If you are going to travel to the northwest of Argentina, you have to make sure you know everything there is to do in Jujuy as it is a very complete province with amazing landscapes.
Dotted with large hills, multicolored landscapes and beautiful villages, this province is one of the most beautiful in the country. From Purmamarca with its famous hill of the 7 colors, through Humahuaca, the Pucara de Tilcara and the Salinas Grandes, the province attracts with the variety of places to visit in Jujuy.
The valleys, hills, ravines and the Puna Jujuy are landscapes that will surprise you at every moment. You must have your camera ready because every place is a postcard.
It is not for less, its spectacular nature and history have made the Quebrada de Humahuaca to be declared a World Heritage Site.
🔘 Check out the rest of the World Heritage Sites we have visited.
It is a typical destination for backpackers who travel low cost (in fact we visited it a long time ago, in our youth), but it is also a very comfortable destination to travel with the family as we have done this last time.
Enter here if you are also looking for a complete route with things to do in Salta and Jujuy in 4, 7 and 10 days.
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Map – Best things to do in Jujuy
On our last trip to Jujuy, we traveled by car, which was quite comfortable since we were traveling with Benji. But on other occasions, we have traveled by public transportation, hitchhiking and hiring local cabs or remises.
Visiting Humahuaca and surroundings
One of the most picturesque towns in northwestern Argentina is located between Route 9 and the Grande River, at 3,000 meters above sea level and surrounded by large hills. The puna landscape is already beginning to appear and the altitude can be felt in the place, so be careful with the pointing.
Visiting Humahuaca does not take more than half a day, it is worthwhile to get lost among its narrow streets, contemplate the low houses and enjoy the northern atmosphere.
Things to do in Humahuaca
The main square is the meeting point for locals and tourists and is surrounded by two historic buildings, the Cabildo and the church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. In the square there is a colorful artisan fair where you can buy objects, regional products and handmade looms made by local people.
The Archaeological and Historical Museum is located in the Cabildo. In addition, the building has a tower with an ancient clock that, when it strikes 12 o’clock, shows the figure of the saint San Francisco Solano, who comes out of the tower to bless all the faithful who are in the place.
The picturesque white-painted church dates from the 17th century and still has its adobe walls. The precious altar built in cardon is covered with gold leaf. The interior also features colonial paintings.
However, the main attraction to do in Humahuaca is located in one of the highest points of the city. The imposing Monument to the Heroes of Independence consists of a long staircase built in stone that reaches the large bronze sculpture. The monument symbolizes the struggle of the inhabitants of the place in the Argentine and South American War of Independence.
From the monument the views are spectacular both of the center of Humahuaca and the hills in the background. Inside the monument there is a small museum with paintings by local artists. On one side you can see the Santa Barbara Tower, an old colonial adobe tower, and further back the local cemetery.
Visiting the Serranía del Hornocal
Enabled for tourism a few years ago, the Serranía del Hornocal is one of the great attractions to visit in Jujuy. To get there, you have to take Provincial Route 73 and drive the 24 kilometers that separate the place from Humahuaca.
The Serranía del Hornocal is a rock formation that stands out for its immensity of colors, which is why it is known as Cerro de los 14 colores (Hill of the 14 colors). It is located at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level, although if you want to reach the viewpoint you have to drive up to 4,300 meters above sea level.
From the lookout point the views of the hill are spectacular. The best time to go is in the afternoon, when the sun’s rays fully illuminate the hill and the best photos are obtained.
Keep in mind that due to the altitude, do not make sudden movements and walk slowly around the site.
Although the trip from Humahuaca to the 14 colors hill can be done by car, you have to go slowly because the road is completely gravel, ascending and at high altitude. Another option is to do it in 4×4 vehicles that leave from the center of Humahuaca and charge about 2,000 pesos per person (August 2022).
The entrance fee to visit Serranía del Hornocal is 100 pesos per person (August 2022).
