Salta Trek: La Quiaca Hike

Detailed Itinerary

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Walk ancient Inca trails through beautiful rainbow mountains near Humahuaca and Salta on our guided La Quiaca hike.

We hike a series of remote valleys and passes linked by ancient trails through original Andean cultures of Kola origin.

This is one of the top trekking tours available from Salta.

Everything bursts with colour in this region from the multi-coloured mountains to the shimmering lakes, with flamingoes and condors flying in the background against a clear blue sky.

Included is a visit to the famous Purmamarca – a Mountain of Seven Colours – plus the Salt Flats on the high plains of Lipan.


More on La Quiaca hike

Our La Quiaca hike starts in the province of Salta, a dry and beautiful area full of vineyards and surrounded by vivid mountains.

Among these mountains are Humahuaca, Tilcara, Uquía and Purmamarca, all of which we visit.

Humahuaca is a bustling town packed with artisan shops, a dramatic town square and often live music in the streets, and where we start to acclimatise.

Next to Iruya, a quaint village perched on the edge of the Andes and the trek starting point.

From here, our remote and historical hiking route goes straight into the High Andes and the dramatic scenery that very few have seen.

Trip Highlights

  • Pumamarca’s famous multi-coloured Rainbow Mountain.
  • Trek on ancient Inca trails to the heart of remote Andean communities.
  • Pass colourful valleys and walk alongside crystal clear, seasonal rivers.
  • Explore Salta and its wonderful wines, empanadas and asados (BBQs).
  • Picturesque campsites in the middle of nowhere to get you away from it all.
  • Professional, bilingual local guides bring the histories and present of this area to life.

La Quiaca Hike Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Salta airport, transfer in to hosteria

We welcome you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation in Salta. We have the rest of the day to enjoy the town, which is packed with charm.

The central plaza is surrounded by history and historical buildings and some of the finest churches in the region. The Cathedral’s Virgin Mary statue has an interesting history and is well worth a visit, as is relaxing in one of the cafés in the square.

Salta is also home to fine empanadas and good wines and it’s worth trying both in one of the many cafes, restaurants or bodegas.

Lodging at Hosteria, double or single.

Day 2: Drive to Salinas Grandes, Mountain of Seven Colours, drive to Tilcara, hosteria (B)

We depart early on our way to Campo Quijano, going through the Quebrada Del Toro, and the finally arriving to the pre Hispanic city of Rosa de Tastil with its legendary ruins.

We are already above 3,000m/9,843ft as we start to acclimatise for the trek ahead.

Our trip continues to San Antonio de los Cobres, a typical town located at 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level. From here we go over the Paso de Jama to the high Puna where we stop and have a traditional lunch at a villager’s house. From here we head to the “Salinas Grandes”, or Salt Flats.

We then descend into Lipan and make a stop at the town of Pumamarca and its famous ‘Los Siete Colores’ – the Mountain of Seven Colours. Later we arrive to our lodge at the picturesque town of Tilcara.

Lodging at Hosteria, double or single.

Day 3: Public bus Tilcara to Iruya, explore Iruya, hosteria (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we leave the hostal and head to the bus station to catch a public bus to the north.

It’s a scenic 3-4 hour journey over a high pass, with a classic Andean zig-zag descent to the small and picturesque town of Iruya. The houses and buildings here are entirely solar powered, a testament to the dry and sunny climate.

There is plenty of time to explore the town, which features steep and beautifully cobbled streets and a striking church, typical of the region.

There are some good look out points at the top of the village and interesting livestock stalls at the foot of it.

We spend the night in this interesting place in simple lodging.

Day 4: Start trek, walk Iruya to Chiyayoc, simple lodge (B,L,D)

Early in the morning, we head out of the town and descend to the confluence of the Rio San Isidro and Rio Iruya, which continues as Rio Iruya.

These waters are easy to cross in the dry season when we trek, but become enormous raging torrents in the wetter months.

After our river crossing, we being our ascent of the Andes until our first pass is reached, the Abra Del Colorado. With some amazing views, we then descend to the San Juan River where we have lunch.

After our break, another ascent awaits before we head down to Chiyayoc village at 3,100m/10,170ft.

