Purmamarca and La Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

Cerro de Siete Colores (Seven colored hill), Purmamarca, Argentina

Total Miles Traveled: 13,423

Purmamarca is a tiny town ideally located in front of the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Seven-colored hill) pictured above, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The colors are a result of different metals in the earth in different states of oxidation.  For example, iron oxidizes and turns reddish and copper turns bluish green.

One morning, I took a hike up one of the hills in the center of town and took a look around:

Here’s a view into another valley:

Purmamarca, Argentina

“La Quebrada de Humahuaca” means the Humahuaca valley or gorge.  It begins around Purmamarca and winds north through Humahuaca (about 1.5 hrs away from Salta) and all the way up to the border with Bolivia.   Definitely worth a drive or a bus tour up from Salta or Jujuy.  Here’s a view from the highway at Maimara:

Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

The town of Tilcara lies north of Purmamarca.  It’s definitely a larger, more touristy town, and features reconstructed ruins from indigenous people who lived there around 600 A.D., these people too disappeared mysteriously.

Ruins of Tilcara

The huts are quite small, or maybe I’m HUGE!  My broad shoulders can barely fit through the doorway.  😉

Ruins of Tilcara

There were also a lot of cacti around – here’s Lisa pretending to be one…  I guess we were a little bored.

It's a Cactus Lisa

More interesting colors and geological formations on the way up to Humahuaca:

Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina


Finally, we reach Humahuaca, which is about 2.5 hrs north of Salta.  The town is even larger than Tilcara and still touristy.  There wasn’t much to see in the town center although there were quaint and quiet cobblestone streets, and a huge staircase leading up to a monument.

Humahuaca, Argentina

Here are some cute puppies in Humahuaca, distracted by Lisa’s cooing:

Two puppies in Humahuaca

This old lady couldn’t stop staring at us, so I took a photo of her:

Humahuaca, Argentina

And finally, we had lunch.  Lisa had stewed cordero (lamb):

Cordero (lamb)

I had the locro, which is a hearty pumpkin stew with beans, corn, lam, green onion, and potatoes – very typical of the region and really good when it’s chilly out.


Check out more photos on Flickr:

Next, we fly to Iguazu to see the waterfalls!

2 thoughts on “Purmamarca and La Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina”

  1. We will be in Salta in Late January and have allowed some time to visit Purmamarca, Humahuaca, and Juguy area like you guys. Did you drive on your own? We prefer a tour guide any suggestions? Is public transit available?

    Great Pictures!!


    1. Hi Howard, we took a 2-day/1-night tour of the Purmamarca/Humahuaca area, overnighting in Purmamarca. We rode a minibus which was comfortable, but I’ll have to see if I can find the tour company for you (there are literally a 100 of them in Salta). I don’t think public transit is a good option. Driving should be very easy if you want to maintain a more flexible schedule and stopping wherever you want. If I were to do it again, I’d probably drive ourselves and do a bit more research on where to go. Cheers, -Tony

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