Salta: Leading the cultural renaissance sweeping through the region, Salta is a sunshine city with a central plaza playing host to a plethora of museums, art galleries and baroque style churches that would warrant more than a few days of exploration. For those on a more limited time frame, here are our top picks:
Where to Stay: El Lagar- An impressive former residence turned boutique hotel, El Lagar has lost none of its former charm, with an extensive collection of art work gracing the wood panelled drawing room and library and a large swimming pool set in a lush garden where, come sunset, the owners ply guests with wine for their own vineyard and local treats.What to Do: After soaking up the atmosphere in Plaza 9 de Juilio, head into the Museum of High-Altitude Archaeology to see the exhibition of mummified Incan children, as superbly curated and informative as it is shocking.Where to Eat: if your heart is set on diving straight into the action, head to Casa do Molino, an informal restaurant that serves killer empanadas while watching the locals perform impromptu pena shows. For a more sophisticated evening, Jose Balcare serves high class Andean specialities to go with a serious wine list.
Cachi: After the nail biting drive up the Quebrada de Escoipe and down through the valley, you arrive in Cachi, a tiny town that combines local flavour with stunning views out over the Andes.Where to stay: La Merced de Alto is a former convent turned boutique hotel perched above the town and surrounded by mimosa trees. Most of the 16 rooms have large French windows that open out onto the rolling hills and a great breakfast of the freshest home-made bread with jam and local goat’s cheese.
Molinos: Los Molinos is a former feudal hacienda transformed into a luxuruy guesthouse. Rooms are set around a cobbled courtyard scattered with dappled sunlight from the central fig tree. A haven of tranquillity, Los Molinos works as an ideal base to explore the surrounding vineyards before a late lunch at El Colome, whose exceptional Torrontes makes this our must visit winery.
Cafayate: The drive from Molinos to Cafayte snakes through gorges of otherworldly red rocks before giving out on to open plains scattered with young vineyards that run below the impressive mountains. While most wineries offer interesting options for places to stay, our pick is Vinas de Cafayte. The best rooms have large windows so you can lie in bed and watch the sun rise over the hotel’s vines directly below, and the in house restaurant really stands out.
Pumamarca: A world away from wine country and a good 200 km the other side of Salta, Pumamarca is home to the 7 coloured mountain and offers a very different view of the North West, as well as working as a good jumping off point for the nearby Salt Flats. Tucked into the base of the mountain, El Manatial de Silencio is yet another white palace of cool stone corridors and crisp Egyptian cotton, complete with swimming pool and spa. The resident masseuse Nora is a former archaeologist who has created a signature massage using essential oils that is worth the visit alone.
For help on planning your ultimate road trip around the North-West, Contact Dehouche