We have time to relaxin our simple lodging after this 8-9 hour trekking day.

Day 5: Trek Chiyayoc to Rodeo Colorado, camping (B,L,D)

Our trek continues through this amazing landscape.

The day starts after breakfast and it’s a descent to take us to the valley of Rio Trancas. By now you will be accustomed to the terrain of ups and downs, and know that once we reach a river bed, our crossing to the other side will be met with an ascent as we criss-cross the deep rivers of the Highland Andes.

At our pass, we have fabulous views of the town of Rodeo Colorado, our destination for the night.

Before we reach the campsite, we head down to Rio Pera and follow this for a short while.

This has been another trekking day of 8-9 hours and we arrive at our camp for the night.

Day 6: Trek Rodeo Colorado to Río Nazareno, camping (B,L,D)

Following two long days of trekking, today we have a shorter day today of 4-5 hours. We descend (most of the way) to the town of Molino.

Behind us, there is always the amazing view of the valley of the Rio Nazareno.

From this valley there is short ascent to our camp, where you can relax, chat with the locals and appreciate the great views.

Day 7: Trek Río Nazareno to Nazareno, simple lodge (B,L,D)

This is the last stage of our trek across the old Inca Paths and stairways.

We spend 5-6 hours walking alongside the river, encountering wildlife and great colours on the way before we reach Nazareno Village and our simple lodge.

Day 8: Transfer Nazareno, La Quiaca to Salta, hosteria (B)

In the morning we have breakfast and head off in vehicles to the northern region of Argentina, La Quiaca, situated next to the frontier with Bolivia.

From here we continue our way to Salta, where showers and cold drinks and beers await, and perhaps some more of those empanadas.

Lodging at Hosteria, double or single.

Day 9: Transfer out, ends (B)

After breakfast we transfer you to the airport/station, or continue your travels.

End of services.

What's Included?

Bilingual guide (Spanish – English) during trek and trips, transfers, hosterias and lodges as listed, mules to transport tents and food and up to 8kg of personal items for travellers, communal camping gear, meals as listed

What's Not Included?

Sleeping bag, foam mat, medical and life insurance, international and internal flights, tips, alcoholic or soft drinks, airport taxes, personal items, optional excursions, meals not listed, entrance fees to National Parks or Museums


In towns we use hosterias – central, clean and simple accommodation close to the centre and similar to hotels.

While trekking we may camp or use simple lodges provided by the communities we visit.

When camping, we provide all communal kit and your tent, and include a dining tent and toilet tent.

The lodges are like mountain huts and have beds.

Tour Staff

Tour guides, drivers and muleteers are locals from Argentina, who live and work in this fantastic area of the country.

Our team tries to provide as much employment to local people as possible.


Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please enquire.

You usually wake early, around 07.00, and have a filling breakfast in your hotel or the dining tent, which is usually coffee, toast, jams and porridge.

After breakfast, packs are prepared and your guide explains the day’s walk, and you typically walk 3-4 hours in the morning before lunch, with a short or break or two en route.

Lunch, while out walking, will be sandwiches, fruit etc. Please bring some snacks of your own, as those available in northern Argentina are expensive and not always the best quality.

After an hour or so for lunch – depending on weather conditions – you will continue your walk, usually 1-3 hours more, although some days are shorter or longer than others, and then relax at camp. Some days are long.

Dinner will often be a soup to start and then a main of pasta with a sauce, or perhaps a main of fish, chicken, meat with potatoes, followed by pudding.

After eating, you can choose to socialise with team members, relax in your tent or take in the views.

It can get cold very soon after sunset, so most people will fall asleep early and then rise early the next day, helping to conserve energy.

Activity Level

You need to have a good level of fitness for the trip, as the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it.

Those with no previous trekking experience can trek this trip, although experience of hiking is beneficial and we would recommend plenty of walking before joining up with the tour.

However, the trip is open to anyone with a positive attitude who wants to walk in a stunning and remote part of northern Argentina.

Practical Information

Introduction to Argentina

Argentina is a land of contrast.

Nothing states this better than the fact it features the highest point in the South America, Aconcagua, and the lowest, Salinas Chicas, 40m below sea level.

