We’ve planned an active multi-sport exploration of Salta and Cafayate’s wine regions that offers hiking, biking, rafting, tastings, harvesting and, in ROAM style, many incredible dining experiences. For those feeling even more adventurous, there’s a 6 day/5-night extension into more remote parts of the desert and salt flats. Let us also say, this is not your typical holiday. This trip will be spontaneous, intimate, challenging, decadent and fun as we explore a part of Argentina few know but none ever forget once experienced.
What to Expect on the Lakes District Multi-Sport
Day 1: Arrive Salta – check into hotel and explore regional cuisine.
A ROAM representative will meet you at the airport and bring you to our hotel. For those arriving early, if you only hit one museum in the city, Museo Arquelogia de Alta Montana should be it. Dedicated to anthropology and preserving Andean culture, the biggest draw of the MAAM are the mummified Inca children discovered by scientists in 1999 at the Llullaillaco Volcano. The three children were perfectly preserved by icy conditions at the summit after historians believe that the Incas sacrificed them as an offering to the gods in a fertility ceremony around 1490. Their hair, clothes, and even internal organs remained intact due to the excellent preservation. Though it’s a small museum, there’s lots of artifacts and insight into Incan culture and mountain archaeology with excellent English descriptions.
Tonight, we’ll venture out for some truly regional cuisine. That includes locro (a hearty stew of meat, corn, and potatoes), humita (steamed husks filled with corn and cheese), and tamales (steamed leaves filled with corn flour, meat, and potatoes). We can find these dishes at traditional family-run restaurants, street vendors, and markets around the city. We’ll visit Mercado San Miguel where you can wander amongst the produce and meat vendors, buy artisan cheeses, nuts, and regional sweets then visit La Viejas Estación for traditional Salteño cuisine and live music.
Overnight Salta – Legado Mitico Salta Hotel Boutique
Day 2: Horseback ride, mountain bike & hike options near San Lorenzo
Today we will visit a nature reserve in the popular Villa San Lorenzo. Cooler and more humid, than Salta, it’s where the high-altitude forests (las yungas) begin. The village is also popular place for Argentine summer homes. We’ll enjoy the natural surroundings by hiking along the paths to viewpoints, going horseback riding or mountain biking, or simply enjoying some wine alongside the river and waterfall. Later we’ll stop at El Castillo de San Lorenzo, a lovely historic hotel and restaurant, for a regional meal amidst the lush surroundings. In late afternoon we’ll return to Salta for dinner and get ready for our next adventure.
Salta claims to be the birthplace of empanadas in Argentina, or at the very least, it’s rumored to have the best ones. Either way, you should definitely go on a quest to eat as many empanadas salteñas as possible while you’re here. So how are they different from typical empanadas? Salteñas are usually baked in a clay oven, they’re a bit smaller than others, and they’re usually filled with sliced beef (rather than minced) that’s mixed with things like onions, potatoes and egg. You can also find them filled with stewed chicken or cheese and onions. In Salta, they’re accompanied by a spicy tomato and pepper dip.
While Salta’s nightlife is much more laid back than the intensity of Buenos Aires, Calle Balcarce is still a fun place to have a great dinner, drinks at a bar or two, and then make your way to a discotheque for some dancing… but not until around 1 AM of course.
Overnight Salta – Legado Mitico Salta Hotel Boutique
Day 3: Calchaqui Valley and Juramento River, enroute to Cafayate
Today we’ll depart Salta and head towards Cafayate. Along the way we’ll stop to river raft the Juramento River through steep canyons and class II and III rapids. The rapids form below the Cabra Corral Dam where there’s a reservoir created by several rivers in the Calchaquí Valley. If time permits, we might hike down the trails surrounding the reservoir to look for dinosaur footprints and ancient rock paintings. Tonight, we’ll overnight in Cafayate at Patios de Cafayate Wine Hotel. Situated next to a winery this 32 room, upscale and antique-laden hotel delivers wine-fueled R&R, whether you’re sipping vino poolside or indulging in the complimentary sparkling wine served each afternoon.
Day 4: Visit the museum, explore local wineries by foot
For education about the wine region, the Museo de la Vid y el vino (Museum of Vine and Wine) offers a multimedia-driven exhibit on area wine growing and winemaking history and traditions. The first part of the museum deals with the life of the grapevines and viticulture using a series of images and poems. The second section teaches visitors about the winemaking process and displays some of the equipment used by producers. You’ll want to visit before you hit the vineyards to learn all about why the grapes grow so well in this high-altitude climate.
