On the way to Salta we decided to stop by Cafayate, as we had read it was one of the top 5 places to stop by in Argentina. We could tell why when we got there: it was this little dusty colonial town surrounded by fierce looking mountains and awesome looking vineyards. We loved it at first sight!
We got there late afternoon and struggled for a couple of hours to find a place to eat – strict siesta time combined with low season is definitely not a good combination when it comes to finding places open between 2-6 pm. Since this was the 2nd best wine region of Argentina we did come across this great winery though, and realised the wine tasting was for free! Later on it became obvious to us that wine tasting is much cheaper than in Mendoza, and in truth we also liked the wines better. The grapes were coming from vineyards 1700m high (1000m higer than the Maipu ones), so that of course makes a difference, plus apparently the wines there are known for their originality. We were not the ones to be upset about too much wine tasting experiences :), but when you do come to Argentina you might want to bear this in mind.
One of the most significant things to do around Cafayate (besides the wineries, the goat cheese factory and the tasting of local food) is to see the Quebrada de Cafayate, an 180km valley of the most incredible rock formations! They were produced by tectonic movements in the past 2 million years, so it’s a rather recent geological wonder, they say :).
We were really impressed by the variety of colors in the rocks – as we were explained, it had to do with the most recent layer of metal. What was even more impressive were the 5-10 different colors on the same rock! The place would certainly be a paradise for geologists, but even if you’re a complet ignorant when it comes to rock formations you cannot not be touched by the incredibleness of this place… Do make sure you add it to your itinerary if you head North of Argentina. You won’t regret it!:)
It was also in Cafayate that we met Daniela, a brave German lady who’s one of the travelers that leave an impression on your life. Her 27th birthday present was a broken spine after she and a group of new friends jumped into a waterfall in Argentina during her first big solo trip on another continent. Far from civilization and unable to move, she depended on others to carry her on their backs over waters and through forests for hours, and upon reaching a hospital was told she would never walk again.
Only she knows what her mind and heart went through and the personal strenght she acquired during the moments she was completely alone on a hospital bed in a far away country. She had to lie in bed for months after she was sent back to Europe, and she eventually started walking again… because she could not imagine otherwise.
Today she’s a beautiful, courageous and inspiring lady countinuing to travel the world. And if there’s one thing she doesn’t do anymore, that’s surely jumping in waterfalls :).
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