Buenos Aires to Salta: Hiking and Biking the Salt Flats & Wine Region

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Buenos Aires to Salta: Hiking and Biking the Salt Flats & Wine Region
Duration:
11
Days
Priced from:
4099.00
USD

Buenos Aires to Salta: Hiking and Biking the Salt Flats & Wine Region

Trip Overview

Experience a unique adventure tour including biking and hiking across Argentina, one of South America’s largest countries. On this itinerary, you’ll take in some of the country’s top highlights from Buenos Aires to the astounding Salinas Grandes. You'll experience friendly locals and taste traditional cuisine. You’ll even have the chance to dance tango where the worldwide sensation started or sample what locals (as well as many experts) would say is the world’s best wine. This tour is loaded with the perfect combination of activity and culture, but in the end it will most likely be the trip’s scenery that has taken your breath away. 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS TOUR

  • A tango show in Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango
  • Time in Cafayate, a wine town located in the centre of the Calchaquí Valley
  • An epic day biking the Salinas Grandes
  • A typical Argentine asado (barbeque) at a countryside Estancia, prepared traditional gaucho style

Difficulty Level

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Questions?

Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Buenos Aires
Arrival
Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, take a taxi to your centrally located hotel. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure to explore and walk around the neighbourhood. There are plenty of unique and characteristic restaurants in the area, that will provide your first glimpse of la noche porteña. The hotel staff will be happy to recommend some local favourites.   

Meals: None
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2

Buenos Aires
Walking Tour
After breakfast, you’ll meet your BikeHike guide and head out on a morning walking tour through Buenos Aires. We’ll move around on local transport, to give you a real taste of local life in this thriving city. We’ll visit Recoleta, the city’s most aristocratic and upper class areas in town, which includes the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Church built in 1732 and the famous Cemetery of La Recoleta where many important Argentine people are buried, Evita Peron among them. We will also stroll along Alvear, the Rodeo Drive of Buenos Aires and this street is also why it is popularly expressed that Buenos Aires is “the Paris of Latin America.” Next, we’ll visit Puerto Madero, the newest neighbourhood in Buenos Aires where we’ll walk along the river, past renovated warehouses, to the Women’s Bridge (designed by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava). Afterwards, you’ll have free time to find lunch on your own and explore more of the city before meeting up with the group again early evening. In the evening, we will visit Plaza de Mayo. Surrounded by the Cabildo, Casa Rosada and the Metropolitan Cathedral, it is Argentina’s most important square, having been a centre for countless political events. We’ll enjoy a welcome dinner in a restaurant near the square and for those interested, there will be a chance to enjoy a tango show. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 3

Buenos Aires - Salta
Free Time and Afternoon Flight
After a wholesome and hearty breakfast at the hotel, you’ll have more time to explore the city on your own before your afternoon flight to Salta. A highlight for many visiting Buenos Aires is walking around San Telmo, an old part of the city, famous for its antique shops and Sunday flea market. Another great neighbourhood is La Boca, Argentina’s most colourful neighbourhood, with its tin and corrugated iron houses, built by Italian descendants. It’s also the true birthplace of tango and you still dance in the famous street of Caminito, or buy tango inspired art. At 3.00 pm, we’ll meet back at the hotel for our transfer to the airport for our flight to Salta. Salta, the capital of the province that shares its name, is known among Argentines as La Linda (“The Beautiful”), and it has only recently been discovered by foreigners. After the last couple of days in Buenos Aires, the laid-back vibe of Salta will prove a welcome contrast. Upon arrival, you will be met by your BikeHike representative and transferred to your hotel in the heart of the city. This evening, there will be a short meeting in the lobby to brief you on the active days ahead. The remainder of the evening is at your leisure, to relax or explore.  

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 4

Salta - Cafayate
Biking and Hiking
After breakfast, at 8:30 am, we will meet in the lobby again to head out on an exciting exploration of the Argentine Northwest. We’ll begin with a scenic drive south into the Lerma Valley and through tobacco plantations. We’ll stop for a cup of coffee close to the old abandoned town of Alemania before getting onto our bikes. We’ll bike through the stunning red formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas all the way to La Yesera, where we will stop for a picnic lunch. After lunch, we will hike into the formations to learn about their incredible geology. Next, we’ll continue to Cafayate where there will be time to explore at leisure. This vibrant small town, located in the centre of the Calchaquí Valley, owes its growth to the wine industry. From late 1800s to mid 1900s, the wineries produced mostly bulk wine, but since late 1990s most wineries chose to produce boutique altitude wines. We’ll get settled into a hotel here, where you’ll be based for the next couple nights. The evening is at your leisure to wander and find a spot for dinner. The town’s main plaza abounds with great restaurants and the guide would be happy to make recommendations.

