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Jujuy - northwest Argentina and the Puna

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Tobacco and tea plantationsNorthwest of Argentina Jujuy spreads over a vast archeological bed where rupestrian art, paintings and engravings on rocks are a testimony to human groups that inhabited the area 9000 years ago. The Incas settled along the Andes and their influence is very noticeable in Jujuy. The combination of pre-hispanic cultures with the more recent colonization by the Spanish crown has left a remarkable historical wealth, present in buildings, religious celebrations, art and music.

San Salvador de Jujuy - Capital City

Old CathedralSan Salvador is known as "La tacita de Plata" for its tiny size and its proximity to Humauaca ravine. It settled 3 times due to constant assaults by natives. In 1593 San Salvador had 45 habs, but by 1607 there were only 9 left. In the next centuries Jujuy recovered from its difficult beginnings. Many Churches were built by conquistadores following "Sevilla" architecture style (13th and 14th century). Peaceful times didn't last as in early 19th century Jujuy was the battleground for conflicts between "realistas".

From Jesuits and Fransiscans missions(Spanish crown) and "revolucionarios" (criollos). Thus, the City of Jujuy itself is a small representation of how Argentina came into existence. Later, the State developed its economy to become one of the most important producers of tobbaco and sugar cane. The entire colonization of the northwest aimed at the explotation of minerals and precious metals and got started around the year 1480. Conquistadores arrived in the scene around 1535.

The original population was based in high altitude areas such as Tastil and the Puna and it was dominated by the Incas. Their power relied in three factors: a series of technological advancements that put them ahead of similar surrounding cultures, a powerful army and a strict social organization, a stunning set of land communications such as routes that extended throughout the empire and allowed for close contact and messeging.

Agriculture in high altitude
Humauaca ravine - Jujuy

Older town from the colonization periodGreen valleys in the outskirts of San Salvador slowly turn into an arid, vast ravine known as Humauaca. Covered with houses built from dry clay, the landscape becomes astonishing. A trip to the town of humauaca crosses the phenomenal ravine through small villages like Purmamarca, whose Cathedral was built in 1648. There is a local craft market all year round and every Aug. 30th a religious ceremonies take place where natives dance "samilantes, sikuris and Misa-chicos". Structures called "Pucaras" (fortified structures) can be seen

Yavi and Cachialong the way, a vivid testimony of how natives defended themselves both from Incas and Conquistadores. Pucara de Tilcara (3000 habs), one of the most important structures that remains has become a center of attraction to visitors and native argentines alike. Many archeological excavations originate from here. Once in Humauaca, visitors can have a glimpse at some old traditions still alive, like the production of witchcraft tools .

The original settlements by the natives were assimilated by the hispanics and the little historical towns that remain as a testimony are nothing but the result of the transformation that took place after the arrival of the Conquistadores. Among them are Humauaca, Tilcara and Purmamarca. As a result of the construction of "La Casa del Encomendero" the towns of Yavi, Cachi and Molinos -only populated by local indians- were born.

The Puna and Humauaca ravine

Yavi - La Quiaca northern Jujuy

Some of the oldest settlements north of ArgentinaHistoric towns of Cachi, Yavi and TilcaraGetting to La Quiaca may result in "apunamiento", a common condition produced by the lack of oxygen. La Quiaca belongs to "La Puna", the high plateau from Bolivia. Nevertheless its high altitude, over 50,000 birds live at the biggest water reservoir in the area called Pozuelos lake. Recommended for birdwatching Yavi, east of La Quiaca, used to be a truly "encomienda" town, from where Spanish Adelantados would administer the whole region. This picturesque town (275 habs, 3700 mts above sea level) is the site where one of the most important Churches of the time had been built.

Map of Jujuy, Argentina

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We have shown you some of the most interesting aspects to be explored in Jujuy. If you are interested in Argentina vacation packages and in particular to this region we recommend that you fill out our 'no commitment' vacation planner so that we can provide you with a more precise idea on the cost of a trip.  It is possible to combine circuits and tours in this State with circuits in other States as well as neighboring countries, like Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and even Bolivia for prolonged stays. Trips may range from just a few days to many weeks. Upon reception of the reservation form we will be in a better position to let you know detailed scheduling for a trip as well as specific activities that can be arranged in the area, plus all the information regarding how to get your air tickets, payments, travel insurances, transfers from where you are and the cost of the tour or vacation as per your choices. Please do not hesitate to contact us.