Its vastness – it is the eighth largest country in the world – and diversity are just part of the appeal. A fantastic culture of fine wine and dining sits alongside its adventurous and beautiful landscapes.

The local’s cheery disposition and fantastic word plays add to the enjoyment of being in this fascinating country.

The name Argentina derives from argentinos, the Ancient Greek diminutive (tinos) form for silver (argentos), which is what early Spanish explorers sought when they first reached the region in the sixteenth century.

There are distinct regions of Argentina, from the Andean culture of the North West to the rancho lifestyle of the plains of Patagonia to the eternally seductive Buenos Aires.

Geography of Argentina

Argentina’s neighbours are Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the north east and Chile to the west. In the east Argentina has a long South Atlantic Ocean coastline.

The central region of Argentina is the rich plain known as La Pampa.

There is jungle in the extreme northeast while the southern half of Argentina is dominated by the flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia.

The western border with Chile is along the rugged Andes mountains, including Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. Close to Aconcagua lies Mendoza, an area famed for its fine wine production.

The western Cuyo regions at the base of the Andes are mostly rocky desert.

Most Antarctic cruises embark and disembark in Ushuaia, at the tip of South America, allowing access to the South Pole, South Georgia and also the Falkland Islands.

Weather in Argentina


Argentina’s seasons are the reverse to the northern hemisphere, with summer running from October to March, and winter from May to September.

Buenos Aires and the Pampas in the north are temperate; cold in the winter, 5-15°C, and hot and humid in the summer, 17-27°C, the warmest and most humid being December to February. Spring and Autumn are lovely times to visit Buenos Aires.

The best time to visit Iguazu Falls is from January to March – the rainy season, this is when water flow of the waterfall is greatest, but the waterfall is amazing at any time of year. The hottest months in Iguazu Falls are October through April with lows of 20°C and highs of 32°C. Winter sees this fall to highs of 22°C and occasional lows of 12°C, with cooler nights. Being tropical and humid, there is always the chance of rain in Iguazu.

Bariloche is nestled in Argentina’s Lake District and is built next to the cold water Lake Nahuel Huapi. During the summer, daylight extends from 6am to 10pm and temperatures fluctuate from 5-20°C, the warm days making for ideal conditions for exploration. In the winter, snow abounds for skiers and daylight is from 9am to 7pm, city temps varying from just above to just below freezing, with much cooler temperatures in the mountains.

The rain-shadow effect in Bariloche means weather conditions are relatively dry and stable. Summer rainfall in the town of Bariloche is low (average 5 days precipitation a month).


Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

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When planning for the varied climatic conditions encountered, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system. It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.

To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers. Layers should have the following qualities:


  1. Breathability (able to wick away the humidity produced by sweat):
  2. Isolation (able to keep in the warm air our body produces); and
  3. Impermeability (able to impede the passing of wind and water).


First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.

Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.

Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

We also carry an extensive first aid kit & oxygen on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only.

Below is a more detailed kit list.


Detailed kit list

  • 2 pairs synthetic inner socks (e.g. polypropylene, thermastat, coolmax) and 2 pairs thick loop-stitch/wool socks for cold.
  • Trekking boots – should be well broken-in, waterproof and provide good ankle support.
  • Trainers/sandals for city-wear, evenings at lower camps & river crossings.
  • Base layer leggings (1 pair).
  • Thick fleece leggings (or salopettes) (1 pair).
  • Goretex-type over-trousers (or salopettes) (1 pair).
  • Trekking trousers (2 pairs).
  • Shorts – wear sparingly in early stages at altitude, as sun burns.
  • Thermal base layer shirts (2).
  • Microfleece mid-layer shirt (1).
  • Shirt/t-shirt 1 or 2 for lower altitudes. Long-sleeved, collared shirt protects against sun
  • Fleece jacket or similar (1).
  • Warm jacket (down or synthetic). For camp and upper slopes.
  • Waterproof Goretex-type jacket.
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Warm hat, fleece or wool. (N.B. Up to 30% of body heat can be lost through the head).
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Light inner gloves
  • Warm gloves, e.g. fleece, and outer waterproof gloves or mittens (1 pair)
  • Mittens allow you to keep the fingers together, and better conserve heat (though they also make it difficult to perform certain tasks).
  • Daypack (at least 40-50 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Large rucksack or suitcase.
  • Pair of telescopic trekking poles (can be rented).
  • Duffel bag or large rucksack for extra clothing, carried by horse/mule/porter while you are trekking.
  • Sleeping bag (3-4 season).
  • Sleeping mat or Thermarest
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Toilet paper (1)
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!). Print & slide film is available locally. Polarising filter is recommended for SLR cameras.
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other for free time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

All other non-personal trekking camping gear e.g. tents, cutlery etc is provided.


Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life.

Visas for Argentina

UK and USA citizens do not require a visa to enter Argentina as a tourist.

Please ensure your passport has at least six months remaining validity.

On presentation of a valid UK or USA passport you will be granted a 90-day stay in the country.

All non-UK nationals should check with their nearest Argentine consulates for the latest visa and fee information.

All requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.


In order to get the most out of a trek we classify as ‘moderate‘, you should be in good physical condition.

It is not easy to grade the fitness level required for any trek, since it is a subjective matter.

However, for treks classified as moderate, expect to trek 5-7 hours per day carrying only your day-pack, with several long ascents and descents.

Vaccinations for Argentina

We strongly suggest that everyone planning to travel to Argentina visits their local doctor/travel clinic prior to departure for the latest vaccination information.


Recommended vaccinations

  • Up-to-date diphtheria and polio.
  • Tetanus or tetanus booster. (These three are effective for ten years.)
  • ‘Havrix’ for Hepatitis A. The course of two injections protects you for ten years. Gamma globulin is cheaper butless effective.
  • Typhoid vaccine is recommended by some doctors although it will not provide total protection and being careful about what you eat and drink is your best defence. It is given in two shots, four weeks apart and lasts for three years. Unless at exceptional risk, people over the age of 35 who have received four or more courses of typhoid immunisation need no more.
  • A pre-exposure rabies vaccination is worth considering if you are going to be in contact with animals or morethan 24 hours away from a reliable source of vaccine. Hikers are at some risk from rural dogs, certain of which carry rabies, and those visiting coastal or rainforest areas could be exposed to rabid bats.
  • Yellow fever. May occur in epidemics in forested areas in the subtropical northeast (Misiones etc), but is very rare.Not effective until ten days after inoculation; not recommended for pregnant women. This is also effective for ten years.


Anti-malarial protection (chloroquine) is recommended only in risk areas. Malaria risk in Argentina is low, and confined to northern rural areas along the borders with Bolivia (lowlands of Jujuy and Salta provinces) and Paraguay (lowlands of Corrientes and Misiones provinces). It is exclusively in the benign vivax form, and no risk exists in Buenos Aires or Patagonia In the UK, contact the Malaria Reference Laborator. North Americans should contact the Centers for Disease Control.

  • Zika. Spread by mosquito bikes and also a risk of sexual transmission. People planning pregnancies / pregnant women are advised against all travel to areas reporting Zika. If you develop any feverish illness whilst travelling or on return medical attention must be sought quickly.
  • Dengue Fever. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain – hence its other name ‘breakbone fever’.

Quick facts about Argentina


Official name: Argentine Republic Country

Population: 40,000,000

Capital city: Buenos Aires (11 million)

Largest cities: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario

Languages: Spanish (official)

Official currency: Argentine Peso

Major industries: Agriculture (Soy), motor vehicles, chemicals

Argentina: GMT-3

Argentina Festivals

2 weeks before Lent

Festival: Carnaval

Fancy dress parades to music. 

Location: Nation wide



Festival: Festival de la Venidimia  / Grape Harvest

Dancers, performers, Harvest Queen and fireworks

Location: Mendoza



Festival: Tango festival

A celebration of the Tango. Music and dance. 

Location: Buenos Aires


Festival: Casabindo Festival 

Location: Buenos Aires



Festival: El Dia de Tradicion / Tradition Day

Celebration of Gaucho history and culture 

Location: San Antonio de Areco

Flight advice

Andean Trails can book all your international and domestic flights for this trip and for UK passengers; we have full ATOL bonding and can book flights with most airlines.

