Northwest Argentina

Bike Packing Tour inspired by Years of Experience

Rick and Tanya McFerrin will guide the 14-day bicycle tour of northwestern Argentina. Beginning in the city of Salta, Argentina’s most stunning colonial city you will cycle on lesser-traveled roads winding through canyons, a cluster of vineyards, Andes mountain landscapes, and wild rivers.

Discover Argentina

Contact Rick McFerrin at  rick@onavelo.com for more details. 

Group size limited to 8. 

Trip Essentials

Day-to-Day Itinerary

The adventure begins just by traveling to the city of Salta, Argentina.  Most flights are routed through Buenos Aires, but in recent years, there have been other more direct flights into Salta from major airports in South America. We have been booking travel to Argentina for many years and can help coordinate your flights.

The trip starts in Salta and ends in San Miguel de Tucuman. Depending on your timing, you may want to visit Buenos Aires or other parts of Argentina or South America before or after the scheduled bike trip. We can give you some suggested places to visit and help with your plans.

​We will meet in Salta, Argentina (SLA) on Sunday. Plan to arrive by mid-afternoon on Sunday.  If you are arriving in Salta before the trip start date and would like us to coordinate a place for you to stay in Salta (at your own expense) let us know.

We will have two nights in Salta. This will give you time on Monday to recover from the flight and get acclimated to Argentina. Our first day on the bikes is Tuesday.

Notes

  • We can help coordinate your travel plans
  • The group meeting point in Salta will be detailed in your trip registration package
  • Pre-trip information sessions will be scheduled prior to your departure
  • Lodging:  2 nights. We are staying the first two nights in Salta. After a long day of travel, you can enjoy a shower, food, and refreshments
  • Meal included: Group dinner at a restaurant in Salta
  • Snacks and meals in transit to Salta are at your own expense
  • Private rooms available for an additional cost
  • Wifi | Pool | Lounge

We will spend the first part of the day getting your bike and gear set up and fitted for the trip. In the afternoon there will be time for sightseeing in Salta. Salta is the capital city of the province. It is situated in one of the most fertile and scenic areas of this region. The Colonial architecture of the city is some of the best in the country.

Notes

  • We will provide you with pannier bags once you get to Salta. 
  • There is no support vehicle on this trip. However, if you have things you want for your travels after the bike trip, you can leave a bag in Salta with our local guide and he will bring it to Tucuman for the end of the trip.
  • Lodging: Hotel
  • Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel and a group dinner in Salta
  • Lunch on your own at your own expense
  • Private rooms (limited) available for an additional cost
  • Wifi | Pool | Lounge

The route out of Salta is on highway 68 through beautiful countryside and small traditional villages with colonial main squares. We will stay at a B&B near the town of Colonel Moldes. We can relax in the hammocks or poolside at the end of our first-day riding. 

​Notes

  • Lodging: La Posada de Juan, Dique Cabra Corral – 1 night
  • Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel in Salta, a picnic lunch or empanadas, tomales and humitas at a resturant on the route, and a traditional Argentine asado (BBQ) group dinner at La Posada de Juan
  • Private rooms available for an additional cost
  • Wifi | Pool | Lounge

The biking route on this day will be gradually climbing with rolling hills. It will be a shorter day than the first and we will arrive at our destination by early-afternoon. The road will be fairly quiet today as we head toward the Quebrada de Conches. The scenery includes tall mountains to our west, desert like landscapes with cactus and blue sky and small towns and villages along the route.  At the end of the day, there will be an optional ride to the town of Alemania. Alemania is an artisan village in an abandoned railroad town along the river. We will stay in rustic cabins at an artisan cheese farm where you can taste homemade cheese, desserts, and local wines. 

​Notes

  • Lodging: Posta De Las Cabras – 1 night. Shared rooms in four cabins on the property. Note: this property is a bit rustic and the cabins may feel a bit like roughing it due to limited water supply and maintenance related issues out of our control. 
  • Meals included: Breakfast at La Posada de Juan, for lunch a charcuterie board when we arrive at our destination with homemade cheese, salami and other regional foods, and a group dinner at Posta De Las Cabras
  • Wifi (limited)| Lounge

Bike from Alemania to Cafayate. Wake up and watch the sun light up the mountain sides before reaching the river valley. We will get on the road early to start the gradual climb through the Quebrada de las Conchas. This is a spectacular ride through some of the country’s most impressive rock formations with layers of stunning colors and unusual shapes creating a visual feast along this winding route. The small town of Cafayate is our destination. The town, located in the center of the Calchaquí Valleys, is surrounded by rivers, sand dunes and vineyards.

Notes

  • Lodging: Hotel
  • Meals included: Breakfast at Posta De Las Cabras, a picnic lunch along the route, group dinner at a restaurant in Cafayate
  • Pool | Lounge | WiFi

Enjoy the day off the bikes. Spend the day exploring Cafayate. Check out Cafayate and local attractions: wineries, shopping, artisans, golf or waterfall hiking.

​Notes

  • Lodging: Hotel
  • Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
  • Lunch and dinner on your own at your own expense
  • Pool | Lounge | WiFi

It is a very pleasant ride from Cafayate to Albarossa Winery especially after a rest day. Along the way, there will be an option to visit the ruins of Quilmes, archaeological site in the Calchaquí Valley. The site was the largest pre-Columbian settlement in the country, occupying about 30 hectares. The area dates back to ca 850 AD and was inhabited by the Quilmes people; it is believed that about 5,000 people lived here during its heights. The 10km road to and back from the the Quilmes ruins is gravel with sand and rocks. 

