Trek to Iruya
Special features of this epic trek:
DAY 01 : SALTA - IRUYA. 07.00 am departure from Salta along a winding mountain road, where we will appreciate an exuberant subtropical vegetation including a varied number of ferns, epiphytes, ancient native trees, and multicolored birds. We drive into the historical and fantastic Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca canyon). We arrive at Humahuaca, where the splendor of the landscape and the presence of aboriginal ruins leave their long lasting tracks in our souls. We resume our trip and, in Iturbe, start our way up toward Abra Condor (Condor Pass - 4000m) where we can feel the pre-puna (the High Andean plateau). In the afternoon we arrive at Iruya, the small village at the top of the mountains and overlooking the valleys. Its population with a strong mixture of the mestizo and the local coya, still keeps its ancient traditions, as well as a very particular religious celebration. Accommodation at a simple hostel or the newly built and very comfortable HOSTERIA de IRUYA. (2750 m)
DAYS 02 : IRUYA. TREKKING. During this day we hike along narrow paths up the mountain slope, with deep abyss, crossed by torrential rivers and the high peaks, emerging like stone guardians, as our only witnesses. Our trail winds, at times up the cracks or passes, or down to the river bed. We walk into a transversal valley, whose inhabitants join the ancestral rituals and costumes with Christian practices. During the hike, we can visit small colonial chapels and see the vestiges of ancient native civilizations. The landscape and the views that can be appreciated on this trip totally fill up our adventurous desire, and the beauty of the place grants an overwhelming sight. B,Box-L,
Accommodation in a very comfortable mountain refuge -Refugio CONDOR (3050m)- located in a high cliff with a panoramic view over the valleys. The refuge includes: bar service, running and hot water and toilet facilities.
Slope: 500 m.
Approx. hike: 6 hours
Maximum altitude during the trek: 3150 m.
Day 3 : EXPLORING THE VALLEYS. An extra day in the area to include a hike to a nearby village and the extent of the hike will depend on the passenger's performance. Sometimes it is a rest day or a day in which the hikers mingle with the kids at school in San Juan. It is always a good opportunity and excuse to explore the silent valleys deeper.
DAY 04 : TREKKING to IRUYA. Return to Iruya through a different mountain road, which will allow us to visit some small villages along the way, mingle with local people and if we are lucky see the artisans at work while they weave the beautiful ponchos.
Accommodation at hosteria in Iruya (2750m) Approx. hike: 7 hours. Maximum altitude during the trek: 3150 m.
DAY 05: IRUYA - GREAT SALT FLATS - ROUTE 40 - PURMAMARCA - SALTA.
Morning departure leaving behind the Silent Valleys to drive in one of the highest places on earth - the Puna or High Andean Plateau. We return to the National Route and drive to Abra Pampa, where we start our drive in the mythical and deserted Route 40 at 3800m above sea level. During our drive we will observe herds of llama and vicuñas to photograph. The multi-hued canyon walls serve as a backdrop for the lively manifestation of indigenous culture. Along the way we will be able to visit several charming villages known for their small churches and chapels of varying architectural styles.
Visit SALINAS GRANDES (Great Salt Flats) to observe the rudimentary exploitation of the salt. Drive down to Purmamarca through a very panoramic winding road and the highest point in our itinerary: 4170 m at CUESTA de LIPAN (Lipan Slope).
Late evening arrival in Salta.
* We strongly recommend an overnight at a local estancia in Salta.
Despite it being a high altitude trek; it is really manageable and can be adapted to clients' requests and ability to walk. The average walking hours per day is 5 at a very slow and pleasant pace. Although this is not an overly demanding schedule, some parts of the hiking trails require a degree of physical and psychological skills. Passengers must be in a good physical shape enough to follow an uphill trail for up to one hour, and fear of heights can be a problem. However, no experience is required.
1) Arrival & departures:
The itinerary requires that passenger arrive on day earlier than the beginning of the trip as well as stay longer because of the schedule, it is not possible to catch a flight on the way back to Salta.
2) Rates include:
· Exclusive vehicle for the group. (no public or seat in basis services are used)
· Assistance of expert mountain guides (fluent in English and French) and crew.
· Meals as described on the itinerary.
· This is a self-sufficient hike, so pasengers will have to carry their day back-pack while they hike to the mountain refuge and return to Iruya
Rates do not include:
· Airline / bus tickets, apt taxes. * Gratuities, optional tips for guides and crew.
· Extras and personal expenses. * Any kind of insurance.
· Meals (except the ones mentioned on the itinerary)
Level of difficulty: Demanding
Minimum / Maximum: 2 / 16 pax
3) BOOKING CONDITIONS:
· All passengers must be covered with a travel and health insurance.
· A disclaimer will be asked to be signed before departure.
. Passengers must send a medical certificate allowing them to perform activities at high altitude (Pls note that during the hike we will be around 3150 m / 9500 ft).
Cold cuts for lunch.
· Hot and energetic meals for breakfast and dinner (high mountain and regional food). Tea is special!
· Vegetarians or any other special diet must be notified at least 15 days prior to departure.
"Thank you for giving us a wonderful experience. The selection of places to visit had so much variety. The challenging hike will never be forgotten. Nor will the delicious lunches, one so spectacular near the condors and the other in the amazingly huge salt lake. You gave us a broad range of information about Argentina, which we appreciated, as well as your good ideas about places to take photos and your willingness to stop anywhere anytime. Your friendliness and good humor helped make this trip one we will remember always.
Gracias para todo! " CATHY & EVERETT