FROM THE ALTIPLANO TO THE JUNGLE

An amazing journey from the Andean highlands down to the jungles of Northern Argentina.

This wonderful introduction to the Andean Altiplano, or Puna, as the vast region below the High Andes in Argentina is known, centers around the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca Canyon), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most amazing places of the Altiplano. The southern reaches of the Inca Trail once ran through here, later becoming part of the Spanish Royal Road that stretched from Peru down to Buenos Aires in colonial times. You´ll intimately explore towns like Purmamarca and Iruya, with its traditional narrow, cobble-stoned streets and adobe homes, still inhabited by the descendants of the once-mighty Inca.

Below the Puna lie the Yungas, a long, thin belt of sub-tropical jungle coming north from Bolivia, fed by the waters of the High Andes. Lush, green rainforests with incredible varieties of plants and amazing birdlife. The contrast from the arid desert landscapes above add much impact to this beautiful scenery.

The region also provides an incredible setting for mountain biking, a marvelous way to deeply experience this amazing destination. Another opportunity to live our amazing country with great mountain biking, only as Dirty Bikes knows how to do!

Guests starting with us in Buenos Aires will depart in our van on Friday afternoon en route to Salta (flight to, and accommodations in Buenos Aires are not included in tour price). The shuttle from Buenos Aires to Salta takes 20 hours, arriving on Saturday.

If you choose to fly to Salta, we will meet you there on Saturday.

Difficulty Level: advanced

DURATION

9 days, 8 nights

PRICE

to be announced

TRIP

Trip begins in: Salta, Argentina
Trip ends in: Salta, Argentina

FLIGHTS

Flight-in city: Salta, Argentina
Flight-out city: Salta or Jujuy, Argentina

Please ask us about prices for private groups.
Spaces are reserved in order of arrival. To reserve your place, please complete the contact form; if you'd like to speak with us, please send the contact form, and we will gladly telephone you.

DAY TO DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1

(Saturday): Welcome to Salta

The group will rendezvous in Salta this evening, transferring to the town of Chicoana, where we´ll spend the night at Estancia Peñaflor.

DAY 2

(Sunday): Down the Bishop´s Slope and into the Andean Plateau

After our detailed welcome and safety talk, we´ll start our 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. We keep climbing the famous Cuesta del Obispo (the Bishop´s Slope), an amazing climb that seems to never finish. We´ll reach the Piedra del Molino (The Millstone), which lies at 3,348 ms above seal level (10,980 ft). After being amazed by the views atop, we´ll get on our bikes and descend on a wonderful dirt road, with the last 37 kms of newly-paved road. Night at Estancia Peñaflor.

 

Today´s activity: 
57 km (35 miles) of dirt and paved roads, with 180 ms (590 ft) of uphill riding, and 2,230 ms (7,316 ft) of downhill.

DAY 3

(Monday): Through a rainforest to the Quebrada de Humahuaca

Getting on our minibus early with the bikes loaded, we´ll drive to bordering Jujuy Province on Old Road 9. We´ll bike through the exhuberant sub-tropical rainforest, a truly amazing setting, and a great contrast to the scenery to come. The narrow, winding road will take us through thick foliage, a true rainforest, where we can spot amazing native birds. We´ll stop for lunch at the small town of La Ciénega, where we´ll load to the bikes and shuttle to Purmamarca. This enchanting town marks the entrance to the Quebrada de Humahuaca. The town itself is charming, and you´ll feel almost like you´re taking a step back in time. The locals are descendants of the Incas, whose great empire reached Northwest Argentina. Tonight we´ll sleep at the cozy Hosteria del Amauta.

 

Today´s activity: 
43 km (26 miles) of cycling, with 390 ms (1,280 ft) of uphill riding, and 610 ms (2,001 ft) of downhill.

DAY 4

(Tuesday): The Salt Flats and the high Andean Puna

After a hearty breakfast, we´ll drive up towards another trip highlight: the vast, completely white and extremely dry Salinas Grandes (Great Salt Flats), in Jujuy Province. The drive goes over the Cuesta del Lipán, bordering cliffs through a deep canyon, and reaching 4200 ms (13,779 ft), from where we´ll have an amazing view of the nearby Quebrada de Humahuaca. We´ll see guanacos and vicuñas, the wild relatives of the llama. Once over the Lipan Slope, we´ll reach the huge salt flats, and after learning from locals about the salt extraction process, we´ll have lunch together. A great downhill ride awaits us, cycling down the Cuesta de Lipán back into Purmamarca. We recommend exploring the picturesque town and visiting the market in the central plaza. Be sure to visit the viewpoint of the truly amazing Hill of Seven Colors, a nearby slope of exposed rock in all imaginable shades of reds and ocres. We´ll return to Hosteria del Amauta for a night of deserved rest.

 

Today´s activity: 
40 km (24.9 miles) of cycling, with 310 ms (1,017 ft) of uphill riding, and 2,000 ms (6,562 ft) of downhill.

