Enjoy a real mountain biking Argentina adventure inside the magical Argentine Northwest.
Duration: 9 days, 8 nights
This is a mountain biking Argentina journey packed with adventure, through a region that can truly be called magical. You will climb above high mountain passes, reaching the very edge of the great Altiplano (the highest inhabited mountain plateau in the world, after the Tibetan highlands). The Calchaqui Valleys don´t cease to surprise, with amazing desert landscapes, wonderful colonial towns, and a people marked by an ancient indigenous culture mixed with colonial Spanish heritage. This is a fantastic way to delve deeply into a region that is fast becoming a world-class destination. Come experience the magical Northwest of Argentina!
You can either meet the operator in Buenos Aires and ride in their van to Salta (20 hours), which arrives on Saturday. You can also meet the operator in Salta on Saturday. There are flights from Buenos Aires to Salta and busses from many other cities and towns.
Day 1 – Saturday: Welcome to Salta
Rendezvous in Salta in the evening and head to the town of Chicoana for an overnight in a beautiful hotel.
Day 2 – Sunday: Down the Bishop´s Slope and into the Andean Plateau
After a welcome and safety talk, you’ll start your tour with one of the trip’s highlights! Leaving on our comfortable van, we’ll cross the town of El Carril, and begin climbing the “Quebrada de Escoipe,” following a canyon sculpted by a river flowing down from the mountains. This beautiful place is surrounded by verdant vegetation and huge mountain chains. You’ll keep climbing the famous “Cuesta del Obispo” (the Bishop´s Slope), an amazing climb that seems to never end. You’ll reach “Piedra del Molino” (the Millstone), which lies at 3,348 ms above seal level (10,980 ft). After being amazed by the views atop, you’ll mount up and descend over the wonderful “Camino de los Colorados” (the Red Road), named for the eroded slopes in various shades of red – a fantastic sight. You´ll also cycle through the Cardones National Park named after the huge cactus that grows everywhere and that is protected here. You will spend the night in a cozy hosteria in Cachi.
50 km of dirt roads (31 miles). It’s optional to ride 13 more miles.
Elevation gain: 230 meters (755 Feet) uphill- 1390 meters (4,560 Feet) downhill.
Day 3 – Monday: Cachi to Molinos
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll head to one of the most surprising places of the journey, landing in the middle of red, dry mountains, surrounded by the incredible cardón cactus (a relative of the saguaro). At Laguna Brealito you’ll have lunch. This scenic and rocky path will offer a challenging ride, with plenty of climbing and descending. In the afternoon, you’ll ride over another isolated backroad, used only by the few locals existing in the region. In Molinos, you may have to walk a bit, as there is a 1 km stretch of loose sand after 1kms of loose sand. The enchanting landscapes are well worth the challenging ride. You spend night 3 at the Hacienda de Molinos, a restored country manor set in a fantastic location.
47 km of dirt roads (29 miles)
Elevation gain: 970 meters (3,183 Feet) uphill- 1448 meters (4750 Feet) downhill.
Day 4 (Tuesday): Molinos to Estancia Colomé and back to Molinos
Today you have an extraordinary program! You’ll ride our bikes to Estancia de Colomé, covering the distance of 19km (12 miles) on a gentle uphill tendency. Colome is the oldest operating Winery in Argentina, it was founded in 1831 by the last Spanish Governor Nicolas Severo Isasmendi y Echalar. It’s located in the Upper Calchaqui Valley and it’s home of the highest vineyards, sitting between 2.300 and 3100 meters above the sea level and to the exquisite boutique hotel Estancia Colome. After some stretching, you’ll have an explanation about the history of the Winery and the process of the wine production. The delightful lunch will be served in the gallery of the restaurant in front of the vineyards. In the afternoon you’ll visit the James Turrell museum, the private museum of Hess family about space and light. Afterwards, you’ll ride back to Molinos.
38 km of dirt roads (23.5 miles)
Day 5 – Wednesday: The Calchaqui Valleys
The small town of Molinos dates from the 17th century, and after a bit of exploring, you will begin pedalling on the famous Route 40, which stretches the length of Argentina along the spine of the Andes, from the border with Bolivia down to Ushuaia, on the southern edge of the continent. You’ll follow the Calchaquí River Valley, a fertile region settled since pre-historic times. You’ll pass few small towns, and arrive in Finca del Carmen, near Angastaco, with lively regional arquitecture and plenty of traditional culture. The silence of the Valley and the surrounding scenery will keep you awed throughout the journey. You’ll spend the night at the Finca del Carmen.
36 km of dirt roads (22 miles)
Day 6 – Thursday: Through the Quebrada de las Flechas into colonial Cafayate
Today, you’ll enter the amazing Quebrada de las Flechas (The Canyon of Arrows), one of the most amazing sites in the Argentine Northwest. The eroded cliffs and slopes, with the high Andes off in the distance; create an almost surreal landscape, dazzling all that come through here. After 31 km of riding, you’ll stop for lunch, and load your bikes to drive into the town of San Carlos. From this town, you’ll again ride but over a paved road, eventually nearing the desert oasis of Cafayate, famous for its high altitude vineyards. The town of Cafayate is another trip highlight – you’ll feel at home by its friendly inhabitants, who still live and breathe Northwest tradition and culture.
60 km of dirt roads (37,5 miles)
Elevation gain: 550 meters (1804 Feet) uphill- 560 meters (1837 Feet) downhill.
Day 7 – Friday: The Quebrada de las Conchas
You’ll depart in the van from Cafayate and cycle through the Quebrada de las Conchas, another magical canyon offering enchanting landscapes of strange rock formations and eroded slopes exposing innumerable bands of colors. Similar to the US Western deserts, there are many rock formations to discover, and the colors will change as the sun arches over and behind the canyon. To add to this wonder, the last ride of the tour is entirely paved, allowing for a day of tranquil riding. You’ll return to Cafayate in the afternoon, a wonderful town for strolling and enjoying the evening.
60 km of dirt roads (37 miles)
Elevation gain: 310 meters (1017 Feet) uphill- 540 meters (1771 Feet) downhill.
Day 8 – Saturday: The Ruins of Quilmes
After a scenic, short drive we’ll arrive in the amazing Quilmes Ruins, set on the slopes of the namesake Sierras. This indigenous fortress is truly surprising – the Quilmes Indians resisted the Inca and Spanish invaders here for many years. Only when their sources of food and water were cut off did they end their resistance. After exploring this amazing site, you’ll shuttle a bit further, to the top of the Cuesta del Infiernillo (the Hell’s Pass), at 3,200 ms, from where we’ll drive down to Tafi del Valle. This is the mountain pass where the first Spanish conquistadores to arrive in Argentina came through. The views on the way down towards Tafi Valley are wonderful. After lunch in Tafi we’ll drive through the amazing sub-tropical rainforest set below the Altiplano – another highlight of your trip!
Your mountain biking Argentina tour ends in the city of Tucuman, the oldest city in Argentina, where independence was first declared. Those travelling back to Buenos Aires with the operator will rest up before beginning an overnight drive.
Day 9 – Sunday: Return to Buenos Aires
Those returning to Buenos Aires will arrive at approximately 10 am.
Difficult level: Advanced
Contact us for a detailed equipment and gear list that you need for the tour: firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.