Tag Archives: Salta

BIRDWATCHING IN THE CLOUD FOREST IN SALTA

The perfect place for bird watching enthusiasts, in a unique natural environment.


The Huaico Natural Reserve protects a remnant of mountain jungle in a very good state of conservation, adjacent to Villa San Lorenzo, just 8 km from the city of Salta.

It is a private reserve, whose land was donated by its owners to the Yuchan Foundation, the NGO responsible for its management and administration. It comprises 51 hectares of cloud forest, destined for conservation, scientific research, environmental education and ecotourism.

It is a place to enjoy nature, where jungle vegetation unfolds and surrounds you. In each corner you will enjoy the sounds of the river, waterfalls and the fauna of the place.

One of the main attractions in the reserve is the great diversity of birds. Whoever wants to visit and conduct the bird watching circuit, must do so accompanied by an authorized guide. You will be able to observe and learn about the birds that inhabit the amazing environment of the mountain jungle.

The proposal to visit the reserve participating in this activity can be half or full day:

After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up to drive you to the Huaico Natural Reserve, only 15 minutes northwest from Salta downtown. We will spend about 3 hours birding along the trails that will permit us to walk from the lowest strata to the highest elevation of this cloud forest. Amongst the 220 species recorded here, there is a fine selection of colorful parrots, tanagers, hummingbirds, furnariidae and antshrikes.

We will be in search of forest birds such as yungas dove, dusky-legged guan, ocellated piculet, dot-fronted and cream-backed woodpeckers, mitred parakeet, scaly-headed parrot, slender-tailed woodstar and the rather confiding gray-necked wood-rail.  

We hope that our sightings on passerines -strongly influenced by the time of the year and weather conditions- will include many attractions such as white-winged and crested becards, stripe-crowned and azara’s spinetails.

Before midday, we plan to be at the “raptor’s watch deck”, from where we stand good chances to see Andean condor and/or the majestic black-and-chestnut eagle soaring around. As usual, these rare species are never assured but other birds of prey sightings can include swallow-tailed kite, roadside and short-tailed hawks and the shy barred forest-falcon. 

This is the final stop for the half day excursion, but if you are willing to go on into a full day birdwatch, after picnic-lunch in the reserve we will drive eastwards again into the Sianca Valley to yet another private protected wetland. 

An amazing abundance of waterfowl concentrates here including the rosy-billed pochard, white-cheeked and brown pintails, speckled and cinnamon reals, Brazilian and lake ducks, white-faced ibis, coots, herons and storks. 

The reeds and rushbeds give shelter to occasional southern screamer, snail kite and wren-like rushbird, while the surrounding thickets will provide chances for the attractive red-legged seriema, whistling heron, red-crested cardinal, lined seedeater, and many others.

Later in the afternoon, we will drive back to your hotel, perhaps doing the checklist of a very productive day! Without a doubt, an amazing experience with a wonderful staging of these winged creatures.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Includes: Round trip transfers from the hotel. Spanish/English bilingual guide. Entrance fee to the Huaico Natural Reserve. Birdwatching checklist.
  • Not included: Lunch, snacks or beverages. Tips or any other extra costs.
  • Operation: From January to September.
  • It is recommended to all visitors to bring: Hat or cap. Sunscreen. Insect repellent. Sufficient drinking water for the day. Comfortable and suitable clothes and shoes for hiking. 

TASTING NORTHERN WINE IN SALTA

A special location and terroir makes of this winery the first to harvest in the Calchaquí Valleys.


The winery Estancia Los Cardones is located in Tolombón, province of Salta. This is the northernmost wine-growing area in Argentina, located south of the city of Cafayate at 1,700 masl, located at the top of the eastern slope of the Calchaquí Valleys.

The facility, inaugurated in early 2017, was built entirely of stone extracted from the quarries of the same estate. In fact, if you look at the drawing of the walls in the cellar you can easily have a notion of the soil that makes up the vineyard.

We propose you to visit this particular winery taking a guided tour following the path that makes the grape until it becomes a wine that reflects the unique characteristics of this terroir of Tolombón.

Starting with the vineyards, we will learn everything about this peculiar soil. The terroir of Estancia Los Cardones is unique in the valleys as it is rocky, very shallow, with abundant chipped slate stone on the surface and full of disintegrated mica.

The mostly planted strain is the Malbec, however you can also find lots with Petit Verdot, Grenache, Cabernet and Marsanne.

Another curious fact that makes this winery special is that the orientation of the vineyards, the intense sun and the stony soil favour the earliest maturity of the grape, being the first farm to harvest in all the Calchaquí Valleys.

We will continue into the winery to learn about the production process and end up in the cellar, where we will take in how the wine is aged to become the exquisite final product.

To finish the visit, we will go to the tasting room to taste three wines from the winery and check on our own the characteristic flavor of this special terroir from the north.

