The Quebrada de Humahuaca is a narrow, arid ravine 155 km long in the extreme northwest of Argentina, bordering Bolivia. It follows the course of a dried out river, the Rio Grande, and is flanked on either side by villages and churches from the colonial era and vibrant mountains with multicolored rock faces. There are also pervasive signs of the area’s indigenous past–ancient hilltop forts and rock fences for growing quinoa and potatoes, as well as the Inca Royal Road, a reminder of the Incas’ 60 year reign over northwest Argentina.
Jorge and I spent the last three days exploring the main towns of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, Purmamarca, a picturesque village famous for the Cerro de Siete Colores (translates to “Hill of Seven Colors,” pictured above) and Tilcara, a bohemian enclave with lively restaurants, museums and local music joints known as peñas. We also ventured into the mountains above Tilcara and stayed on an immense estate owned by one of the direct descendants of Colonel Manuel Alvarez Prado, remembered as a hero in Tilcara for helping to secure gaucho control over the Quebrada (http://www.casacolorada.com.ar). Next stop: Bolivia!