A Travellerspoint blog

Tilcara - Purmamarca - Salta

View High Altitude Landscapes Tour - Bolivia, Chile & Argentina 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Today we are mostly just transferring to Salta, but there are a few things to see along the way.

Maimará Town Cemetery

An unusual necropolis, spreading up a hillside, the cemetery here is famous for a festival in July every year, to commemorate the celebration in honour of Saint Anne. All kinds of food and objects are presented there at that time.


Hill of Seven Colours

Not a patch on the view at Hornocal yesterday, this colourful hillside is nevertheless pretty – and it is very much more accessible, as we can just pull in off the main road to view it.


There is a big, colourful sign here (Jujuy is the name of the district), for people to take their selfies for their Instagram stories (I love how the description for a picturesque place has now been changed to 'Instragrammable').


How the hills came to have such bright colours
Legend has it that the hills originally had no colours to them, just plain old brown and green. The children of Purmamarca, the little town at the base of the hills, were unhappy with the dullness of the mountain and decided to do something about it. For seven nights, the children would sneak out of their beds, and every morning a new colour had been added to the hills. Every year on the seventh day since, the town celebrates the children and their innovative painting.



Considered to be the most picturesque (or is that Instagrammable) village in the whole of the valley, the sleepy little town of Purmamarca has a daily handicraft market.




We take a little wander around town, to photograph the colourful wares.




Camino de Cornisa

On the road to Salta, Gastón takes an interesting route, on a narrow winding road through the Yungas Forest. The Yungas is a subtropical bioregion of a moist forest reaching from Peru to Northern Argentina along the eastern slope of the Andes.


Here it mostly takes the form of a cloud forest.



Don Sanca Restaurant, San Lorenzo

We stop for lunch in the leafy suburbs of town, in a popular restaurant set in large grounds with indoor and outdoor seating.

Gastón orders a dish of chicken topped with ham and melted cheese, I have chicken chop suey with rice, while David chooses a pork kebab.


For dessert both David and I have a pancake – David's with apple and ice cream, and mine with dulce de leche.


Yet again, we order some of the fresh lemon juice with ginger that seems to be available everywhere here in northern Argentina.


Design Suites

Situated in the centre of town, the outside of the hotel offers a few seats and a path leading past a rather odd shallow pool with water – it is not a swimming pool, nor does it have any water features, it's very simplistic and plain. The reception is open and modern, but no interesting features and the walls in the corridors are untreated concrete. Most peculiar. The room is also quite plain, apart from two very 1960s-style cow-hide chairs!



We take a little siesta and end up sleeping for five hours and missing dinner completely. I am rather concerned, and totally embarrassed when I discover a huge patch of blood on the sheets. Google reveals that post-menopausal menstrual bleeding is a known side effect of taking steroids! It is a relief, of course, but it doesn't help the discomfort and inconvenience of having a totally unexpected period! I guess I should be grateful that I am not pregnant... Ha!

The bare walls and lack of soft furnishings in the hotel mean sound travels way too well. The occupants of the room next to ours arrive back at 23:00, and while they are not purposefully loud, I can hear every word they are saying (not that I can understand it, as they are talking in Spanish). I am sure my incessant coughing disturbs them through the night too.

I have just stopped coughing and am nodding off to sleep when I am woken by a group of Americans arriving back at 00:30; discussing their evening, discussing where they are going tomorrow, laughing loudly, and saying their goodbyes in the corridor. They seem to go on chatting forever, but I finally manage to get back to sleep.

This amazing trip was arranged by Undiscovered Destinations. Check out their website for lots of travel inspiration.


Posted by Grete Howard 16:54 Archived in Argentina Tagged san argentina salta south_america period lorenzo tilcara jujuy siesta purmamarca menstrual yungas undiscovered_destinations cloud_forest handicraft_market son_sanca maimara hill_of_seven_colours instragrammable handiicrafts camino_de_cornisa yungas_forest don_sanca_restaurant design_studios postmenopausal

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Purmamarca does look pretty (apparently these days the adjective is shortened to 'gramable' :D ) and those hills are pretty cool too. I do hate it when people stand chatting in hotel corridors late at night!

by ToonSarah

<< I do hate it when people stand chatting in hotel corridors late at night!>> Me too! So many people do it, with no consideration for others.

Thanks for the update on the latest phraseology. I feel old! he he

by Grete Howard

Looks like you guys had a great day and we doesn't go for a nap once in a while.

by Ils1976

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