Catching sight of the Andes for the first time after a long journey from Resistencia was something that will stay with me for a long time.
We spent nearly four days in the Jujuy region and I could easily have stayed many more. There was something really special about this area, a different character to further south which really appealed to me. Jujuy (San Salvador de Jujuy is its full name but it doesn’t seem to get used very often) is surrounded by green wooded hills, with the tips of Andean peaks rising behind, sometimes obscured by cloud but dusted with snow even in summer.
Jujuy itself seems to get overlooked as a base for this area in favour of Salta, two hours further south. Salta is known as a good place for recharging your batteries and enjoying some home comforts if you’ve just come from Bolivia. But it’s also the tourist capital of the north-west and being bugged by touts at every turn after arriving from laidback Jujuy it didn’t seem that appealing (beautiful baroque cathedral though which is definitely worth a look).
People in Jujuy seemed genuinely friendly and wanted to hear more about where we were going and why we were in the area. The centre of Jujuy is easy to find your way around – the bus station is the usual chaotic melee and the streets are busy, but not threatening at all. There might not be the same choice of places to eat as somewhere like Mendoza but there’s certainly enough to keep you happy for a few days.
We spent one day in the Quebrada de Humahuaca, north of Jujuy. The mountains burn with rich oranges, purples and greens, reflecting the different minerals which are found here. The bright blue sky makes an impressive contrast, and the villages are a mix of adobe buildings and simple whitewashed churches, often with gilt alterpieces. Humahuaca was my favourite although I did like Purmamarca the second time we passed through it another day…the square is a nice place to sit and watch the world go by for a while. When we arrived in Humahuaca it was ‘El Jueves de Comadres’ – godmother’s day or basically an excuse for a party and preparations were well underway for Carnaval. Humahuaca was also home to an incredibly ugly statue/monument towering on a hill over the main square but the rest of the town had a lot of charm.