Each of these two day trips includes pickup in downtown Salta. Pack a lunch to bring with you or spend your hour of free time for lunch at one of the local restaurants (own expense). Please see Itinerary section below for a full outline of each day's activities.
Humahuaca Valley Day Trip from Salta:
After hotel pickup in Salta by your local guide, your 10-hour day trip through the Humahuaca Valley (Quebrada de Humahuaca), a UNESCO World Heritage site, starts with the 2.5- to 3-hour drive to your first stop, the village of Purmamarca. When you arrive, your guide will tell you a bit about the village, and then give you about 40 minutes of free time to explore on your own. Visit the viewpoint overlooking the Hill of the Seven Colors (Cerro de los Siete Colores), check out the craft market on the main square or just wander the cobbled streets.
Continue 30 minutes north to the town of Tilcara, where you’ll visit the Pucará, the ruins of a pre-Incan fortification. Declared a National Monument, the Pucará offers nice views of the valley. Spend 30 minutes here, and then keep heading north through the valley, stopping for a 5-minute photo op at the Tropic of Capricorn and passing by Cerro Pollera de Coya, a multicolored hill.
Next, arrive in the small town of Uquía, known for its 17th-century church. Visit the church with your guide to see its famous Cuzco School (Escuela Cuzqueña) paintings of archangels holding arcabuceros, Spanish muzzle-loading guns.
Around lunchtime, arrive in the town of Humahuaca, where you have one hour of free time to have lunch at a local restaurant. You’ll find eateries that serve both international dishes and regional food like empanadas. Then meet back up with your guide for a 1-hour tour of the city. See the main square, the 17th-century church (Iglesia de la Candalaria) and Independence Monument, created by sculptor Ernesto Soto Avendaño.
Leaving Humahuaca, head south on Route 9 to the village of Maimará, where you’ll pause to admire La Paleta del Pintor (The Painter's Palette), a remarkable formation of colors on the hills above the village that look like they were made by a paintbrush. Then keep driving south for a couple of hours until you reach the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, the capital of Jujuy province. Take a 20- to 30-minute tour of the city in your tour vehicle, checking out the main square, Flag Hall and the colonial cathedral.
Finally, return to Salta along Route 34. After the 1.5- to 2-hour drive, your day trip ends with hotel drop-off.
Calchaquí Valley and Cafayate Winery Day Trip from Salta:
Your 12-hour day trip begins with hotel pickup for the journey to Cafayate, about 120 miles (190 km) south of Salta. Head out of town on Route 68, passing through the Lerma Valley; after about 90 minutes, stop in Posta de las Cabras or La Viña for a coffee break.
Continue your drive all the way down into the Calchaquí Valley (Valles Calchaquíes), a series of diverse valleys, rivers and gorges spread across Salta and its neighboring provinces that’s on UNESCO’s tentative list to become a World Heritage site. Reach the entrance to Quebrada de las Conchas (Gorge of the Shells), and drive through the gorge, stopping for photo ops at four rock formations and canyons, including the Amphitheater (Amfiteatro) and Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo).
Arrive in the town of Cafayate, where you have one hour of free time for lunch. Eat with your guide at a local restaurant reserved for the tour, visit a different restaurant on the town square or look for a pretty spot to enjoy a packed lunch if you brought one with you (lunch is at your own expense). Afterward, meet up with your guide and group to head to a local winery.
The winery varies each day; you might visit Domingo Hermanos, El Tránsito or Vasija Secreta. Take a 15- to 25-minute behind-the-scenes tour of the winery, learning about high-altitude winemaking in Cafayate and checking out the vineyards or barreling facilities. Then enjoy a wine tasting of three to four varietals like malbec, cabernet, mistela (a dessert wine) or torrontés (the region’s signature white varietal).
After your tasting, return to Salta, where your day trip ends with hotel drop-off. (Note: If there is time, you may visit a second winery before returning to Salta.)