Jujuy & Humahuaca
Jujuy: Argentinian Timelessness
Jujuy is Argentina’s northernmost province, sharing a rugged border with Bolivia.
This region moves at its own pace: visitors often comment on the area’s timelessness.
Days slip by, adobe villages bake beneath multihued cliffs, fuzzy llamas wander the foothills, and villagers seek shade under towering cacti.
Quebrada de Humahuaca
North of the provincial capital, the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca Canyon) unfolds to reveal a string of indigenous towns, each with a breathtaking sandstone backdrop.
The Hill of Seven Colors, a geologic rainbow, rises behind the town of Purmamarca.
The exposed sedimentary layers range in color from purple and green to yellow and red.
The diverse variety of colors continues in nearby Tilcara, Uquia, and Maimara. Outside Tilcara, a restored Inca fortress (known as a pucara) crowns a hilltop, offering panoramic views of the canyon.
In the whitewashed town of Humahuaca, visitors are encouraged to gather in the central square, just before noon.
At midday, a clockwork saint known as San Francisco Solano appears from the church tower, mechanically blessing the multitude below.
In Humahuaca and many other canyon towns, most local commerce takes the form of craft markets.
Local artisans assemble in shaded town squares to offer:
- Hand-Woven Tapestries
- Delicate Pottery
- Animals Carved From Quebracho and palo santo wood
Located at 11,300 feet above sea level, about 70 miles / one hour west of the canyon town of Purmamarca, this plain is devoid of plants and surrounded by even higher, multi-hued peaks.
Summer rains and the resulting mineral runoff replenish the salts, creating a mirror effect similar to that of Bolivia’s Uyuni.
Jujuy can be visited year-round, although the summer months (November through March) experience highs above 95° and occasional rain.
Temperatures can vary significantly with altitude and cloud cover. Flights from Buenos Aires arrive daily in Jujuy and Salta.
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“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”