📸 Make sure you book your tour to Quebrada de Humahuaca and Serranía del Hornocal from Salta capital here. Includes: transfers and guide.
Where to stay in Humahuaca
Although it does not have as many lodging options as Tilcara and Purmamarca, it does have cabins and hostels. Among the options we can recommend:
- Urku Wasi boutique hotel: elegant, with family rooms and very good breakfast.
- El Reposo de Mandinga: themed cabins with fabulous views of the hills.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Humahuaca.
🔝 Check out this complete article with all our recommendations about where to stay in the province of Jujuy, for all tastes and budgets.
Visiting Tilcara, one of the best things to do in Jujuy
Tilcara breathes tranquility and like most of the towns in the area, all its life revolves around its main squarewhere the Municipality, the Casanova Archaeological Museum (which houses a collection of pieces found in the area), the José Antonio Terry Regional Museum of Painting and dozens of stalls selling handicrafts.
On a corner of the main square, there is a simple house where the remains of General Lavalle, a governor of the province of Buenos Aires who played an important role in the Argentinean War of Independence, were laid to rest. Today you can visit his mausoleum in the Recoleta Cemetery.
🔝 If you are traveling to Buenos Aires, check out other things to do in Recoleta.
The historic house is very small, with only one room inside with a display of artifacts and a chapel. There is also a guide who explains some things to anyone who wants to know. Admission is free, although a tip may be left.
Unlike most towns, Tilcara’s main church is not located in front of its main square (although there is a square in front of it). The Church of Our Lady of Tilcara has a colonial air and is very simple inside, decorated with paintings and regional objects.
Visiting the Pucara of Tilcara
One of the jewels to visit in Jujuy is the Pucará de Tilcara, one of the many ancient indigenous settlements. On a hill of almost 100 meters high, of the old settlement reconstructed today you can appreciate the stone walls of the houses, squares and places for ceremony.
The Pucará can already be seen from Route 9, but it is in the archaeological site itself , inhabited from the 11th to the 16th century, where one can appreciate the ancient constructions and the entire mountainous landscape that surrounds the place.
The visit to the Pucará de Tilcara is complemented by the High Altitude Botanical Garden, with local species, and the Archaeological Museum (in Tilcara’s main square).
The Pucará is somewhat separated from the town, although it can be reached on foot in no more than 20 minutes. It crosses a picturesque railway bridge, enabled for the passage of cars.
📌 General admission in 2022 to visit the Pucará de Tilcara: 500 AR$ for foreigners (≅2€) and 350 AR$ for Argentine residents. Admission is free on Mondays.
Where to stay in Tilcara
In the center of Tilcara as well as in the outskirts, there is a wide range of lodging options, from hostels to boutique hotels. To recommend:
- Posada de Luz: built on a traditional building of wood, stone and adobe, it is a haven of tranquility. It has a swimming pool, garden and breathtaking views.
- Aguacanto Cabañas: if you are traveling to Jujuy with your family, this place is ideal. Spacious cabins with kitchen and a beautiful outdoor garden. The attention in the place is wonderful.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Tilcara.
Visit Purmamarca and Cerro de los Siete Colores (Seven Colors Hill)
Purmamarca is today the main tourist town of Jujuy, to such an extent that walking through its streets is to hear people speaking in different languages.
Named as one of the “Pueblos Auténticos” (Authentic Towns), it has gained its fame thanks to its location at the edge of the hill of the 7 colors. This hill stands out for the color of the different layers of rock that form it, product of the erosion and the force of the earth’s crust over millions of years. Shades ranging from grays, greens, purples, pinks and whites, make it an exceptional and postcard-perfect place.
On Florida Street and up the small hill El Porito, there is a fabulous viewpoint to the hill of the 7 colors. It is worth making a small effort to go up and contemplate it in all its splendor.
It is best to climb in the morning when the sun reflects directly on the Cerro de los 7 Colores.
