Salar de Antofalla, NW Argentina

Deserts & Gauchos of North-West Argentina

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

12 Days

Prices Start from

$5,799pp(ex. flights)

Embark on an extraordinary desert adventure by 4×4 in the company of a private guide, travelling deep into the heart of north-west Argentina on an off-piste and mostly unpaved road journey through epic and remote landscapes.

This journey moves overland from Salta to the high arid plateau of the Puna region. In the company of an expert guide, travel off road by 4×4, passing through isolated villages, high altitude, volcano strewn deserts, vast salt flats, towering dunes and some 19,000 pink flamingos. End with a stay at a historical estancia for hospitality, tradition and fabulous food and wine.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Oasis de Antofalla, NW Argentina 1

4x4 Road Journey

Go off-roading through the breath-taking scenery of Puna with an expert guide.

Flamingo, shot by Alfie Bowen 2

Flamingos en Masse

Visit high altitude lakes where huge flocks of flamingos gather.

View of people climbing sand dune, North west Argentina 3

Labyrinth Desert

Travel through a highly remote and little-known 10-million-year-old fossil and dune desert.

Gaucho, Estancia los Potreros, Cordoba, Argentina 4

Stay on a Working Farm

Experience rural Argentine life on a traditional estancia.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Argentina on your wishlist? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Day 1

    Buenos Aires

  • Day 2

    Buenos Aires - Salta

  • Day 3

    Salta - El Peñón

  • Day 4

    El Peñón Desert Adventure

  • Day 5

    El Peñón Desert Adventure

  • Day 6

    El Peñón Desert Adventure

  • Day 7

    El Peñón - Salta

  • Day 8

    Salta - Cordoba

  • Days 9 - 10

    Cordoba

  • Day 11

    Cordoba - Buenos Aires

  • Day 12

    Buenos Aires

Day 1

Buenos Aires

Transfer to your accommodation in the city.

Day 2

Buenos Aires - Salta

Transfer to the airport for flights to Salta. On arrival transfer to your accommodation to overnight.

Day 3

Salta - El Peñón

Meet with your guide and begin your El Peñón Desert Adventure. Cross the Quebrada de las Conchas, a 65 kilometre canyon dating back millions of years and awash with fossils. Continue through the desert highlands of the Puna passing huge sand dunes and some of the highest volcanoes in the world. Overnight at the small Oasis del Peñón, your base for the next four nights.

Day 4

El Peñón Desert Adventure

Today begins at the edge of Campo de Piedra Pómez at the Carachi Pampa basin, surrounded by black lava fields and a lagoon, where the Andean flamingo, and the James’ (or puna) flamingo are found. Continue onto the Natural Reserve Campo de Piedra Pómez, a landscape of natural rock sculptures carved by the elements over thousands of years. Return to El Peñón in time for sunset.

Day 5

El Peñón Desert Adventure

Drive to the high altitude Andean lake of Laguna Grande Reserve – sitting at 4150 metres, each Spring and Summer this saline lake is host to huge gatherings of flamingo. Continue onto Cerro Galán, one of the world’s largest volcanic calderas whose lakeside floor and steep walls offer shelter to flocks of flamingos and ducks. Depending on time of travel you may also visit the region of Real Grande, home to ancient petroglyphs.

Day 6

El Peñón Desert Adventure

Journey to Salar de Antofalla, the largest oasis in the Puna, longest in the world and one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible places in the region. The salt flats here display an incredible variety of colours. Visit the oasis village of Antofalla, meet the tiny community of 60 shepherds and have lunch in one of their homes overlooking the shimmering salt flats.

Day 7

El Peñón - Salta

Embark on a true Andean crossing from the Puna of Catamarca, through the Puna of Salta to the Quebrada del Toro. Traverse Salar del Hombre Muerto and its Laguna Verde, an important nucleus in the extraction of Lithium. Cross coloured salt flats for 70 kilometres reaching the mining town of San Antonio de los Cobres and Quebrada del Toro gorge with its historic C-14 railway architecture. Continue to Salta to check into your accommodation.

Day 8

Salta - Cordoba

Transfer to the airport for flights to Cordoba. On arrival transfer to your estancia accommodation.

Days 9 - 10

Cordoba

Spend the next two days relaxing and enjoying some of the ranch activities on offer – walking, riding and gaucho experiences.

Day 11

Cordoba - Buenos Aires

Transfer to the airport for flights back to Buenos Aires. Transfer to your accommodation and spend the afternoon at leisure. Revel in the street corner tango and delicious eateries of this vibrant city.

Day 12

Buenos Aires

Transfer to airport for onward travel.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Desert landscape with jeep in distance, North west Argentina
Puna landscapes

The Road to El Peñon

Based out of the simple but comfortable Hosteria El Peñon, spend five days covering daily distances of between 130 and 500 kilometres, traversing a range of terrains, from gravel to dirt, asphalt and salt tracks, and reach altitudes of up to 4,750 metres. The road to El Peñon journeys through some of the most spectacular and distant terrain in the world. Follow yellow fields of native grasses, white lagoons and narrow deserted canyons. In the middle of the high altitude desert, find the green valley that thrives as a result of a natural water spring and cross the blinding white mirror of the salt flats. Our Product Director was left lost for words during his journey through this region – read his blog here.