Most of Cafayate’s winery options are set within walking distance. Today we’ll stroll to Bodega Nanni, Bodega Domingo Hermanos, Tierra Colorado and El Porvenir de Cafayate for vineyard and cellar tours, as well as tastings of elegant local wines like malbec, tannat, and torrontés. Cafayate is renowned for the Torrontés grape which is only grown in Argentina, so we’ll be sure to try the crisp white wines it produces. For lunch, we’ll enjoy an outdoor terrace while grazing over a variety of small plates, like baked macaroni and cheese with truffle oil, beef empanadas, or bandiola, an Argentinean pork shoulder sandwich.
Overnight Patios de Cafayate Wine Hotel
Day 5: Explore outlying vineyards by bicycle (with vehicle support)
Today we’ll bike to Finca las Nubes, El Porvenir de los Andes, Amalaya, Bodega Etchart, and many more! A short bike ride north of town, Burbujas de Altura serves sparkling wine made with 100 percent torrontés. To the south, we’ll visit Bodegas Etchart, which dates back to 1850 and pours award-winning wines in a gated-off ranch setting. A 15-minute ride into the hills leads to the modern Piattelli Vineyards, where you can sit on the gorgeous open-air terrace overlooking the vineyards to taste through a variety of wines while indulging in traditional Argentinian lunch fare. Or just over a mile from the town center at Bodego El Esteco, founded in 1892, taste a range of signature local varietals at the transporting colonial-era property, set behind grand iron gates. We may tack on a meal at the on-site restaurant La Rosa, where they sometimes grill whole goats and use fresh vegetables and herbs from their garden. Or for something more casual, La Casa de las Empandas is all about—what else?—empanadas, but some of the best you’ll have. For traditional Argentinean grilled meats, we’ll visit the authentic Parrillada El Gallito for a no-frills grill to get our fill. And we’ll be sure to hit one of the heladerias (ice cream parlors) on the square for another local favorite: wine-flavored ice cream and sorbet.
Overnight Patios de Cafayate Wine Hotel
Day 6: Cascada del Rio Colorado
A great half-day hike for the adventurous minded, we have a choice to cycle or drive out to the trailhead where we’ll start this trek up to several beautiful waterfalls. An enjoyable but challenging trek, this route requires river crossings, some scrambling and lots of adventurous obstacles along the way. The entire trail will lead you to 7 waterfalls, so bring your bathing suit to take a dip and cool off.
Next, the Quebrada de las Conchas is home to some of North Argentina’s most mesmerizing landscapes, famous for its jagged rock formations and dramatic multi-colored cliffs. Today’s hike will take you to all the most memorable viewpoints, including the Garganta del Diablo, the Amphitheatre, Los Castillos, La Punilla, and La Yesera.
Overnight Grace Cafayate – This luxurious resort consists of a hotel with 12 rooms, as well as 20 private villas, which look over surrounding vineyards. On the grounds, you can visit the spa, play a round of golf, or ride horses through the valley setting, overlooking the Andes.
Day 7: Wine Harvest
Today we will participate in the grape harvest and have a gourmet lunch at Desafio Vineyards.
This will be the highlight of the trip with many surprises. Diego says it best…
“At the heart of Valsecchi Wines, our commitment is to handcraft wines that express the true soul of the vineyard, producing the finest wine the vine can inspire. We apply biodynamic principles, working harmoniously with nature’s energy and the rhythm of our cosmos. We place utmost value in environmentally-friendly, low-impact practices.”
Wine Art is the expression of Diego’s winemaking philosophy. This starts with the accurate timing of hand-harvesting the grapes, where the soul of the wine appears. Part of that soul is derived from the synergy of family and friends who dedicate themselves to the harvest each year. Their contributions bring the most amazing energy to the wines. Respect for the grapes by not compromising quality for quantity infuses this soul.
“Making wine is my offering to everyone. It is my art, it is how I translate this inspiration through my hands” as expressed by the founder, Diego Valsecchi. “Bringing forth the soul of the wines is the challenge we remain committed to, our Desafío”.
Overnight Grace Cafayate
Day 8: Day in the desert – National Park Los Cardones
For those who are leaving us today, we’ll take scenic drive back to Salta via Cachi. This is a great adventure to finish the trip as it takes up to see what the vast expanses of salt flats and winds through Parque Los Cardones. We’ll see where salt is mined from a dried lake while you take those obligatory perspective photos on gleaming, high-altitude flats. We’ll arrive into Salta in the late afternoon for flights homeward.
$4995 USD per person based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1000