📌 Climbing to the viewpoint of El Porito hill is not free, there are people from the community charging an access fee of 50 pesos per person (August 2022).
The hill of the 7 colors can also be seen from the back, through the Paseo de los Colorados. This 3-kilometer route along a gravel road can be done by car, motorcycle, bicycle or walking. On the way you can appreciate the red hills that surround Purmamarca.
The other main attraction to see in Purmamarca is on the 9 de Julio square. Here you will find the Santa Rosa de Lima church, built in the 17th century and maintaining its adobe exterior walls. On one side of the church is the famous Algarrobo Histórico, the mythical tree that gave shade to travelers more than 500 years ago.
The Cabildo is another of the historic buildings surrounding the square, today converted into a cultural center and exhibition hall. It has the particularity of being the smallest town hall in the country.
On the same square, do not forget to visit the Craft Fair, a large number of stalls selling handicrafts such as blankets, fabrics and ceramics that give a special color to the place.
Finally, you must walk through the cobblestone streets of Purmamarca, contemplate the low adobe buildings and stop at every corner to take pictures. After all, the town has no waste at all.
📸 Check here the tour to Purmamarca and Salinas Grandes from San Salvador de Jujuy and book. Includes: transfers and guide.
It is advisable to sleep at least one night in Purmamarca. The town has a wide range of hotels, although a bit expensive, and is usually full of tourists almost all year round.
📷 And if you stay overnight here, take advantage of a night hike through Purmamarca to see the town under a clear and starry sky. Reserve your place.
Where to stay in Purmamarca
Together with Tilcara, it is the town with the largest lodging offer, but due to the large number of tourists that visit it, hotel vacancies are usually sold out quickly. To recommend:
- Colores de Purmamarca: if you can afford it, this is one of the best options in Purmamarca. They are independent houses within a complex with beautiful details and impressive views of the 7 color hill. It also has an outdoor swimming pool.
- Hosteria La Pushka: nice breakfast room with views, decorated and comfortable rooms. Very good attention from the owners.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Purmamarca.
Salinas Grandes, an essential visit to make in Jujuy
About 65 kilometers from Purmamarca, and along route 52, you can access the impressive Salinas Grandes. The paved road, called Cuesta de Lipan, winds through hills with a maximum altitude of 4,170 meters above sea level and a viewpoint at 3,700 meters above sea level. During the trip you can observe the typical landscape of the puna, arid with the presence of animals such as vicuñas and where the altitude makes itself felt.
At an altitude of 3,450 meters above sea level, the salt flats is a huge white, arid plain that is still being exploited for salt extraction. The reflection of the sun on the salt gives a spectacular contrast.
Although the salt flats can be seen from the road, it is best to take a guided tour with people who work in the area. In this way, you enter the salt mine in your own car or on an excursion (you are not allowed to enter on foot) following a line of no more than five cars. The visit makes two stops, one at the salt extraction pools and the other at the small lagoons that are formed called ojos de agua (water eyes). The guide comments about the place, how the salt is extracted and what process is used for commercialization.
📌 The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and charges 1,200 pesos per vehicle (August 2022). During the stops there is time to take pictures.
Before or after the excursion, on the side of the road at the entrance to the salt mine there are handicraft stands and tortillas at a good price for a bite to eat.
The Salinas Grandes have been named one of the seven natural wonders of Argentina and share territory with Salta. It is one of the essential visits to make in the surroundings of Salta.
Strolling around Maimara
Located between Tilcara and Purmamarca, the town of Maimara is a very quiet and ideal place to stay in the Huamahuaca Gorge, due to its proximity to the places to visit in Jujuy.
We stayed in Maimara looking to avoid the horde of tourists and the high prices of lodging in Purmamarca. The village is located about 20 km from the Cerro de 7 Colores and for lodging you pay half as much as in Purmamarca.