International flight prices are variable and usually can only be guaranteed at the time of booking. If you would like to upgrade to business or first class, or even arrive at an earlier date/depart at a later date we can also arrange this for you.

Typically, you fly to a country’s capital city and then overnight there or make a connecting flight (if available) to your next destination.


Flight connections

Please contact us for flight advice especially if you do make a connection on the same day. It is important to purchase a through ticket and not separate tickets for connections, so that you are covered for any delays. Passengers with separate tickets that are delayed run the risk of having to buy an entirely new ticket to continue their journeys.

Please note all airline schedules are subject to change and are out of our control.



Almost all flight tickets are now e-tickets. Any that are not will be handed to you on arrival in South America – this is most common for flights on smaller planes in Amazon areas such as Guyana/Bolivia.

The final travel instructions we send you some 2-3 weeks before departure will list the latest flight times, flight numbers etc as well as list your e-ticket numbers and booking reference code (6 characters i.e. GB75RK). This is what you will need to check in with.


How do I check in?

Depending on the airline, we can reserve some seats for you at the time of booking your international flights with us.

If we cannot reserve seats at the time of booking, you have to wait for online check in to open (usually 24-72 hours before departure).

To check in online you will need to go to the website of the airline you are travelling with, and have your e-ticket number/booking reference to hand. Click check in online, enter your details, and choose your seat.

Some flights will allocate seats at the check in desk at the airport and some may not allocate seats at all.


Help flying via the USA (ESTA form).

The United States (USA) has an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which all travellers to and via the USA must complete BEFORE travel to/via its airports and shores.

More information can be found on their ESTA website.

Passengers who have not completed the form will be denied boarding.

Before you begin this application, make sure that you have a valid passport and credit card available.

This application will only accept the following credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club).

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.


What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.


Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.


I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Be safe in Argentina

Most of Argentina is a relatively safe country to travel around. However, we still recommend that in large towns and cities you take certain precautions (see below). Argentina is, overall, among the safest countries in South America.

However, in Buenos Aires, muggings and opportunistic crime – although not common – do occur.

In Buenos Aires and other big cities, ‘distraction muggings’ sometimes happen in quiet streets, in the daytime as well as at night. We suggest that you take the following precautions:

  • Leave paper valuables in the hotel safe (caja fuerte), taking out with you only what you need for the day.
  • Carry a copy of passport (leave original in safe). N.B. When travelling, carry paper valuables in a money belt under clothing, not in a ‘bum-bag’.
  • Beware of distraction techniques, e.g. where X sprays you with mustard or similar substance, and accomplice Y comes up to offer to clean you off, but takes your bag or wallet while you’re distracted. If you do get sprayed, just walk straight on.
  • Avoid marginal areas and be alert in lonely streets in the day and at night. Also, always take special care in busy streets, around markets and in and around bus terminals; either avoid carrying a bag in such areas, or secure it, as bag-slashers and pickpockets sometimes operate.
  • NEVER leave your bag(s) unattended, especially in airports, bus terminals and hotel lobbies.
  • It’s best to use taxis at night, wherever you are.

Food and drink in Argentina

Read our blogs about Buenos Aires’ restaurants and the best food experiences, plus where to eat in Patagonia.


Main dishes     

Asado                    Roast cooked on open fire

Parrillada             Mixed grill of roast meat, offal, chorizo (spicy sausage) & morcilla (black pudding)

Churrasco             Thick grilled steak

Bife de chorizo      Rump steak (not to be confused with the chorizo sausage)

Bife de lomo          Fillet steak

Choripan               Chorizo (spicy sausage) in a bread roll

Puchero                 Stew

Carbonada             Onions, tomatoes and minced beef

Bife a caballo         Steak topped with fried egg

Arroz con pollo       Rice, chicken, egg, vegetables and sauce

Puchero de gallina     Chicken, sausage, maize, potatoes and squash cooked together

Empanadas             Excellent pasties which come with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, cheese & tuna.

