Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Northwest Argentina (Resistencia, Salta, Cafayate and Cachi)

We finally left the beautiful Iguazu Falls and headed to Resistencia which we knew little about but it seemed to be a good stopping point for a few days and seemed to be a bit off the normal track for backpackers.

We took an overnight bus and arrived in Resistencia at about 6 a.m. we had planned to check into a hostel and relax after a rough night on the bus. We met up with two english backpackers who had arrived on our same bus and headed into town. The first hostel we checked out now was abandoned and now seemed to be currently poccupied with someone sleeping on the front stoop. Next on our list also turned out to be without any luck, they were booked for the night or as they say in spanish "no hay nadia". Our few days in Resistencia quickly turned into one with and it seemed that it would be spent with our new english friends Alistar and Kat. Resistencia has become famous for the many scultpures through out town. In a town with about 250,00 in habitants there are almost 500 sculptures. Most are made by Argetines local to the North. It was great to see not only the scultures but also a town that was frequented little by other backpackers (especially after Iguazu had been such a tourist destination). I very much enjoyed the town, it was great people watching as well as a nice look into rural Argentine life. That night we left on another overnight bus to Salta (which is in the northwest of Argentina).

We arrived in Salta ready to spend a few days exploring and staying in one place. We were able to meet up with our friend Fran whom we had met in Uruguay. It was good to see him as well as a new part of Argentina. Salta is absolutely lovely, it is completely surrounded by mountains. We were able to walk up one of the hills/mountains giving us great views of the city. We became a bit lazy and took the gondola down though, hey we made it up right?
View of Salta from the top of the mountain.

We spent a few more days exploring the city. Mara and I made our way to a mountain on the other side of the city hoping to be able to have a repeast performance of the view above but with no luck. The village of San Lorenzo was literally 5 shops nestled into the side of one of the mountains above. It was only 14 kilometers outside the city but worlds apart.

Once again we used couch surfing to hook up with a local and we had a great time. Daniela is a 23 year old student originally from Salta who had been living in Bolivia for the past 6 years. We all made dinner together one night and then went out to a bar named Barney after the character on the Simpsons. Another night she took us out to the bar district in Salta which is surprisingly lively for a town of about 500,000.

After a few days in Salta we decided that it was time to explore some of the nearby towns. Mara, Fran and I along with two others from our hostel rented a Fiat the size of downstairs bathroom on Linden Street (a bit of an exageration I know but it felt that small at times). On our first day with the car we drove south with the destination of Cafayate in mind. Along the way we decided to stop and check out a few things.

Mara and Leor jumping off a bridge, we think it was about 20 meters to the water. Don´t worry safety first, Mara and I jumped only after we saw Fran and Leor do it.

The ride to Cafayate was beyond amazing. This is called "Garganta del Diablo" or Devil´s Throat. The true immensity is absolutely impossible to capture via my camera. When Fran and Leor walked to the higest point possible they looked completely insignificant to the strucutre. In the U.S. there would literally be thousands of people visiting it each day, here this natural structure was only marked by paint on a rock 50 meters before the parking lot.

Our beautiful Fiat, why would anyone ever rent 5 kids a white car??

Another section of the ride to Cafayate. Cafayate is one of Argentina´s most famous wine making regions. It is also home to the world´s highest alititude winery at just under 4500 feet.

The next day on our way to Cachi. Some describe this section of terrain as looking like the moon, I am not sure if I agree but still amazing.

1 comment:

Regina J Rahill said...

NO one cares, come home! j/k we're coming to visit.