of the road near the salt flats.

Artesanal crafts in Purmamarca, Jujuy*

*All starred photos were taken by Janie.


  1. Haha earlier this year, my Political Economy of the Southern Cone professor said, "Argentineans are Italians who want to be British but are actually French." Glad you're having such an amazing time!

  2. Don't think I could have possibly phrased it better myself!