Milanesa de pollo   Chicken escalope (good value)

Milanesa                 Veal escalope (good value)

Ñoquis                     Gnocchi potato dumplings

Locro                       Thick stew of maize, white beans, beef, sausage, pumpkin and herbs



Almendrado               Ice cream rolled in crushed almonds

Dulce de zapallo        Pumpkin in syrup (usually eaten with cheese)

Dulce de leche           Very popular soft, pale fudge

Dulce de batata/membrillo        Sweet potato/quince preserve (served with cheese)

Postre Balcarce         Cream and meringue cake

Alfajores                      Very popular maize-flour biscuit sandwich, usually filled with dulce de leche or jam

Media lunas                Croissants served at breakfast. Come in 2 varieties: de grasa (dry) and de Mantequilla (rich & fluffy)



Vino                      From cheap & cheerful upwards, Argentine wines are pretty solid

Cerveza                Mainly lager-style beer. In bars, often served with a snack, e.g. peanuts.



Money matters

Currency & Money Exchange

Argentina’s monetary unit is the “Argentina Peso”.

Argentina has had several years of economic instability and with a previous government there were tight exchange controls. It is currently experiencing high inflation and devaluation of the currency. 

These have now been relaxed so payments with debit and credit cards are accepted. However, there is still a significant number of places that do not accept payment by card. Make sure you have enough cash or che3ck that cards are accepted before placing any orders.

For payment by card you will be asked for proof if identity so carry a photo or scan of your passport title page.

However, there may be controls on ATM withdrawals (possibly a max of AR 1000 / GB 50 per day and you may well be charged substantially for each withdrawal). ATMs can also be unreliable and we have had several reports of “empty” cash machines.  We suggest that you have enough cash to cover your needs, especially in more remote areas.

ATM debit/credit cards are now widely used in major restaurants, hotels and shops (with fees).

Take US dollars with you (preferably new notes or at least unmarked and undamaged notes) in smaller denominations of 10s, 20s and maybe some 50s. Do not take USD 100 bills as they are unlikely to be accepted.

On arrival to Argentina , at the airport/border, exchange US dollars so that you have some local peso. Some businesses, particularly in tourist spots may accept payment in US dollars – ask first.

Exchange rate: USD 1 = 55 Argentine Peso (approx.), Sept 2019.

Peso banknotes: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 pesos

Peso coins: 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, 1 peso, 2 pesos



Don’t forget to read out tipping guide to Argentina.


Eating and drinking in Argentina

Argentina has a world famous culinary and wine reputation.

There are more and more top-end restaurants almost everywhere, and you can easily spend USD 100pp and more on meals.

Prices vary greatly, below is a rough guide to what you can expect to pay in Argentina.


Local café/restaurant

Beer/soft drink: USD 4

Menu del dia: USD 10-15

Coffee: USD 2

Bottle of wine: From USD 15 upwards


Tourist style restaurant

Beer/soft drink: USD 5-7

Main dish: USD 20 upwards

Coffee: USD 3

Bottle of wine: From USD 20 upwards


Tipping is entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received.

This is a rough guideline:

  • Airport porters: Minimum USD 1-2 per bag – compulsory.
  • Hotel staff: USD 1-2 per night, in the staff tip box.
  • Transfer drivers/taxis: Generally not expected.
  • Drivers: USD 10-25 per day total from the group.
  • Specialist guides: USD 5-15 per person, per day.
  • Assistant guides: USD 5-7 per person, per day.
  • Tour leaders: USD 10-15 per day total from the group.
  • Restaurants: +10% for adequate to excellent food and service.

Plugs and voltages


220 volts (110v in some hotels), 50 Hz.

Most cameras, phones and computers are dual or multi voltage and probably won’t need a convertor – please check before leaving.

Some items you may bring, such as hairdryers, may need a convertor. They may short if you use them without the correct convertor.



Argentina uses Type i (I) plugs, although some two pin, round-pronged Type C plugs can be found in older buildings and bathrooms.

Type I plug

Type i (I) plug

Type C plug

Type C plug









Dialling codes

To call Argentina from abroad, or using your mobile phone in Argentina, follow these steps.

Example number: Buenos Aires (0)11 1234-5678, you would dial:

  • +54 is Argentina’s country code
  • 11 is Buenos Aires’ city code, minus the (0)
  • +54-11-1234-5678 is the final number you dial.


Argentina mobiles start with the number 15. If using your mobile phone to call an Argentine mobile, follow these steps.