Biking Duration: 3 hours
Biking Distance: 53 km / 33 mi
Biking Ascent: +441 m (1447 ft)
Hiking Duration: 2 hours
Hiking Distance: 4 km / 2.5 mi
Hiking Ascent: + 200 m (657 ft)
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 5

Cafayate
Hiking
Early this morning, after breakfast, we'll head out on a hike in Cafayate, in the Sierras de Cajón, on the west side of the Calchaquí Valley. Following a local guide from this community, our route will ascend through big boulders and gigantic cacti. We will stop for lunch at a small house in the mountains, where people live while taking care of their goats there. After transferring back to Cafayate, we will have free time to relax before meeting again later in the evening for a winery visit. There, we'll have the chance to do a tasting while learning about specialty altitude wines. After the tasting, there will be time again at leisure to explore the town or choose your own place to dine.

Hiking Duration: 4 hours
Hiking Distance: 10 km / 6 mi
Hiking Ascent: + 710 m (2329 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Wine Tasting
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 6

Cafayete - Cachi
Hiking
After breakfast we drive north on route 40, Argentina’s longest highway and the backbone of the Calchaquí Valley. This road was constructed alongside an old indigenous road so along the ride, there will be plenty of opportunities for photos and you’ll learn from your guide about the area’s culture that blends Andean native traditions with Old Spanish colonial ways. A few photo highlights will be at Quebrada de las Flechas and at the Hacienda de Molinos, We will also visit poncho weavers near Seclantas. We will ultimately arrive in Cachi, where we will stay the night. This is another charming little town, and you’ll have the evening at leisure to explore and find dinner on your own. The guide will be happy to point you in the direction of some great places.

Hiking Duration: 3 hours
Hiking Distance: 8 km / 5 mi
Hiking Ascent: + 600 m (1969 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 7

Cachi - Salta
Hiking
We start with a drive out of Cachi across Los Cardones NP, on way to the Lerma Valley. We’ll first head toward the mountain pass Piedra del Molino, which is where we officially leave the Calchaqui Valley behind and start descending into the greener Lerma Valley. We’ll hop out of the vehicle at a trail head that will lead us into the Valle Encantado, a gorgeous green pocket where the high desert gives way to the lower valleys. The trail will take us along a rocky ridge up to El Torreón and down via part of the Inca Trail. Invigorated by our hike, we’ll hop back into our vehicle for our transfer onward to Salta. Once we’ve arrived, the remains of the evening are free to settle into Salta and enjoy our own dinner at leisure.  

Hiking Duration: 6 hours
Hiking Distance: 16 km / 10 mi (mostly downhill)
Hiking Ascent: + 330 m (1083 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 8

Salta - Purmamarca
Biking
We have the morning free and early afternoon in Salta to explore at leisure. There are many lovely local churches and a walk up the San Bernardo Hill, for its great view, is often a Salta highlight. After lunch, we’ll meet again at the hotel at 2.00 pm to transfer to La Caldera for an afternoon of biking. This town was built in colonial times along the ‘Camino Real’ that connected Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires in Argentina. Upon arrival, we’ll get geared up on our bikes and ride north, following a mountain road that takes us under a green canopy of cloud forest. Energized by the ride, we’ll then transfer north towards the Quebrada de Humahuaca. After checking into the hotel, the rest of the evening is at leisure. The guide can point you toward the best places for dinner in this quaint town of Purmamarca. 

Biking Duration: 3 hours
Biking Distance: 45 km / 28 mi
Biking Ascent: + 291 m (955 ft)
Biking Descent: - 489 m (1604 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 9

Salinas Grandes
Biking
After breakfast today, we’ll drive up to Salinas Grandes for an epic day of biking. This is a true highlight of the itinerary. As we bike down onto the salt flats, we’ll meet several workers from the local community and even have the chance to learn how they extract salt manually. We’ll have time to enjoy walking around on the salt flats, perhaps taking some legendary photos, as well as to enjoy a picnic lunch there. Afterwards, we’ll transfer back to Purmamarca for an afternoon and evening at leisure to relax or explore the local shops. One of the local treasures is Andean woven rugs. 

Biking Duration: 3 hours
Biking Distance: 42 km / 26 mi
Biking Ascent: + 169 m (554 ft)
Biking Descent: - 530 m (1739 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 10

Quebrada de Humahuaca
Hiking
After a wholesome local breakfast, we’ll be prepared to head out from the hotel by foot for our morning hike. We’ll head to the Camino de los Colorados where you find a winding uphill trail that takes us south through the mountains towards Tumbaya Grande. Our hiking efforts will be duly rewarded not only with stunning views along the way but also with a beautiful welcome when we ultimately arrive at Estancia El Bordo de las Lanzas in the early afternoon. This is a traditional colonial house where the owners will personally host us overnight. In the afternoon, we’ll have leisure time at the Estancia, with the chance to go on an optional horseback ride or spend time lounging by the swimming pool. In the evening, dinner at the Estancia will be a typical Argentine asado (barbeque) and we’ll see it prepared traditional gaucho style.

Hiking Duration: 4 hours
Hiking Distance: 12 km / 8 mi
Hiking Ascent: + 523 m (1716 ft)
Biking Descent: - 610 m (2001 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 11

Salta
Free Time and Departure
After breakfast, we have our last morning at leisure to continue relaxing at Estancia or improving our horse-riding skills. There is also the opportunity to learn how to cook over a mud oven, for anyone interested. After a lunchtime snack, we will meet for our transfer at 1:30pm to the Salta airport.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
All accommodation (twin shared), meals as indicated (some including local wine), bikes, other related equipment, trekking poles, internal transportation (excluding domestic flights), airport transfers and English-speaking guides. 

