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Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Argentina, South America

Small town joy – Tilcara and Humahuaca, Argentina

I left Salta in the early afternoon to come to Tilcara. It is a tiny village 4 hours north of Salta. I arrived after a beautiful bus ride through rolling mountains of vibrant colours of red and oranges. Upon exiting the bus, a man approached me, his name is Martin, and asked me if I had a place to stay. I had nothing in mind so I followed him to his hostel. At 25 ARG Pesos ($6.25 CAN) per night including breakfast – thats a pretty good deal!

  • Lodging: El Andaluz Youth Hostel – Belgrano 319
  • Cost: 25 ARG Pesos ($6.25 CAN) per night with breakfast and wifi

It is a straight walk up from the bus termal past the plaza on the left hand side. There were 2 Swiss girls staying here with me and last night they cooked dinner for all of us. All of us meaning the 2 hostel workers, themselves, and I! It was Carbonara – Or a take on it – They were not as pleased with the turn out. But I was utterly happy with the meal. A change up from empanadas is a welcome alternative.

One of the best parts thus far in Tilcara – We speak only Spanish. This is a VERY good thing for me – when I am not absolutely forced to speak Spanish, or I am around people I know, I am less inclined to communicate in a language I only have a conversational grasp on. But no – Spanish it is! And obviously the result being the more I speak Spanish the more comfortable I become.

Today had much more sight seeing. I hopped on a bus for 1 hour to Humahuaca. It is a far bit larger than Tilcara, but I found there wasn´t much to do. I wandered the city aimlessly enjoying the cobblestoned roads, the artisan stores selling all types of llama wool sweaters and other really neat, pretty coloured things; drums, fans, walking sticks, jewellery, and gloves. After about 2 hours, I´d seen the church, the plazas, and the monument, so I hopped a bus back to Tilcara. Cost of the excursion? 19 ARG Pesos ($5 CAD). Round trip for the bus plus the 6 ARG Pesos ($1.59 CAD) I spent on 4 chicken empanadas and a bottle of water. I love being away from the big cities – life is much more relaxing and MUCH CHEAPER.

After returning to Tilcara, I visited Pucara – the reason I CAME to Tilcara. It is a fortress from 500 BC and was a major trading post. It is way up high on the hill with lots of colourful stones creating small buildings and walls. But the BEST part of Tilcara? The ABSOLUTELY STUNNING surrounding scenery! You get amazing views of the multicoloured mountains and the cactus surrounding the fortress. It is a wonderful place to stop and think a little.

On return I was pleasantly surprised to find that as a treat to the backpackers in the hostel, the owners decided to make empanadas for us – and teach us how to make them in the process. We mixed, pounded, rolled, and pinched the empanadas into edibility! Argentinians are kind, Argentinians are friends you will keep for life.

I bought my bus ticket to La Quiaca (The Argentina border town with Bolivia) for 09:15 tomorrow. I´ve bought some fresh fruit and Martin, the hostel owner, is going to cook dinner for everybody tonight. So I will stay in, rest, and enjoy the lovely company and people I´ve met in Tilcara!

1 Comment

  1. I’m Canadian as well but very much older!I’m planning to visit Salta next year,overnight in Purmamarca as well as Tilcara and then the bus to La Quiaca and from there by train to Tupica for the Salar de Uyuni tour.In your post,you took the bus from Salta to Tilcara;what bus did you take and did it stop in Purmamarca?Any info would be much appreciated.Thanks!!