Sunday, November 10, 2013

Humahuaca and its surroundings (October 16th - 19th, 2013)

We picked Humahuaca as our base for exploring the colorful mountains of Quebrada de Humahuaca. The mountains there were like nothing we had ever seen before. It was like a magical rainbow of rocks and stones.

We arrived on the bus from Salta, where we spent just an hour at the bus station after visiting Resistencia. Already from the bus we could see the interesting colors of the mountains, but it was nothing compared to what we discovered later. Once in Humahuaca, we got accommodated at a very friendly hostel. From there we went to town to eat and to get more information about the surroundings. The woman at the information center was not very friendly and she made us feel that we bothering her a lot. She was knitting the whole time, but we still managed to get at least some basic information from her.

In the evening we went to see the sunset at a viewpoint above our hostel. It was not as impressive as we had expected. In fact, we managed to make a much more impressive picture from the stairs leading to our hostel room.

Sunset from our hostel

The next morning we took a bus to the tiny village of Uquia and from there hiked up a small valley. It was a nice and flat hike, nothing strenuous. However, the view of the mountains next to us were just so different compared to what we are used to. Red, white and many other colors were mixed in the surrounding mountains. This, combined with many cacti we saw on the way, made this short hike a unique experience.

This valley had indeed many colors

Radek at the almost end of the valley

Some of the cacti were even flowering

And some were really huge

We returned back to Humahuaca and went for lunch. Upon entering an empty restaurant, we hoped to be served quickly. To our surprise, in 10 minutes the restaurant was filled up with people from two tourist buses, all expecting food. Fortunately, already before the masses arrived, we agreed with the waiter that we would leave before 1 P.M. to take a van to a viewpoint. We finished eating five minutes before 1, and if we had not been in such a big hurry, we would have really enjoyed this delicious food. At the van, it was bit confusing, as there were more people than could have possibly fit inside. Eventually the driver somehow selected a couple of people who had to wait for another van, which he just quickly organized. We were lucky to be on the first one and even got the front seats. In almost an hour we gained quite some altitude and made it to 4000m above sea level.

We slowly hiked to the first viewpoint and what we saw was just amazing.

These colorful mountains reminded us a bit of stegosaurus back plates

From the first viewpoint we went to other one with similarly impressive view.

What had to happen for these mountains to get such a shape and color?

We then walked back to the road and took the same van back. This time we had to sit in the narrow aisle on the side, as the van was completely full.

In the evening we organized bikes for the next day and I also managed to buy an Argentinian SIM card for our tablet. For the first time in a while we could have the luxury of mobile Internet, and that for a very cheap price (7 pesos for 7 days).

The following day we picked up the mountain bikes and started biking towards the village of Coctaca. It was a dirt road, sometimes in a good condition, sometimes not, with about 300 m of altitude gain. Laura soon started saying: "What was I thinking? I have never enjoyed mountain biking before, why did I think this would be any different?". I heard this many times during our bike. For me, the biking was not as spectacular as the activities of our previous days, but it was just the right amount of challenge and I enjoyed it a lot. In the end we only did half of the circuit, but it was sufficient.

Laura biking

In the afternoon we went to take a look at the memorial that is above Humahuaca and relaxed a bit from the biking. The next morning we just took a bus to Salta.

Laura in front of the memorial

As usually we have more pictures and we also contributed to OpenStreetMap.

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