Example number: Buenos Aires mobile 15-8765-4321, you would dial:

  • +54 for Argentina’s dialling code
  • Remove the 15 from the start of the mobile number
  • Add in a 9, and the area dialling code minus the (0) – in this example Buenos Aires, code = 11
  • +54-911-8765-4321 is the final number you dial.
  • From an Argentine landline or mobile, simply dial 15-8765-4321.


Mobile phones

If taking a mobile phone with you, check roaming rates with your operator before leaving – they can be very high.

A good way to avoid expensive charges is to bring own unlocked tri- or quad-band phone to Argentina and then buy an inexpensive SIM chip with a local number. These are available in many kiosks and locutorios and offer ability to make cheap calls as well as affordable data for the internet.



Most hotels, cafes, restaurants and airports offer free and generally good Wi-Fi.

There are also a lot of ‘locutorios’ (internet cafes) in towns and cities. You can often make cheap calls home from here, use faxes etc.

Skype and other internet-based phone systems are also good ways to contact home.



Correo Argentino is the national, state-run postal service.


Useful Spanish phrases

Learning a few words of Spanish can really ingratiate you with the locals you’ll encounter, adding to the enjoyment of your holiday.

Below are some basics to get you started.



Good morning                                         Buenos días

How are you?                                         ¿Cómo estás?

Good afternoon                                      Buenas tardes

Good bye                                               Adiós


Most frequently asked questions (theirs):

Where are you (plural) from?                   ¿De dónde eres (son)?

What time is it?                                           ¿Qué hora es?

Where have you come from?                    ¿De dónde vienes?

Give me (frequent, unwelcome question)    Dáme / regálame


Most frequent questions (yours):

How much is it?                                      ¿Cuánto vale?

What is this place called?                       ¿Cómo se llama este lugar?

What’s your name?                                 ¿Cómo te llamas?

Do you have a map?                                ¿Tienes un mapa?


In the street / places:

Where can I find a currency exchange?    ¿Dónde encuentro una casa de cambio?

Where is there a cash machine?                ¿Dónde hay un cajero automatico?

Where is the underground/subway station? ¿Dónde esta la estacion de metro/subte(Buenos Aires)?

Where can I find a taxi?                             ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?

Where can I find a Supermarket?            ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un supermercado?

Where is the hospital?                               ¿Dónde esta el hospital?

Where can I find a restaurant?               ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un restaurante?


In the hotel:

What floor am I on?                                   ¿En qué piso estoy?

Where are the elevators/lifts?                 ¿Dónde están los ascensores?

How do I access the Internet?                 ¿Cómo puedo acceder a Internet?

How do I call for room service?                ¿Cómo llamo para el servicio de habitación?

How do I call down to the front desk?      ¿Cómo llamo a la recepción?


In the restaurant:

A table for two/four please                     Una mesa para dos/cuatro, porfavor

I would like to drink…                             Me gustaria tomar….

May I see a menu?                                   Puedo ver la carta/menu?

I would like to order..                              Me gustaria pedir…

Can you bring me the check/bill please.     Me trae la cuenta por favor



I need help.                                              Necesito ayuda.

I have lost my passport.                        He perdido mi pasaporte.

Someone stole my money.                    Alguien robó mi dinero

I have been robbed.                                Me han robado

I need to call the police.                         Necesito llamar a la policía

I need to call the (country) Embassy     Necesito llamar a la embajada de (country)

Help!                                                           ¡Socorro!


Responsible Travel - our ethos

Andean Trails believes in Responsible Travel and actively supports several community projects.

Please see Our Advice and Our Ethos for more, and learn about the Projects We Support.

We operate the Inca Trail, our treks and tours with local firms.

We make sure that on our tours and Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages.

With the Inca Trail, We provide free life insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for all trekking staff as well as foam mats, sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided the staff with trekking shoes. We ensure our porters carry a maximum of only 20kg. We offer them backpacks and they generally use back supports.

Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.

Our additional support helps the Huchuy Yachaq project which supports children and families in one of the poorest communities in the district of Cusco.