The golden clasp, it is possible to enjoy a lunch with empanadas, barbecue and a regional dessert!


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Duration: 2-2.30 hours
  • Operates: Wednesday to Saturday from 10 to 18 hs (last tour at 17 hs). Sunday from 9 to 13 hs (last tour at 12 hs). Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Includes: guided tour of the vineyard and winery facilities, wine tasting and lunch as described.
  • Not included: transfers.

 

Rafting in Salta

Just two hours away from the city, enjoy an unforgettable full-day adventure that combines an outdoor activity in full contact with nature and the adrenaline rush of sailing the rapids of the famous Juramento River. An aquatic adventure crossing a prehistoric canyon where fossil and geological tracks are in plain sight.


Only 100 km from Salta ́s capital city, the Juramento River canyon shows a rugged landscape, surrounded by geological formations, fossils and dinosaur tracks. A fun way to get to know it is to descend its twelve class II and III rapids by raft. 

The aquatic adventure begins at 10:30 in the morning at the operational base, with an instructional rafting and safety course. The equipment is delivered and the descent through the rapids of the Juramento River begins.

There are ten class III rapids, plus five class II ones, framed by the imposing landscape of the Canyon: a giant open pit between the mountains. 65 million years ago its walls were huge beaches inhabited by prehistoric animals. 

The descent ends 12 km later at the Los Lapachos area. The return to the base its a 20 minute ride. Afterwards, it is possible to stay for a barbecue.

The experience has an intermediate difficulty rating, with an approximate duration of 2 hours. Includes suitable raft guide.

 


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Rafting starts every day at 10:30 am (with prior reservation).
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Duration: 2 hs
  • Includes: Raft guide. Safety kayak and necessary equipment (helmets, paddles, lifeguards, wetsuits, neoprene boots, jacket and waterproof pants).
  • Optional: Barbecue at the end of the rafting descent. Transportation from the Salta Rafting office to the Juramento River, departure 08:30 hs.
  • Bring a bathing suit, towel, repellent and sunscreen.
  • During rafting, high quality photographs are taken. Optional purchase.

 

DISCOVER THE UNEXPLORED IN SALTA

A landscape that refers to the farthest past on a trip to the center of the earth in Seclantás, the only town in the Salta Valley that is on the other side of the Calchaquí River.


The Acsibi caves are about 20 kilometers from Seclantás, a town in the Calchaquí Valleys, in Salta. You get there by national route 40, entering the Finca Montenieva.

Fido Abán, owner of the estate, and his son René are in charge of taking visitors to the red canyons of Acsibi, located within this private territory about 10 km wide and about 30 long.

It is a place still little known, which almost nobody visits on their first trip to the Valleys. A magical and very different landscape, to which you must dedicate a whole day.

Fido says he was the first of his family to discover the caves when he was eight years old. While the others hunted guanacos in the canyon, he explored the terrain bordering mountains, until he hit upon passages between the rock and reached a small valley of caves.

Very early in the morning, we depart up the mountain in a 4×4 truck. We drive 12 kilometers along the rocky bed of a dry river. When the track disappears, we get off and begin a 5-kilometer hike.

We walk for about two hours through a magnificent red ravine of sandy soil with the most unlikely forms, to finally enter the caves that were once part of the Hacienda de Urbina, when the Malcachiscos Indians washed gold for the Spaniards.

Getting to Acsibi is to time travel. You can see the old and worn tracks where the colony’s carts passed. This area – practically unexplored from the archaeological point of view – is part of the Inca and pre-Inca road system that was used by the Spaniards during the conquest in the connection of the Río de la Plata with Peru.

This fantasy valley of fluctuating forms, shadow and light invites your imagination to play and find the resemblance to the silhouettes. A natural labyrinth with passages between giant rocks and the magical caves that Fido believes were used as ritual sites by the native people of the area. As it is also a place that usually concentrates lightning during thunderstorms, he named them Acsibi; which means something like “the place where the light or either the fire is”, in the Cacán language.

After going through and exploring this ancient and mysterious environment, we take a picnic break before hiking back the same path to the vehicle. 

When in the North, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit a place in the Calchaquí Valleys where history is mixed with the geographical beauties of the area, all in a family’s “backyard”.

 


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Min. 2 – Max. 20 pax.
  • Departs at 9 am from Finca Montenieva, returns at 5 pm.
  • Altitude at the trekking starting point: 2700 masl. Altitude at Trekking ending point 2900 masl.
  • Difficulty: Medium.
  • Type of terrain: walk along the river bank, sand and small loose stones terrain, continuous mild ascent for 5.5km. As the river is crossed back and forward in rainy season wet shoes guaranteed.
  • Includes: Transportation from/To Finca Montenieva, guide and pic-nic. 
  • We recommend wearing long sleeves t-shirt or shirt, sun cap or hat and sunscreen.