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Guided Cycling Tour in Argentina

A bike journey packed with highlights, through a region that can truly be called magical! You will climb above high mountain passes, reaching the very edge of the great Altiplano (the highest inhabited mountain plateau in the world, after the Tibetan highlands). The Calchaqui Valleys don´t cease to surprise, with amazing desert landscapes, wonderful colonial towns, malbec vineyards and a people marked by an ancient indigenous culture mixed with colonial Spanish heritage.

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Starts in: Salta
  • Ends in: Salta
  • Total Distance: 316.5 kms / 197 miles
  • Type of bike: Mountain bike (not included in the price)

Highlights

  • 6 ridings days
  • Support vehicle equipped
  • Mountain bike transportation during the extent of the tour
  • Mechanical assistance and 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)
  • 7 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

6 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: French, Portuguese, Spanish
Group size: 12-21 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
14:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

On this tour you will be staying in excellent hotels in the region. In Molinos you will be at Hacienda de Molinos, a fabulous ranch from the late 1700s that belonged to the last royalist governor of the province.

Finca del Carmen will be another wonderful place, surrounded by majestic landscapes and full of history.

Program

About the Experience

The Calchaquies Valleys bike tour in Northwest Argentina is packed with highlights. This region can truly be called magical.

You will climb above high mountain passes, reaching the very edge of the great Altiplano. This is the highest inhabited mountain plateau in the world, after the Tibetan highlands. The Calchaquies Valleys don’t cease to surprise with its amazing desert landscapes and wonderful colonial towns. Local people come from ancient indigenous cultures mixed with colonial Spanish heritage. They always transmit peace and calm. A fantastic way to delve deeply into Salta, a region that is fast becoming a world-class destination.

The tour will take you to Cachi, Molinos, Finca del Carmen and beautifil Cafayate. Riding to Colome is something special to mention! Winetasting and enjoying lunch surrounded by beautiful vineyards is a special time in this tour. Come experience the magical Northwest with us!

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1 (Saturday): Welcome to Salta

The group will rendezvous in Salta this evening, transferring to the town of Chicoana. You will be lodged at a beautiful hotel in town.

Day 2 (Sunday): Down the Bishop´s Slope and into the Andean Plateau

  • Distance: 50 kms / 31 miles of dirt roads (optional to ride 13 more miles)
  • Elevation: 230 meters / 755 feet uphill + 1390 meters / 4560 feet downhill

After their detailed welcome and safety talk, you start the tour with one of the trip’s highlights! Leaving on their comfortable van, you will 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. You keep climbing the famous “Cuesta del Obispo” (the Bishop´s Slope), an amazing climb that seems to never end. You will reach “Piedra del Molino” (the Millstone), which lies at 3,348 ms above seal level (10,980 ft). After being amazed by the views atop, you will get on your bikes and descend over the wonderful “Camino de los Colorados” (the Red Road), the name coming from the eroded slopes surrounding us, exposing all shades of red – a fantastic sight.

You will also cycle through the Cardones National Park named after the huge cactus that grows everywhere and that is protected here. You will arrive in Cachi tonight, sleeping in a cozy hosteria.

Day 3 (Monday): Cachi to Molinos

  • Distance: 49 kms / 30.5 miles
  • Elevation: 1047 meters / 3400 ft uphill + 1448 meters / 4750 feet downhill

After a hearty breakfast, you will head to one of the most surprising places of the journey, landing in the middle of red, dry mountains, surrounded by the incredible cardón cactus (a relative of the saguaro).

At Laguna Brealito you will have your lunch. This scenic and rocky path will offer a challenging ride, with plenty of climbing and descending. In the afternoon, you will ride over another isolated backroad, used only by the few locals existing in the region.

The enchanting landscapes you will cross are well worth the challenging ride. Tonight you will be lodged at the Hacienda de Molinos, a restored country manor set in a fantastic location.

Day 4 (Tuesday): The path of the artisans

  • Distance: 60.5 kms / 37 miles
  • Elevation: 537 meters / 1761 feet uphill + 537 meters / 1761 feet downhill

Today's program begins and ends in Molinos. You leave by bicycle along the mythical route 40 in a northerly direction and in an upward trend accompanying the west bank of the Calchaquí River. At nineteen kilometers you pass through Seclantas, and continue until you reach "El Colte". There you change direction, stop pedaling uphill and enter the "Camino de los Artesanos", a route where artisan stalls from the region is concentrated, and who make everything from woolen fabrics and traditional ponchos to ceramics, basketry and leather objects.

Each stop offers a taste of local talent and creativity. The tour allows you to enter the towns and communities where artisans develop their skills transmitted from generation to generation, providing the opportunity to appreciate the creative process and acquire authentic pieces. In Seclantas you will have your lunch. In the afternoon you pedal towards Molinos along a very entertaining path, with a slight downward trend.

