Northern Argentina Bike Tour

The Salta Region from $4856 NZD
10 Days
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Welcome to the amazing Salta region in northern Argentina! Experience the canyons, colonial towns, Incan ruins, rainbow hills, wildlife and wineries of the magical north-west. Ride over high alpine passes to the edge of the Altiplano — one of the world’s highest inhabited mountain plateaus.

This tour has been designed to suit both leisurely and more experienced riders. Those preferring a more relaxed pace can choose shorter distances on mainly flat (or downhill) terrain, while others have the option of longer and more challenging rides.

The road surface will be approximately 75% on quiet asphalt roads and 25% hard-packed gravel roads (sometimes corrugated). The most suitable bike for this tour is a mountain bike due to the mixture of riding surfaces.

You’ll stay in small hotels, lodges, cabañas and family-run hospedajes (South American bed and breakfasts), each chosen for its location, hospitality and local flavour.

This tour is well-paced, allowing you time to absorb the stunning scenery, meet the people and understand their unique way of life.

Salta to Jujuy

  • Lifestyle
  • Grade
  • Tour price: minimum group size of 4
  • Lower tour price for group size of 10+
  • Single room surcharge on request
  • Mountain bike hire US$300
  • Book the scheduled dates or choose your own
  • Riding is NOT technical
  • Choose to ride shorter or longer distances as preferred
  • This tour is Invoiced in USD
The route is 75% on quiet asphalt roads & 25% on gravel roads. You'll stay in small hotels, lodges, cabañas and family run hospedajes (South American bed and breakfasts), chosen for their location and hospitality.

Full Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrival Day: Salta

No riding

Welcome to Salta, north-west Argentina’s largest city! We’ll meet you at the airport and transfer you to your comfortable and centrally located hotel. Vibrant Salta at the foot of the Andes is unusual for its colourful colonial architecture. It’s known for shopping, museums and Andean cuisine: quinoa, barbeques, dulce la leche, and of course, beer and wine. Salta also claims to be the home of the empanada – they’re everywhere! While there’s plenty to do in the town itself, Salta is a great starting point for further travel throughout the highlands. Tonight during dinner get to know your tour guide(s), support driver, and fellow travelling companions. We’re riding tomorrow, but you may wish to stay out a while to enjoy some gaucho-style music and Argentinian beer… Salta has excellent nightlife.

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2

Salta to Cachi

57 km asphalt road

We’ll start the day with a transfer to Piedra del Molino at 3400m asl. It is a Millstone, with its lonely stone chapel at 3348 m asl, where we are rewarded with amazing views. Our first ride is a descent down Route 33 and through the arid and colourful Cardónes National Park, named for the huge cardón cacti growing there. Dinosaurs once roamed in this timeless place — today though, there are hundreds of animal and bird species. We finish today’s ride after another 20 km to Cachi. This beautiful and remote town on the very edge of the Altiplano was an important outpost during Spanish colonial times. These days its historical buildings are lit up at night.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3

Cachi to Molinos

49 km shingle road

Today we traverse a surprising landscape of red, dry mountains surrounded by cardón cacti. We ride from Cachi towards Molinos, passing through the artisanal road until we reach the charming and peaceful Seclantás. The town is the spiritual home of the Salta poncho. There are many weaver’s workshops in town and along the eastern branch of the road to Cachi (dubbed the 'Ruta de los Artesanos'). We will stop at some home studios and browse their wares. In the afternoon we take a backroad through an enchanting landscape before arriving in Molinos, a small town which dates back to the 17th century. Tonight we’ll stay at the Hacienda de Molinos, a restored country manor on the Calchaqui River bank — now a boutique hotel. Molinos is named for its flour mills, and the Hacienda features bread and empanadas baked in a mud oven, colonial-style.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4

Molinos to Angastaco

approx 62 km

We continue south to the pretty town of Angastaco (pop. 900), with its church and central square. On the outskirts are vineyards, aniseed and cumin fields, as well as the Angastaco Natural Monument with its bizarre, but beautiful rock formations. A unique wine tasting experience awaits us at Estancia Colome, one of the worlds highest vineyards. Now on our bikes its a 12km climb (400m) followed by a 20km descent. After our ride we’ll dust off at a traditional Farmhouse. Finca El Carmen, just outside Angastaco, has adobe walls and gabled rooves, a pool, an excellent restaurant and panoramic valley views.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5