Maimara has two main attractions, one is called Paleta del Pintor, a hill where the rocks have different colors, hence its name. Also, on the banks of the Grande River you can appreciate the small farms of the locals, where vegetables and greens are grown and the fields are still plowed with animals.
Where to stay in Maimara
Maimara is a quiet town between Tilcara and Purmamarca with cheaper lodging options than in these towns.
We stayed at the Cabañas Camping Cerro Gral San Martin, nice and spacious cabins with views of the hills and a brilliant attention from Federico, the owner. The decoration of the apartment was colorful and traditional of the area.
Other hotels to recommend in Maimara are:
- Hostería Maimara: on the main street of Maimara, run by its owners who offer a pleasant stay. It has a private garage.
- La Casa del Tata: simple rooms, homemade breakfast made by the owner and restaurant with northern delicacies inside the hotel.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Maimara.
See what else there is to do in Jujuy
– The town of Iruya (in Salta)
Although it is located in the province of Salta, the only access to Iruya is from Jujuy 30 kilometers after passing Humahuaca. It must be taken into account that the road is gravel, narrow, at high altitude and with precipices, so extreme caution must be taken if you go in your own vehicle.
Iruya is located at an altitude of 2,800 meters above sea level. It looks like a town stopped in time, colonial style and surrounded by large hills. Among the activities to do in Iruya are the La Cruz viewpoint and the hike to the town of San Isidro.
📷 If you don’t have your own mobility, check here this excursion to Humahuaca and Iruya from Tilcara and reserve your place.
🔝 Check out these recommendations on things to do in Salta city and make a complete tour of the north of the country.
– Calilegua National Park
About 115 kilometers from the provincial capital, Calilegua is the only national park in Jujuy. In the park you can observe an infinity of birds and the landscape of yungas and jungle. There are authorized trails for hiking and enjoying nature. More information on the park’s official website.
Check here the excursion to Calilegua National Park from San Salvador de Jujuy and make a reservation. Includes: transfers and guide.
This town is located on the side of the road that connects Tilcara with Humahuaca. Many pass through here to buy some souvenirs at the stalls selling handicrafts in the square, since they say they have the best prices compared to the other more touristy towns. But at the end of the square is the Church of San Francisco de Paula de Uquiabuilt in 1691, in whose interior there is a golden altar and paintings in which the harquebusier angels stand outThese are winged figures (simulating a Spanish conquistador) armed with rifles that can be found in a few places in northern Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. It is not possible to take pictures inside.
– Tropic of Capricorn Landmark
Going north, a little before reaching the town of Huacalera, there is a milestone built to remind us that the Tropic of Capricorn passes through here. There is a monolith as soon as you enter, a sundial and the mountains in the background.
⚠️ The Tropic of Capricorn landmark is located next to the road, but it is not easy to see because there are craft stores in front of it, so keep an eye on the signs.
– Go to La Quiaca and cross to Villazón in Bolivia.
It must be said: we went to La Quiaca because of the famous sign that marks the distance to the other side of the country. The sign welcoming you to the northernmost point of Argentina tells you that Ushuaia is 5121 km away.
La Quiaca is also the starting point of Route 40, which runs from north to south of the country.
Then one can take the opportunity to cross into Bolivia for a few hours. On the other side of this border is Villazon, which is a purely commercial town where all kinds of household appliances, computer equipment and clothing are sold at very good prices.
📷 Check here this tour to La Quiaca and Yavi from Tilcara and reserve your place. The tour includes a visit to the Laguna Colorada by trekking to the Cerro de los Ocho Hermanos.
How to get to Jujuy
Although not well connected, the airport of San Salvador de Jujuy receives direct flights from Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Bariloche.
✈️ Search here for cheap flights to Jujuy.
The other option is to fly to Salta which has an airport with a better connection and from there rent a car to tour Jujuy.
✈️ Search here for cheap flights to Salta.
🚗 Search here for car rentals in Salta.
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
- Eurail Pass
- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
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