Two horse riders looking towards hills, Estancia Los Potreros, Cordoba, Argentina
Estancia Los Potreros

Gaucho Experience

Spend three nights at the traditional Estancia Los Potreros, for a unique and privileged insight into the old-world charms of rural Argentine life. While a guest at this family run 6,500 acre working organic cattle farm, spend time with the gauchos that still work on horseback, learning more about their world, and participating in activities from driving cattle to sheep shearing. With a herd of over 100 horses there are options for riders of all abilities, however if riding is not your passion there are fabulous walking trails, abundant bird life or simply enjoy the culture, home cooked food and local wines. The slow way of life and wild rugged landscapes make a perfect end to this holiday.

How does this holiday make a positive impact?

Estancia Los Potreros runs an organic farm with a strong ‘farm to table’ ethos and a zero food waste policy. Even the wine bottles are transported back to the winery where they are re-filled with Los Potreros’ own label wine.

Our partners in Argentina share their knowledge and experience of 18 years, providing training and integration for the development of rural and community adventure tourism, ensuring local guides receive the highest training and opportunities.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Legado Mitico Buenos Aires £££££

  • Argentina
  • City

A highly conceptual property founded on the notion of Argentine identity, Legado Mitico is a boutique property that is all at once avant-garde and undeniably homely. Despite its position in the hub of the bohemian barrio of Palermo Soho, the townhouse is a tranquil oasis peppered with foliage and draping vegetation.

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Finca Valentina £££££

  • Argentina
  • B&B, Motel and Guesthouse

A traditional white-washed country house that is shrouded by indigenous trees and climbing greenery, Finca Valentina is a characterful family-run property that lies in the foothills of the Andes. Outside, a pool is partly shaded by trees and encircled by lounge chairs, while inside an elegant restaurant boasts a culturally diverse menu of home-cooked dishes owing to the influence of the Italian owners.

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Estancia Los Potreros £££££

  • Americas - South
  • Farmstead and Ranches

Nestled between the pampas and the Andes, in the heart of Cordoba, lies Estancia Los Potreros.

View Property

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Bed and breakfast is included throughout, with the exception of the guided El Penon desert adventure when all meals are included. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From $5,799 Per person

When to travel

Argentina in January

December to February is the peak of summer in Argentina, bringing long summer days and pleasant temperatures. As this is the busiest time of year to travel, expect peak prices and we recommend planning 9-12 months in advance for availability. Summer is the best time of year for all the outdoor experiences that the country has to offer.

Argentina in February

January and February are the peak of summer in Argentina, bringing long summer days and pleasant temperatures. As this is the busiest time of year to travel, expect peak prices and we recommend planning 9-12 months in advance for availability. Summer is the best time of year for all the outdoor experiences that the country has to offer.

Argentina in March

March brings the end of summer across the country. If you are planning to visit Patagonia, it is best to start here in early March as it is still accessible.

Argentina in April

April starts the autumn in Argentina. As the temperatures lower, crowds thin across the country. This can be a great time to avoid large numbers of visitors and to experience the autumnal colours across the countryside.

Argentina in May

As the country moves further into late autumn, temperatures continue to drop. However, cooler temperatures can make for a pleasant visit to Iguazu Falls, Mendoza and the desert avoiding the crowds.

Argentina in June

June begins the winter season across the country. Although Patagonia becomes more challenging to access, this can be a good time to visit other more popular destinations further north without the crowds. This is also the best time to view the southern right whales off the Valdes Peninsula.

Argentina in July

July and August are the depths of winter for the country. This brings much cooler temperatures and snow in some regions. Although perhaps not an ideal time to see the highlights, this can be a good time to visit Buenos Aires in an off-peak time with cooler temperatures.

Argentina in August

July and August are the depths of winter for the country. This brings much cooler temperatures and snow in some regions. Although perhaps not an ideal time to see the highlights, this can be a good time to visit Buenos Aires in an off-peak time with cooler temperatures.

Argentina in September

September officially welcomes spring across Argentina. This is a great time to experience the northern region without the peak season prices or crowds.

Argentina in October

As the country moves further into spring, the countryside starts to bloom with wildflowers. This is a great time of year to get involved with outdoor activities while temperatures are still cool and the crowds are quieter.

Argentina in November

November is a great time of year to visit as summer begins yet beating the peak season crowds that come in December. Patagonia is in full bloom and the vineyards of Mendoza are surrounded by the stunning snow-capped Andes.

Argentina in December

December in Argentina brings the start of the peak season. Temperatures are warm, although due to the size of the country these can vary so it is advisable to bring layers. Weather is at its most desirable for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Following from the spring rains, the falls of Iguazu are at their most impressive during December.

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