Hiking through the Quebrada de Humahuaca or Jujuy’s high plateaus, experience one of the area’s ancestral activities.

In Argentina’s northwest, the impressive scenery of Jujuy is ideal for hiking, and to connect with the pachamama in the midst of a serene landscape with breathtaking vistas of multicolored hills. You can also experience one of the area’s oldest activities: the llama caravan.

Cave paintings in the region show renderings of vicuñas, guanacos, alpacas and llamas, affirming the over 4000-year relationship these animals have with the Andean people.

Of all these species the llama adapted best to the presence of humans, and was even considered a divine creature because of its docile, calm disposition.

 

An ancestral practice

Caravana de Llamas is an ecological rural tourism company founded by Santos Manfredi, a passionate trekker who found his place in the world in Tilcara. To honor and reclaim one of the area’s oldest traditions, and share the experience with visitors, he organizes hikes across valleys, streams, salt flats or ruins –of differing lengths and levels of difficulty– in the company of llamas that he breeds himself.
While the llamas aren’t to be ridden, they accompany the routes with a firm step carrying all equipment necessary for the trip. They are also the protagonists of countless photos.

Excursions of two days or more typically include meals, snacks and camping equipment.

The shortest and easiest hike takes you through the pre-Hispanic ruins of Tilcara and the village itself, with the chance to drink a tea at the end in the “Corral de Llamas”, the departure and arrival site for all crossings. It lasts 2 hours, usually begins in the afternoon and costs US $25. Other options include a half-day trek through amazing landscapes such as Maimara or the Salinas Grandes. These include lunch and wine tasting (US $50); a full-day hike retracing the path of the Easter pilgrimage to a local community (US $100); or plucking up courage to spend the night in a high altitude shelter and returning to Tilcara the next day (US $240).

 

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