DAY 5

(Wednesday): Into the Quebrada de Humahuaca

This morning we´ll begin driving from Purmamarca through the wonderful Quebrada de Humahuaca, passing through the towns of Tilcara, Tumbaya and Humahuaca. We´ll have plenty of time to take in the amazing scenery that will surround us. At Humahuaca, will detour to Iruya, driving through a dirt road taking us up to 3,900 ms of elevation, and passing through small towns like Iturbe and Chaupe Rodeo. Once reaching the highest point, at the famous Abra del Condor (the Condor´s Pass), we´ll get on our bikes and begin another great downhill ride, following a zig-zagging, narrow dirt road, crossing small farms and settlements, with ancient terraces built into the slopes. The natural scenery does not cease to amaze here – arid landscapes, huge mountains cut by deep canyons, and all imaginable colors exposed in the eroded slopes. The town of Iruya awaits us, another pre-Columbian town of narrow paved streets and adobe homes. The beautiful church in the central plaza is not to be missed here. Tonight we´ll be lodged at the Federico III, a local inn.

 

Today´s activity: 
31.5 km (19.5 miles) of cycling on dirt roads, with 420 ms (1,378 ft) of uphill riding, and 1,480 ms (4,855 ft) of downhill.

DAY 6

(Thursday): Hiking in the Altiplano

16 km (10 miles) of walking on trails, uphill on the way to, and downhill on the way back.

Day 7 (Friday): Back into the Quebrada and the Pucará ruins
We´ll drive out of Iruya on a different road, and once again reach the high pass where we´ll get on our mountain bikes, riding towards the Quebrada de Humahuaca. Another awesome zig-zagging ride from 3,900 to 3,000 ms. We´ll eventually re-route, heading to Humahuaca, where we´ll load the bikes, and after relaxing for a bit in this town, we´ll drive to nearby Tilcara. Here you´ll have a chance to explore the amazing Pucará, a pre-Columbian stone fortress, which was re-discovered in 1908, and after careful reconstruction, today it stands as it is imagined it did originally. An amazing testament to the technology of the Incan people. We´ll sleep in Tilcara, in the comfortable Malka cabins.

 

Today´s activity:
52 km (32.5 miles) of dirt roads, with 360 ms (1,181 ft) of uphill riding, and 1,350 ms (4,429 ft) of downhill.

DAY 7

(Friday): Back into the Quebrada and the Pucará ruins

We´ll drive out of Iruya on a different road, and once again reach the high pass where we´ll get on our mountain bikes, riding towards the Quebrada de Humahuaca. Another awesome zig-zagging ride from 3,900 to 3,000 ms. We´ll eventually re-route, heading to Humahuaca, where we´ll load the bikes, and after relaxing for a bit in this town, we´ll drive to nearby Tilcara. Here you´ll have a chance to explore the amazing Pucará, a pre-Columbian stone fortress, which was re-discovered in 1908, and after careful reconstruction, today it stands as it is imagined it did originally. An amazing testament to the technology of the Incan people. We´ll sleep in Tilcara, in the comfortable Malka cabins.

 

Today´s activity:
52 km (32.5 miles) of dirt roads, with 360 ms (1,181 ft) of uphill riding, and 1,350 ms (4,429 ft) of downhill.

DAY 8

(Saturday): back through the jungles, adiós in Salta

We´ll drive to Yala at the southern edge of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, leaving the Puna and re-entering the Yungas (subtropical rainforest). We´ll soon reach Los Nogales, where we´ll set up our bikes and start a challenging ride up the Lagunas de Yala park, surrounded by a lush, green forest, starkly different from the days past. We´ll eventually arrive at a wonderful complex of thermal baths, where we´ll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the week´s accomplishments. The riding ends at the incredible Termas de Reyes Hotel and Spa, a fantastic place from which to base further travel for those staying a few days more.

There is a short drive back to Salta Capital (we can also stop in Jujuy en route, from where you can fly home). Those travelling back to Buenos Aires with us will stay overnight in Salta.

 

Today´s activity: 
28 km (17.5 miles) of dirt roads, with 950 ms (3,117 ft) of uphill riding, and 610 ms (2,010 ft) of downhill.

DAY 9

(Sunday): back in Buenos Aires

We´ll arrive in Buenos Aires in the evening, after driving over paved roads the entire day.

MORE INFO

Difficulty Level: advanced
Days: 6 days of cycling, 1 day hiking
Distance per day: 50 km (31 miles) or more
Support vehicle: available throughout the tour except on the day of the hike

An advanced bike tour allows our guests to cycle at their own pace, but there will be an established minimum of 50 km per day to be covered (31 miles). You will need to be in good physical shape and have had previous experience in a challenging bike trip. You should also possess basic technical mountain bike skills, as we will cycle over dirt roads and single track trails. There will be stages with altitudes of between 2,000 and 3,000 meters above sea level (6,560-9,840 ft), as well as elevation gains of between 500 to 1,000 ms per day (1,640-3,280 ft).

What´s Included

  • 13- to 18-person van equipped with tv and video.
  • Support vehicle equipped with two-way communication radio (everyday, with on-board service, including granola bars, fruits when possible, and other snacks and drinks)
  • Mountain bike transportation during the extent of the tour
  • Spare bike available (in case your breaks down)
  • Bilingual Tour Leaders, equipped with two-way radios, and local guides
  • All breakfasts and lunches (dinners and meals while on transit not included)
  • All accommodations included, using hotels, hosterias (inns), and cabins
  • Daily Trip Information Notes, with maps, routes and detail on the region
  • Pre-trip information package with details on how to prepare, what to bring, and more detailed information

Read what past guests say about their Altiplano to the Jungle experience...

it really was beautiful, and everything went very, very well

“I really wanted to thank you for the service and the attention we had throughout the trip”

Norma Gomez, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I had a great time!

“Just wanted to say thank you fo a great week cycling”

Samantha Commons, UK