Angastaco to Cafayate

approx 74 km

We’re off to a great start as we ride through the Quebrada de las Flechas (the Canyon of Arrows), one of the most amazing sites in the Argentine north-west. It’s named for the arrowhead-shaped points of the sharply eroded rocks and cliffs. With the high Andes in the distance, it’s an almost surreal landscape. After 24 km of great riding, we’ll load our bikes and drive into the town of San Carlos for lunch. From here, there are paved roads to the desert oasis of Cafayate (1600m asl), famed for its high-altitude vineyards. This town is another trip highlight. You’ll be made to feel at home by the friendly locals who still live and breathe north-west tradition and culture.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6

Cafayate - Rest Day

No riding

Cafayate is made for relaxing, with its beautiful mountain views and good shopping (food, pottery, textiles, and silver). It’s also a world-famous wine destination, particularly for Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Torrontés (an aromatic white wine). Also of note: Tannat and dry Rosé. Cafayate is Argentina’s second largest wine-growing area as its fine red soil, dry climate and warm temperatures are ideal for vineyards. This morning, take a leisurely break and explore the scenic village in your own time. This afternoon you’ll be treated to a premium wine degustation at Finca Las Nubes (“Farm of the Clouds”) — an organic boutique winery. Here you’ll taste a range of local cheeses and premium aged wines. From the winery there are magnificent views of the estancia (estate) and back towards Cafayate. A tip from seasoned Cafayate travellers: stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water as you enjoy your wine!! This part of Argentina is very warm and dry. Tomorrow, it’s back onto our bikes!

Meals: Breakfast, Wine tasting

DAY 7

Cafayate to Salta

approx 50 km

We have a long day ahead so we’ll need an early start. We ride to Garganta del Diablo (“The Devil’s Throat”), located on the outskirts of Cafayate. This magical canyon has enchanting landscapes of strange rock formations and eroded slopes, exposing innumerable bands of colours. Similar to the US Western deserts, many of the rock formations change colour as the sun arches over and behind the canyon. In the afternoon we’ll all drive back to Salta - a wonderful city for strolling and exploring at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8

Salta to Purmamarca

42 km (rainforest ride)

We’ll drive to La Caldera on Old Road 9 and then bike through the exuberant sub-tropical rainforest, a truly amazing setting and a great contrast to the scenery to come. The narrow, winding road takes 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 Ciénaga, where we’ll load the bikes and shuttle to Purmamarca. This enchanting town marks the entrance to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, and it makes you feel as if you’re taking a step back in time. The locals are descendants of the Incas, whose great empire reached Northwest Argentina.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9

Purmamarca (round trip to the Salt Flats)

approx 64 km

This morning, we’ll drive to the highest point in the area (4100 m asl). Then it’s a great 29 km snaking descent to the vast ‘Great Salt Flats’ or Salinas Grandes at 3450 m asl. These flats are a dazzling expanse of white, broken by mountains in the distance, azure pools, buildings made of salt, and salty statues of cacti and llamas. After an unforgettable ride across the salt plain, you can be dropped off again at the top of the pass to freewheel down the other way to our accommodation. What a way to finish the day. As well as salt, this area also produces lithium and potassium. On the way back to our colourful base in Purmamarca, we can visit a salt production facility in a local community.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10

Departure from Purmamarca

No riding

Our unforgettable mountain biking tour comes to an end today! After breakfast, we’ll transfer you to Jujuy Airport, which takes one hour. Then it’s time to say goodbye! For those wanting to extend their stay in Jujuy, it’s a likeable city of around 240,000 people with a humid sub-tropical climate and an indigenous vibe. We look forward to seeing you again!

Meals: Breakfast

Tour Inclusions and Exclusions:

Tour Includes:

  • Accommodation in 3* to 5* hotels
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Airport transfers (day 1) from Salta Airport and (day 10) to Jujuy Airport
  • Local English speaking guide(s)
  • Support vehicle and driver
  • Cycling guide(s) - numbers depending on group size
  • Drinking water while cycling
  • Two wine tasting experiences

Tour Excludes:

  • International and domestic flights & taxes
  • Passport and/or Travel visas
  • Single room surcharge
  • Bike hire (available at extra cost)
  • Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Optional trips and sightseeing tours
  • Pre and post tour nights
  • Entrance fees for sights unless specified
  • Personal expenses and drinks
  • Tips to guide(s) and support crew

Tour Video

Mountain biking tours off the beaten track in New Zealand, Tanzania, Mongolia, Tibet, Vietnam and Argentina. This movie gives an overview of what you can expect on a Global Adventure Guide mountain biking tour. Here we are riding the Purmamarca Salt Lakes in Argentina.