Day 5 (Wednesday): The Calchaqui Valleys

  • Distance: 34 kms / 21 miles of dirt roads
  • Elevation: 330 meters / 1080 feet uphill + 440 meters / 1144 feet downhill

The small town of Molinos dates from the 17th century, and after a bit of exploring, we’ll begin pedaling on the famous Route 40, which stretches the length of Argentina along the spine of the Andes, from the border with Bolivia down to Ushuaia, on the southern edge of the continent.

You will follow the Calchaquí River Valley, a fertile region settled since pre-historic times. You will pass few small towns, and arrive in Finca del Carmen, near Angastaco, with lively regional arquitecture and plenty of traditional culture. The silence of the Valley and the scenery surrounding you will keep you awed throughout the journey. Tonight you will rest at Finca del Carmen.

Day 6 (Thursday): Through the Quebrada de las Flechas into colonial Cafayate

  • Distance: 58 kms / 36 miles of dirt roads
  • Elevation: 530 meters / 1739 feet uphill + 630 meters / 2067 feet downhill

Today, you will enter the amazing Quebrada de las Flechas (The Canyon of Arrows), one of the most amazing sites in the Argentine Northwest. The eroded cliffs and slopes, with the high Andes off in the distance; create an almost surreal landscape, dazzling all that come through here.

After 31 km of riding, you will stop for lunch, and load your bikes to drive into the town of San Carlos. From this town, you will again ride but over a paved road, eventually nearing the desert oasis of Cafayate, famous for its high altitude vineyards. The town of Cafayate is another trip highlight – you’ll be made to feel at home by its friendly inhabitants, who still live and breathe Northwest tradition and culture.

Day 7 (Friday): The Quebrada de las Conchas

  • Distance: 65 kms / 40.39 miles of dirt roads
  • Elevation: 330 meters / 1083 feet uphill + 630 meters / 2067 feet downhill

You will depart in their van from Cafayate and cycle through the Quebrada de las Conchas, another magical canyon offering enchanting landscapes of strange rock formations and eroded slopes exposing innumerable bands of colors.

Similar to the US Western deserts, there are many rock formations to discover, and the colors will change as the sun arches over and behind the canyon. To add to this wonder, the last ride of the tour is entirely paved, allowing for a day of tranquil riding.

You will return to Cafayate in the afternoon, a wonderful town for strolling and enjoying the evening.

Day 8 (Saturday): The Ruins of Quilmes

After a scenic, short drive you will arrive in the amazing Quilmes Ruins, set on the slopes of the namesake Sierras. This indigenous fortress is truly surprising – the Quilmes Indians resisted the Inca and Spanish invaders here for many years. Only when their sources of food and water were cut off did they end their resistance.

After exploring this amazing site, you will shuttle a bit further, to the top of the Cuesta del Infiernillo (the Hell’s Pass), at 3,200 ms, from where you will drive down to Tafi del Valle. This is the mountain pass where the first Spanish conquistadores to arrive in Argentina came through. The views on the way down towards Tafi Valley are wonderful.

After lunch in Tafi you will drive through the amazing sub-tropical rainforest set below the Altiplano – another highlight of the trip!

The tour ends in Salta.

Location

Salta Province

This cycling tour will take place in Salta Province.

Fantastic mountain bike tour in Salta in north Argentina, from colonial Cachi to the vineyards of Cafayate, through Colome, Molinos and San Carlos.

You will be arriving to Salta, and departing from San Miguel de Tucumán.

About the City of Salta

Salta is the provincial capital of Salta province in the mountainous northwest of Argentina. It was founded in 1582 and is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and Andean heritage.

The city is centered on the elegant Plaza 9 de Julio, surrounded by cafes, around which are located the Salta Cathedral and El Cabildo, an 18th century town hall transformed into a museum. Nearby is the Museum of High Mountain Archeology (MAAM), which houses Inca artifacts and mummies.

Food

At their picnics MTB Tours Argentina includes empanadas, sandwiches, salads, vegetable and ham and cheese pies.

At their refilling stops they include coffee, tea, water, isotonic powder, fruits, dry fruits, granola bars and brownies.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Pescatarian
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 19-person exclusive van
  • 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
  • Mechanical assistance and spare bike available (in case your breaks down)
  • Bilingual Tour Leaders, equipped with two-way radios, and local guides
  • Entry fees to Quilmes Ruins
  • Medical Insurance
  • 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
  • All breakfasts and lunches (dinners and meals while on transit not included)
  • 7 nights accommodations included, using hotels and hosterias (inns) (double and triple occupancy)

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Transfers not detailed in the tour program
  • Meals not detailed in the program
  • Drinks, alcohol drinks
  • Bike parts
  • Phone calls, laundry expenses, and personal expenses
  • MTB rental

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 12 participants

Availability

Arrival: Saturday October 12, 2024
Departure: Saturday October 19, 2024

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