Northern Route 40

From Salta to Mendoza OR From Mendoza to Salta
  • Argentina
  • Expedition
  • Group
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Tour Description

The Northern Ruta 40 (Route 40) covers a vast array of landscapes,  from the dry high altitude deserts and mountains of the Andes near the Bolivian border to the lush vineyards of Mendoza, every corner of this journey presents a jaw dropping, beautiful vista.  It is also home to some of the oldest cultures in Argentina and many pre-Columbian ruins such as Quilmes and the Pucara di Tilcara can be explored. The main attraction, however, is without a doubt the countryside itself.  The National Parks of Talampaya and Ischigualasto offer some of the world’s most unusual geological and palaeontological treasures and the multi coloured hillsides around Pumamarca have got to be seen to be believed.

Viva's Best Bits...

Travel on part of one of the world's longest routes that has a total length of 5,000 km

Explore stunning landscape full of lakes, mountains and forests.

Sample local wines at some of the best wineries in Argentina

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Salta

Arrival, pre departure, overnight.
Salta is the most beautiful city of northern Argentina. Home to stunning colonial architecture of Salta, Salta’s fascinating history can be seen through the age-old monuments and its extremely rich culture.

Day 2
Salta Pumamarca

Today we will visit Humahuaca, an ancient picturesque village. In the afternoon we head to the quaint yet beautiful village of Purmamarca where you will be taken aback by the vast and unspoiled terrain and the picturesque hill of seven colours.

Day 3
Pumamarca Salta

This morning we will visit Salinas Grandes, a spectacular salt plain in a remote part of the puna. We will also visit Tilcara, where we visit the Archaeological Museum and the amazing indigenous ruins of Pucara. Tonight enjoy an evening savouring the typical dishes of Northwest Argentina and enjoying traditional folklore music.

Day 4
Salta El Cafayate

This morning we will set off from our hotel on foot to see some of Salta’s must-see landmarks. Continuing, when we leave Salta we will cross through the lush Lerma Valley before entering the Quebrada (gorge) – one of the world’s many great drives. Here you will see spectacular natural formations like the amphitheater, characterised by its unique acoustics.

Day 5
Cafayate

Today we will spend the day sampling wines in some of the most unique and beautiful settings.

Day 6
Cafayate Belen

Visit the Quilmes ruins as we head south on Ruta 40.
The Quilmes ruins, located in the province of Tucumán, are the remains of the largest pre-Columbian settlement in Argentina, a once great city with high population density, complex sociocultural processes and highly developed irrigation mechanisms.

Day 7
Belen Villa Union

Relax and enjoy the view as we travel south along the famous Ruta 40.
Argentinas longest road is one of the wildest and least-travelled roads on the planet.

We make a stop near the town of Chilecito to discover the old cable car system. In the afternoon we travel the Cuesta de Miranda canyon, where the red, yellow an orange colours of the canyon light up as the sun goes down.

Day 8
Villa Union

With an early start to the day, our first stop is Ischigualasto Natural Park, also known as The Moon Valley. The park was declared as a natural heritage for its high scientific value in 2000, since it preserves an important palaeontological reserve. The park offers a strange landscape, where the scarcity of vegetation, the range of colours of its soils, and the unique geo-formations provide an incredible back drop.

In the afternoon we discover Talampaya National Park, a UNESCO Natural Heritage site. Talampaya National Park is a gift of nature and home to treasures from the Triassic period, some 250 million years ago. Surrounded by extensive white deserts, towering walls of red sandstone, valleys, ravines and whimsical stone shapes carved by nature, at each step we will discover the traces of the ancient dinosaurs that inhabited these lands for thousands of years.

Day 9
Villa Union Barreal

Today we travel off the beaten track, passing through small rural towns with a strong feeling of the past. Old factories and work yards are left like ghost towns of a former glory. The scenery although familiar will change as the sun rises and falls throughout the day.

We arrive into Barreal, a small town of less than 2000 people but flanked by the monstrous Andes range. We see 7 peaks over 5000m and on a clear day you can also see Mt Aconcagua (6974m) South America’s tallest peak.

Day 10
Barreal

After a slow start to the day and a wonderful homemade breakfast at our accommodation we have a number of short hikes in the area to decide from. All are low to medium grade hikes that enable you to enjoy the local environment and discover some of the secrets and legends of the region.

A few kilometers from Barreal within Parque Nacional El Leoncito are two of the most important astronomical observatories in the southern hemisphere: CASLEO and CESCO. The combination of a fantastic location and the clearness of the sky make this a "starlight destination", a name given to only five places in the world.

Day 11
Barreal Mendoza

As we continue south along Ruta 40, the landscape will gradually evolve as we enter Argentina’s most famous wine growing region.

Day 12
Mendoza

Today we head for the most important and interesting places in Mendoza city.
This afternoon sip wine and learn about Argentina’s wine making practices in the Maipú valley. We will go to the Zuccardi Family winery, founded in 1963. Your tour around the winery will include tasting of magnificent wines followed by an amazing 9 course food/wine pairing meal in the beautiful vineyard.

Day 13
Mendoza

You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight out.

