Surrounded by red-rock canyons, arid desert plains, and valleys of giant cacti, Cafayate offers plenty to tempt travelers south of Salta. The small town is most famous for its wine—it’s the largest producer of Argentina’s Torrontés wine in the world. The Basics
Visit Cafayate on a day trip from Salta—the journey is just as impressive as the destination, so letting someone else drive allows you to focus on the landscapes of Calchaquí Valley rather than the road. Tours nearly always cover Quebrada de las Conchas, where red-rock ravines are dotted with rock formations, among them ‘Garganta del Diablo’ (Devil’s Throat), ‘El Anfiteatro’ (The Amphitheater), and ‘Los Castillos’ (The Castles). Most tours also include wine tasting at one or more of Cafayate’s wineries.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cafayate is a must-visit for active travelers and keen photographers.
- If you plan to hike independently, ensure you wear suitable footwear and a hat, and take plenty of water.
- The small town of Cafayate is easy to get around on foot; there’s also a variety of accommodation, restaurants, and shops to choose from.
- The Mercado Artesanal (Artisan’s Market) is a great place to pick up unique souvenirs and handicrafts.
How to Get There
Cafayate is located in the south of Salta Province, around 125 miles (200 kilometers) south of Salta or a 3-hour drive. Regular buses run from Salta to Cafayate and take around 3.5 hours. In order to take in the magnificent scenery of the Calchaquí Valley, opt for a tour that includes round-trip transfers.
When to Get There
Though it’s possible to visit Cafayate at any time of year, April to November is the ideal time due to dry and sunny weather. It can still get cold at night, so bring warm clothing for after sunset.
Wine Tasting in Cafayate
While Mendoza is known for its Malbec, Cafayate is famous for its Torrontés, a white grape that produces crisp, dry, and acidic whites with a distinctive floral nose. The bodegas scattered around town all pour this Argentine white, but the area also produces excellent Chardonnay, Syrah, and Cabernet sauvignon. If you’re a wine lover, visit Cafayate’s Wine Museum (Museo de la Vid y el Vino) to sample the town’s famous wine ice cream at Helados Miranda.