Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sun and wine in Cafayate

As great as Salta was, I was just so eager to get to Cafayate to spend some time in a quaint town and do some wine tasting  whilst basking in the sun and enjoying the glorious scenery on offer in northern Argentina.

The Cafayate church at night


We took another Flecha Bus from Salta to Cafayate at 5pm (P75, 3.5h) and noticed just how much bus prices rose as we crossed he border from Bolivia, but then again, so did the service and quality.

On our way south, we drove through Quebrada de las Conchas (Broken Shells) which had the most colourful rocks and hills you will ever see! I spent ages trying to take pictures and when the bus driver realised this, he slowed down or even stopped at all the good photo spots...and there were a lot!

That evening, we were greeted at the bus stop by a lovely woman who took us to her hostel, Backpackers Cafayate which had a small kitchen and great outdoor seating with a BBQ. We stayed there 2 nights (P50 dorm & P60 double room).

Wine and cheese
We spent the next day becoming acquainted to the small town which has to be one of my all time favourites over the last 6 months or so. It was tiny, only about 6 roads by 6 and had very few shops but it had plenty of wine! I guess that was the whole idea. The town was surrounded with vineyards (Bodega in Spanish) and wineries that were all accessible by walking or biking.

It was Sunday so most things were closed in the afternoon but we had enough time to walk to the goats cheese farm (Cabras de Cafayate) an taste a selection of goats cheese (which I hate!) along with a bottle of wine at 11 in the morning.

The cheese wasn’t great, if you are used to soft goats cheese but it was amazing sitting in the sun with a backdrop of mountains and green vineyards.

We had planned to go on a tour of Quebrada de las Conchas that afternoon but just managed to squeeze in another wine tasting session at Bodega Nanni, where we got to try some good organic wine. I think we out stayed our welcome because they were trying to close while we continued to drink. I decided I needed a wee siesta before the 6h tour began.

We took the tour with IpUna but booked it through our hostel (P90pp). The tour of the surrounding valley is a must-do if you are in Cafayate and not only if you are rock-appreciating geologists like ourselves! Colours! So many colours! It was as if someone had painted the landscape (shame I knew it as all mineral deposits but it didn’t take the beauty away.










We visited 6 valleys/ canyons, crossed a river into a gorge and climbed over rocks. The guide was a lot of fun and kept pointing out faces within the rocks...yes, thats what I meant. The best part was the valley shaped like a natural amphitheatre (amazing acoustics!) and Garganta del Diablo (Throat of the Devil).

The natural amphitheatre
The Devil's Throat
Can you spot the face in the rock?? It has its
tongue sticking out
The resemblance is uncanny
We spent the evening hunting down a place to celebrate Christmas Eve, which was the big night everyone celebrates in Argentina; Christmas Day was the too-full and hung over day. So we thought we would celebrate both! For our blog about spending Christmas in Cafayate click here.

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