Notes

  • Lodging: Albarossa Winery – 2 nights
  • Meals included: Breakfast at El hotel, a picnic lunch along the route, and a group dinner at Albarossa Winery
  • Pool | Lounge | WiFi

One of our local guides has a small winery and farm not far from the Albarossa Winery. We take a day trip to visit Santiago’s farm and vineyard. Santiago will lead us on a hike to explore his land and potentially to some indeginous ruins in the area. We will return mid-afternoon for another evening at Albarossa. 

Notes

  • Lodging: Albarossa Winery
  • Meals included: Breakfast at the winery, lunch at the farm visit, and a group dinner at the winery. Please note, if you do not do the ride to the farm visit, lunch will be on your own at your own expense
  • Pool | Lounge | WiFi

Today we will be the first day of the slow accent up toward the summit of Infernillo. Before lunch we will visit the Pachamama Museum in Amaicha de Valle. This is a monumental stone project that houses geology, anthropology and art exhibits.

Amaiche del Valle is one of the oldest indigenous communities in Northwestern Argentina. Today, its residents devote themselves both to ancient activities that were handed down from generation to generation that have bonded them to the land and to develop products like pottery, looms, wine, cheese and alfajores.

Lunch will be in Amaicha at a restuarant. From Amaicha de Valle it is a steady 6km climb on a paved road and then 4km of rough road with gravel and sand to get to where we are staying at Calchaqui Natural. 

For dinner we will enjoy a traditional Argentine BBQ.

Notes

  • Lodging:  Calchaqui Natural, off-grid, solar powered retreat with rooms and yurts – 2 nights
  • Meals included: Breakfast at Albarossa, lunch at a restaurant in Amaiche del Valle, and a group dinner at Calchaqui Natural
  • Wifi (limited)

We are taking an extra day at Calchaqui Natural to relax or go on backcountry hikes in the mountains to explore the natural landscape of this mountain retreat. 

Notes

  • Lodging:  Calchaqui Natural, off-grid, solar powered retreat with rooms and yurts
  • Meals included: Breakfast and lunch at Salas and a group dinner at Calchaqui Natural
  • Snacks on your own at your own expense
  • Wifi (limited)

The first part of the day will be climbing to the summit at 3,040 m (10,000 feet). Because the pass is surrounded by mountains, the pass looks deceivingly low. It is not all up hill as there are a few spots where the road descends and then climbs again. We will arrive in Tafí de Valle by mid-afternoon. Our host will have a charcuterie board and snacks ready for us when we arrive. We will stay at the Casa Molino home stay as guests of a local friend and pasta maker. 

​Notes

  • Lodging: Casa Molino home-stay – 2 nights 
  • Meals included: Breakfast at Calchaqui Natural, a picnic lunch or snacks along the route, and a group dinner at Casa Molino.
  • Private rooms available in town at your own expense if desired
  • WiFi

This lovely hill town, set in a green valley with fabulous vistas of the surrounding mountains, is where people from Tucumán traditionally head to take refuge from the summer heat. Tafí makes a fine spot to hang out for a rest day; it offers crisp mountain air, hiking options, memorable estancias, and a laid-back scene. There are many options for you to relax or go fishing, horseback riding, visit a cheese farm or explore on your own.

​Notes

  • Lodging: Casa Molino home-stay
  • Meals included: self-serve breakfast at Casa Molino
  • Lunch and dinner on your own at your own expense
  • Private rooms available at your own in expense in town if desired
  • WiFi

Bike from Tafí del Valle to Yerba Buena. This is one of the most incredible downhill rides (about 55km / 34mi of downhill). We will descend from Tafí del Valle into the lush, low-lying areas near the City of San Miguel de Tucuman. The landscape will change from high alpine desert to lush green, forested areas. This will be our longest day of riding but well worth the effort. We will pass by some sugar cane processing plants, lemon orchards and other farms. We will travel on a quiet road that skirts the base of the mountain range we descended the day before. Tonight we will stay in Yerba Buena at a guest house owned by an adventure cyclist who biked the world for more than four years. It will be one of our last nights in Argentina so we will probably want to go out to eat and enjoy the Argentine cuisine.

Notes

  • Lodging: Casa Calchaqui, Yerba Buena, San Miguel de Tucuman
  • Meals included: Self-serve breakfast at Casa Molino, lunch at a restaurant along the route in Familia , and a group dinner at a restaurant in Yerba Buena
  • Lounge | WiFi | Small pool

For some of the group, this will be their departure day back home. Others will stay in Argentina for a few more days or weeks. Rick and our local hosts can help you with additional travel plans to Buenos Aires or other places of interest.

Notes

  • Meal included: Breakfast at Casa Calchaqui
  • We can help coordinate your travel plans
Tanya & Rick McFerrin

Travel with a Team of Local Friends and Expert Guides

This trip is all about meaningful connections that have been built over the past 25 years by Rick and Tanya McFerrin. They were initially drawn to northern Argentina when visiting there on a 2-year bike trip around the world from 1998-2000. Soon after their return home, they started leading bike tours in Argentina with small groups. Over the years they have worked with locals to create meaningful experiences and connections for an amazing adventure. Rick has been leading this trip almost every year since 2003 and has said it is one of his favorite places to travel by bicycle – great riding, wonderful people, awesome food and wine, and beautiful landscapes. It is incredible. Join the ride!

This trip is slotted somewhere between the extremes of do-it-yourself bike packing and a high-end, supported bike touring adventure. 

Local friends in Argentina and expert guides will take care of all the details including the bicycles and gear, guides and safety, local activities, route planning, food and snacks, accommodations as well as helping you with getting to and from the destination. For many people, this will be their first bike travel experience. These bike packing tours are designed for people who are relatively fit and enjoy an active travel adventure.

Great People. Amazing Experiences.

REGISTER ONLINE or contact us to learn more about an OnaVelo Bike Packing Tour

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