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Optional activities, international flights, domestic flights, airport departure taxes, gratuities, alcoholic drinks at meals (wine is included with some meals), meals not indicated in itinerary, museum entrance tickets and items of a personal nature. 

MEALS:
10 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 2 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 10 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Argentina

Buenos Aires
October to November: Pleasant afternoon temperatures, 20-26°C (69-79°F) with six to eight hours of sunshine daily.
December to February: Hot summer season with average afternoon temperature of 29°C (84°F) with nine hours of sunshine daily.
March to April: Pleasant afternoon temperatures, 20-26°C (69-79°F) with six to eight hours of sunshine daily.
June to August: Winter months bringing mild afternoon temperatures of 14°C (57°F) with only four hours of sunshine daily.

Travel Documents

Citizens of Canada and the US only require a valid passport to enter Argentina. Please ensure that your passport is valid for six months beyond the date of arrival, or you may be refused entry. Always carry a photocopy of your passport in the unfortunate case of loss or theft; this precaution will speed up the reissue process..

Food and Water

A great part of Argentina adventure travel is the food. Some of the must-tries in Argentina include carbonada (beef stew with rice, sweet potatoes, squash, maize and chopped apples and peaches), matambre relleno (stuffed and rolled flank steak served cold or baked) and almendrado (ice cream rolled in crushed almonds). You should exercise caution with food sold in the streets. Tap water is treated in Buenos Aires, although to be on the safe side it is advisable to drink only bottled water, which is available widely. Fruit drinks, soft drinks, coffee and tea are all widely available and safe to drink.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. 

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “moderate” trip.

For the most part, you are only expected to carry your daypack. The rest of your gear will be carried by in the support vehicle. Your daypack should be large enough to include your lunch, water, camera, sunscreen and any layer clothing you may need to adapt to the changing weather.

We strongly recommend that you begin a regular fitness program - that is if you are not already doing so. Four times a week, 60 minutes per session should be a minimum to prepare you for this adventure. The optimal workout would include weight training and cardiovascular activities such as walking, cycling and aerobics.

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. 

The logistics of organizing tours to remote corners of the world can be very complex. Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. All itineraries are screened without clients before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. Nothing is untested. 

Can you tell me more about typical travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. This trip attracts one of our most diverse groups. A typical trip is comprised of men and women of varied ages and nationalities. Most of our clients on this trip are regular mortals in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge.

The age range on this trip is typically from 35-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well. 

What should I pack for this trip?

We have prepared a packing list that you can download by clicking the link to the right on this page. 

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

This trip is quite popular with singles. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge.  A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

This trip is generally not a family focused trip for young children. However, this trip could be suitable for strong and active older teenagers. 

We do offer many other Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. This includes accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. 

This trip includes the following types of accommodation:

HOTELS

In an effort to keep money in the communities we visit around the world, BikeHike prefers small hotels, bungalows, and haciendas that showcase the character and local flair of each destination.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Adventure Dates

  • Feb 10 - Feb 20, 2023
  • Apr 14 - Apr 24, 2023
  • Nov 17 - Nov 27, 2023
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
4099.00
USD
per person

* No single supplement fees
* Guaranteed departures on two travellers
* Internal flights not included. We will quote at time of booking. 

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Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour. Just ask! 
  • A perfect extension is our 3-day Argentina's Iguazu Falls tour
  • We are also happy to build a custom extension to better appreciate more of Argentina. A popular trip extension before or after our Argentina trips is visiting Mendoza, Argentina's famous wine region. (We actually do quite a few custom extensions for foodies and wine-lovers who want to fully embrace that aspect of the country). 
Day Destination Activity
Activity Duration
Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
1
Buenos Aires
Arrival
— / —
Hotel
2
Buenos Aires
Walking Tour
— / —
Hotel
b,
d
3
Buenos Aires - Salta
Free Time and Afternoon Flight
— / —
Hotel
b
4
Salta - Cafayate
Biking and Hiking
3 hrs biking / 2 hrs hiking
53 km / 33 mi biking
4 km / 2.5 mi hiking
+ 441 m (1447 ft) biking
+ 200 m (657 ft) hiking
Hotel
b,
l
5
Cafayate
Hiking
4 hrs
10 km
6 mi
+ 710 m (2329 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
6
Cafayate - Cachi
Hiking
3 hrs
8 km
5 mi
+ 600 m (1969 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
7
Cachi - Salta
Hiking
6 hrs
16 km
10 mi
+ 330 m (1083 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
8
Salta - Purmamarca
Biking
3 hrs
45 km
28 mi
+ 291 m (955 ft)
- 489 m (1604 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
9
Salinas Grandes
Biking
3 hrs
42 km
26 mi
+ 169 m (554 ft)
- 530 m (1739 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
10
Quebrada de Humahuaca
Hiking
4 hrs
12 km
8 mi
+ 523 m (1716 ft)
- 610 m (2001 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
11
Salta
Free Time and Departure
— / —
b,
l

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