NOTE: Option to add on our post-tour of Highlights of Argentina & Uruguay Tour (14 Days) - Selected Dates. Please ask for details

Day 1
Mendoza

Arrival & transfer to your hotel.
Known best for its wine, Mendoza is a beautiful city in the foothills of the Andes to the east of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere.

NOTE: Option to add on a pre-tour of Highlights of Argentina & Uruguay Tour (14 Days) - Selected Dates. Please ask for details

Day 2
Mendoza

Today we head for the most important and interesting places in Mendoza city.
This afternoon sip wine and learn about Argentina’s wine making practices in the Maipú valley. We will go to the Zuccardi Family winery, founded in 1963. Your tour around the winery will include tasting of magnificent wines followed by an amazing 9 course food/wine pairing meal in the beautiful vineyard.

Day 3
Mendoza Barreal

As we start our drive north along Ruta 40, the landscape will gradually evolve from lush wineries, to vast desert landscapes, dotted with small towns.

We arrive into Barreal, a small town of less than 2000 people but flanked by the monstrous Andes range. We see 7 peaks over 5000m and on a clear day you can also see Mt Aconcagua (6974m) South America’s tallest peak.

Day 4
Barreal

With an early start to the day, our first stop is Ischigualasto Natural Park, also known as The Moon Valley. The park was declared as a natural heritage for its high scientific value in 2000, since it preserves an important palaeontological reserve. The park offers a strange landscape, where the scarcity of vegetation, the range of colours of its soils, and the unique geo-formations provide an incredible back drop.

Day 5
Barreal Villa Union

Today we travel off the beaten track, passing through small rural towns with a strong feeling of the past. Old factories and work yards are left like ghost towns of a former glory. We arrive to Villa Union and prepare for a busy day ahead,

Day 6
Villa Union

With an early start to the day, our first stop is Ischigualasto Natural Park, also known as The Moon Valley. The park was declared as a natural heritage for its high scientific value in 2000, since it preserves an important palaeontological reserve. The park offers a strange landscape, where the scarcity of vegetation, the range of colours of its soils, and the unique geo-formations provide an incredible back drop.

In the afternoon we discover Talampaya National Park, a UNESCO Natural Heritage site. Talampaya National Park is a gift of nature and home to treasures from the Triassic period, some 250 million years ago. Surrounded by extensive white deserts, towering walls of red sandstone, valleys, ravines and whimsical stone shapes carved by nature, at each step we will discover the traces of the ancient dinosaurs that inhabited these lands for thousands of years.

Day 7
Villa Union Belen

Relax and enjoy the view as we travel north along the famous Ruta 40. Argentina's longest road is one of the wildest and least-travelled roads on the planet. We make a stop near the town of Chilecito to discover the old cable car system.

Day 8
Belen Cafayate

The Quilmes ruins, located in the province of Tucumán, are the remains of the largest pre-Columbian settlement in Argentina. A once great city with a high population density, complex socio-cultural processes and highly developed irrigation mechanisms.

Day 9
Cafayate

Today we will spend the day sampling wines in some of the most unique and beautiful settings.

Day 10
Cafayate Salta

We will cross through the lush Lerma Valley before entering the Quebrada (gorge) – one of the world’s great drives. Here you will see spectacular natural formations like the amphitheater, characterised by its unique acoustics. This afternoon we will set off from our hotel on foot to see some of Salta’s must-see landmarks.

Day 11
Salta Purmamarca

Today we will visit Humahuaca, an ancient picturesque village. In the afternoon we head to the quaint yet beautiful village of Purmamarca where you will be taken aback by the vast and unspoiled terrain and the picturesque hill of seven colours.

Day 12
Purmamarca Salta

This morning we will visit Salinas Grandes, a spectacular salt plain in a remote part of the puna. We will also visit Tilcara, where we visit the Archaeological Museum and the amazing indigenous ruins of Pucara. Tonight enjoy an evening savouring the typical dishes of Northwest Argentina and enjoying traditional folklore music.

Day 13
Salta

You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight out.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 12 nights accommodation in standard hotels and guesthouses
Food
  • Included Copy 20 Breakfast daily
  • Included Copy 20 11 Lunches
  • Included Copy 20 9 Dinners
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Fully escorted in South America in our custom built all-terrain expedition vehicles
  • Included Copy 20 Service of an experienced tour leader as well as local guides
  • Included Copy 20 Experienced Driver/Mechanic
  • Included Copy 20 All National Park Entrance fees
  • Included Copy 31 Selected departures link with our Highlights of Argentina & Uruguay Tour from Buenos Aires to Iguazu
Transportation
Expedition Vehicle

Activities

  • Included Humahuaca indigenous village
  • Included Purmamarca village & hill of seven colours
  • Included Salinas Grandes, Salt Flats
  • Included Tilcara Archaeological Museum & ruins of Pucara
  • Included Traditional folklore show
  • Included Salta city walking tour
  • Included Lerma Valley Gorge
  • Included Cafeyate Wine Tour
  • Included Quilmes Archaeological site
  • Included Shinkal Inca ruins
  • Included Driving the famous Route 40
  • Included Talampaya National Park tour
  • Included Ischigualasto Natural Park tour
  • Included Mendoza city tour
  • Included Zuccardi winery tour & degustation
  • Included Transfers in and out to start and end the tour
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

13 days

Price from

$3,725 USD

Per person, twin share

Select Date
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