Responsible Travel - travel tips

Responsible Tourism – Code of Conduct:

  • Find out about your destination – take some time before you go to read about the cultural, social and political background of the place and people you are visiting.
  • Go equipped with basic words and phrases in the local language – this may open up opportunities for you to meet people who live there.
  • Buy locally-made goods and use locally-provided services wherever possible – your support is often vital to local people.
  • Pay a fair price for the goods or services you buy – if you haggle for the lowest price your bargain may be at someone else’s expense.
  • Be sensitive to the local culture – dress and act in a way that respects local beliefs and customs, particularly at religious sites.
  • Don’t undermine the local economic systems – we recommend you don’t give gifts, especially sweets as there are few dentists in the Andes. Much better to spend time chatting, playing and showing postcards of home. If you would like to donate clothes and shoes etc we are more than happy to do so through the relevant channels. Your tour leader can do this for you and some of the projects we support can be visited.
  • Ask permission before taking photographs of individuals or of people’s homes – and remember that you may be expected to pay for the privilege.
  • Avoid conspicuous displays of wealth – this can accentuate the gap between rich and poor and distance you from the cultures you came to experience.
  • Make no promises to local people that you can’t keep – be realistic about what you will do when you return home.
  • Minimise your environmental impact – keep to footpaths and marked routes, don’t remove any of the natural habitat and reduce the packaging you bring.
  • Don’t pollute local water courses- use biodegradable products, and wash basins.
  • Slow down and enjoy the differences – you’ll be back with the familiar soon enough.

Our environmental policy

All our activities are governed by our respect for the environment and the people who live in it. We aim to make a positive impact both in the UK and in the Andean countries we work in (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).

We agree with the principals of sustainable development and specifically promote environmentally aware tourism in the Andean countries, in order to preserve the heritage of the people who live there and to help protect their environment.

In the UK we use recycled paper where possible, recycle what we can and attempt to keep waste to an absolute minimum.

Throughout South America we work together with local people, paying them a fair price, and putting money into the local economy. We do this by using local agents, local trek staff and experienced and qualified local mountain and cultural guides who have an in-depth knowledge of their own country. Our porters on the Inca Trail are fairly paid, carry a maximum load of 20kg and are supplied with tents and food. In other areas we use donkeys or horses to carry loads.

We use locally owned services such as hotels and restaurants, wherever possible. We buy fresh local produce for all of our treks from markets in each departure town. We use public transport whenever possible and feasible.

We have ongoing contact with the teams that we work with and also with local families in the areas we trek through, developing relationships with them and donating goods such as clothes and shoes to their communities, through appropriate local agencies. We also support local Peruvian charities, specifically NIÑOS in Cusco, and CARE in the Huaraz area, plus Huchuy Yachaq.

If you have any suitable (warm) clothes and shoes that you would like to donate to Peruvian children please take them with you and give them to your tour leader, who will ensure they go to a suitable organization.

When out on tour we encourage learning about the countries we travel in, the local culture of the teams we work with and the areas we pass through. Our guides hold informal talks with groups to inform about and discuss with them all aspects of local life. This helps understanding of the area and appreciation of the people who live there.

Our group sizes are kept to a maximum of 16 people, and we encourage smaller groups where possible. This minimises the negative impact we make on the local people, the wildlife and the environment, and increases the quality time spent in contact with the local people and environment.

When trekking we adhere to a responsible tourism code of practice and are also involved in ongoing training of our trek staff.

Health and Safety

A full Health and Safety document will be sent to you at the time of booking and before you travel.

You can also read it on our website, or contact us for more information.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition of booking any of our holidays that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for trip cancellation (by you), activities involved and destination. This cover should include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue.

We work with Travel Nomads, who offer insurance solutions to people in more than 140 countries across the world.

Should you decide not to purchase this insurance, you must provide us with details of your alternative insurance with or before your final payment.

And lastly...

Many of our tours travel through remote areas.

We believe our clients should be aware that the remoteness of some of our tours so very special could also cause certain problems.

Thus, whilst we endeavour to minimise the chances of anything unexpected happening, it has to be noted that no itinerary can or should be rigidly adhered to.

This is the very nature of adventure travel and we expect our clients to be prepared for delays and slight alterations in our programmed events.

Also, shared tours may include travellers from all over the world whose native language is not English.

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