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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Salta/Jujuy: Day 3 - Cafayate

On our third day in Salta, we packed up yet again, and headed out to Cafayate, a town 5 hours south of Purmamarca.  To recap, we started in Salta City, drove north to Purmamarca, and then drove south - past Salta City, to Cafayate.  In short, Salta is big.  Really big.  Bigger than we knew when we booked the trip with 2 babies.  Apparently, it is bigger than our travel agency knew when they helped us book the trip - they actually had us scheduled to spend more time in the car.  Luckily, our awesome guide Yaco advised us to alter our plans and saved us some in-car time.

Anyway, the drive to Cafayate was spectacular, a whole lot of spectacular.  Here are some examples of the spectacular-ness:

Some of the rock formations are so unique that they have their own names, we stopped at two, the Amphitheater, named for the obvious reason that it has a great echo potential:

And the Garganta del Diablo, or Devil's Throat.  Not to be confused with the Garganta del Diablo waterfall in Iguazu Park, Argentina's got a whole lot of Devil's Throats to be aware of.  

Jon and I in one small part of the Garganta del Diablo
This formation makes Jeff look tiny, and he's a tall guy
Gretchen slept through all the stops, which is sad to not have any pictures with her during this portion of the trip, but it made for a much more pleasant drive.

One more photo op stop

 Another great part of having a guide is that he steered us to a cool, local restaurant to stop at on our way. The name of the place was "Papabuelo", a mix of Dad and Grandpa in Spanish, and it was a nice, authentic spot with dirt floors and wooden picnic tables under a tent-like roof.  We enjoyed humita, empanadas, and tamales that were all straight out of the oven and served with spicy sauces.  Good food and cool atmosphere aside, the best part of Papabuelos were the prices.  We fed five adults with drinks and salads for under $100 pesos/US$25.

Good times at Papabuelos
Even with the great views and the good food, we were more than ready to arrive at our destination - and it  was well worth the wait.  We stayed at the Viñas de Cafayate wine resort, and it was beautiful.  The resort only had 12 rooms, was surrounded by mountains and grape vines, and had a beautiful pool area - it was truly an oasis after a long day in the car.

Daddies watching babies poolside 
Gretchen and Talia were not sure what to make of the grass, we realized we have some very urban babies.  We need to get them out into green spaces more often!

The view from our hotel's pool
Even the nighttime was photo-worthy
We were sad that our stay at Viñas de Cafayate was only one night long.  We would seriously consider going back to this resort as a destination, it was the perfect last night of our trip.

 The trip wasn't quite over, we needed to head back to Salta to catch our flight the next day.  Once again, we ditched our agenda from the travel agency and followed Yaco's advice for our last day in Salta.  He made reservations for us at a local winery, Domingo Molina, which is open for wine tastings on a daily basis, but only books tastings in conjunction with food on a private reservation basis.  This winery might be located in the most beautiful part of Cafayate.

We had an outstanding meal, drank some fantastic wines and took full advantage of their beautiful grounds.

What a fun vacation!  Thank you to the Newhooks for being our great travel buddies!   It was a wonderful way to spend a four-day weekend in December, and we highly recommend adding Salta to your list of vacation destinations in Argentina.

Now we change gears and head back to the US for our fourth (and last) trip this year.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

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