Quebrada de Humahuaca (the name ”quebrada” literally translates as a ravine or deep valley) is a mountain valley located in the province of Jujuy in northwest Argentina, 1,649 km north of Buenos Aires. It is about 155 km long, oriented north-south, bordered by the Sub-Andean hills in the east, by the Altiplano in the west and north, and by the Valles Templados in the south.
These colorful mountains were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 2nd, 2003, for its unique and amazing landscape.
The region has always been a crossroads for social, economic, and cultural communication. Additionally, this part of Argentina has been populated for at least 10,000 years, since the settlement of the first hunter-gatherers, which is evidenced by substantial prehistoric remains. Those celebrated hues – orange, yellow, red, pink, gray, black, and green – were formed by marine sediments that accumulated in the rock strata over eons. If time allows, you can hike around the hill following a well-defined trail.
The current population in the region, on its part, keeps its traditions in an outstanding cultural landscape. Hence, Quebrada de Humahuaca is an extremely complex heritage system characterised by elements of different kinds inserted in a gorgeous, impressive and colourful landscape.
The indigenous communities of Tilcara, Purmamarca, Humahuaca and Iruya are tourist-ready with local crafts, clothing and artwork shops, restaurants plus more hospitals than you would expect in an approximate 6-8 block radius.
Most tours organized out of Salta and Jujuy only go as far as Humahuaca and then head back, but this still gets you two tracking-shot views of multicoloured mountains, the highlight of which is the eye-catching Cerro de Los Siete Colores, overhanging the picturesque village of Purmamarca. Despite warnings of inaccessibility and potential risks involved, those who travel to this place have discovered that it’s actually a pretty easy route.
Furthermore, you can visit Las Salinas Grandes, provinces of Salta and Jujuy. When you get into the area of Jujuy and Quebrada de Humahuaca, you are ascending towards the Puna and the Andean plateau. The magnificent landscape may become unusual, as it happens in Salinas Grandes, a salt plain in the border between the provinces of Salta and Jujuy. Las Salinas Grandes is at 3,450 m above sea level, and this is a tour visitors can take from Purmamarca.
When to visit Quebrada de Humahuaca
The best time to visit Quebrada de Humahuaca is from May to August when the weather is cooler and there’s less chance of rain.