quebrada de las conchas cafayate

Cafayate is one of my favorite towns in South America. It’s small yet packs a punch. This town is famous for its wineries and red rock formations. But as you begin to read this blog about the best things to do in Cafayate, you’ll soon realize there’s even more than that!

Grab your bags, pack warm clothes, and prepare for an adventure through one of Argentina’s best towns!

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things to do in cafayate

Where is Cafayate Located?

Cafayate is located at the southern end of the Salta Province. It’s around 3 hours south of the city of Salta and should not be missed!

It can easily be visited by bus or car.

Northern Argentina is special to me. Jujuy is the province north of Salta and has activities similar to Salinas Grandes, La Garganta del Diablo, and El Cerro de los Siete Colores.

Things to do in Cafayate

It’s hard to compare this part of Argentina with the rest of the country. It’s simply in its own category, from the food to the landscape.

Seeing the Northwest and Patagonia made for one of the best trips I’ve ever had. I fell in love.

There’s more to do in this town than just visiting the wineries (although we really enjoyed them!). Continue reading for some more adventurous things to do in Cafayate!

1. Visit the Wineries

I had to start here because you can’t leave this region of Argentina without trying some of their famous malbecs. This type of wine is the specialty of Argentina and this great really prospers here.

There are many wineries both in and slightly outside of town. The ones in town are in walking distance. Some of our favorites were:

  • Bodega Nanni
  • El Transit
  • Bodega Domingo Hermanos

If you’re looking for a good view of what makes this area so beautiful, then find a taxi and tell them where you want to go. The two that we visited were:

  • Piattelli Vineyards
  • Bodega San Pedro de Yacochuya

These wineries offered amazing landscapes to look at, and the wine was good, too.

If you need a taxi, either walk around or send a message on WhatsApp to +54 9 3868 46-9195

cafayate wineries

2. Eat a Good Steak

If you’re not a meat person, then maybe skip past this one. You can certainly get a good steak almost anywhere in Argentina but it’s extra nice here in Cafayate.

That has to do with the wine. Malbec is paired perfectly with red meat, and you can get some of the best wine in all of Argentina right here.

The prices are reasonable for a tourist town, and the service was always amazing.

3. Explore Quebrada De Las Conchas

If you’re coming from Salta, then you’ll pass through this scenic route just outside of Cafayate. It’s a popular road trip destination with many stops along the way.

You can either go on a tour, ride a bike, or drive yourself.

Quebrada de las Conchas offers many things, from colorful red rock formations to scenic views over the valley and unique listening perspectives in El Anfiteatro.

quebrada de las conchas cafayate

4. Visit Calchaquitos for Their Famous Alfajores

Alfajores are Argentina’s traditional and most famous dessert. This delectable treat is normally dulce de leche between two cookies of sorts.

I had these throughout my time in Argentina, but Calchaquitos in Cafayate was BY FAR the best I’ve ever had, and it’s not close.

They make these fresh daily and they have multiple flavors. Calchaquitos is conveniently located right outside of the square.

cafayate alfajores

5. Hike Through La Yesera

This is a stop along the Quebrada De Las Conchas, but you have to get out and hike some. The hike isn’t long and can be any length you desire.

There are a couple of good viewpoints in this area. I suggest downloading the offline maps with Mapsme, as some of the trails can be hard to follow.

You’ll get to see beautiful and colored mountains like you’re traveling through Arizona or Utah.

quebrada de las conchas cafayate

6. Have a Traditional Northern Argentinan Meal

One of the best things about visiting this part of Argentina is its unique cuisine! Not only do they have amazing meats but other dishes that will make you neve want to leave.

Some of my favorite dishes are:

  • Locro
  • Empanadas
  • tortilla santiagueña
  • Milanesa
  • Tamales
  • Humita
  • Tamales Saltenos

You can get this at almost any restaurant but my favorite is the locro. This is a soup with meats, veggies, beans, corn, and other ingredients that’s full of flavor.

jujuy cafayate

7. Shop at the Local Markets

There are local markets and shops throughout the town of Cafayate. I bought my own mate gourd here. There was also this really nice hand-crafted market right next to our Airbnb in the square.

This is where we bought a key ring holder that’s made out of the cactus bark. It was too nice to pass up!

8. Visit the Sand Dunes

It might not come as a surprise to you but there are some beautiful sand dunes located only 10 minutes drive away!

Head to Los Médanos and look for a place to park near the entrance. I’d suggest only coming during the dry season as this area, as well as others, can become flooded.

9. Hike Las 7 Cascadas del Río Colorado

There’s another famous hike near Cafayate that has a total of seven different waterfalls to see. Some are larger than others but require a guide to get to.

Head to the entrance and you will see a bunch of men. The price depends on how far you end up hiking and how many waterfalls you see.

I heard they might not be taking individuals in there, and there are some bad reviews dealing with the money. But if you can get past that, it’s a beautiful area!

10. Eat Street Food and Relax in the Park

The park located in the center of Cafayate is a laid back spot that has many benches to relax at. I loved coming out here after a long day (probably snacking on an alfajore) and people-watching.

There are some good street food options close by, like tortilla santiagueña, hot dog stands, and others.

How to Get to Cafayate

There are a couple of ways to get to Cafayate. The easiest and cheapest way is by bus. Something I want to do is go back to Salta and rent a car.

Being able to enjoy the scenery along the ride here is something I’d definitely come back to do.

Salta to Cafayate

If you’re coming from Jujuy or visiting Cafayate straight away, then you’ll most likely stop (or stay) in Salta.

Salta is one of my favorite cities in the whole country and for good reason. There are so many good food options I’m over here drooling at the idea of going back.

Head over to the bus terminal and look for the Flecha bus. There will be many busses per day leaving for Cafayate and the tickets should be around $4 – $5 USD. The ride is three hours.

Best Places to Stay in Cafayate

  • Hostal Tierra de Vinos: One of the top-rated places to stay in Cafayate is also a fantastic price! No need to hesitate if this accommodation is open!
  • Villa Vicuna Wine & Boutique Hotel: If you’re coming to Cafayate to relax and enjoy the many great wines of the region, look no further than this boutique hotel!
  • Kallpa: Looking for a calm, relaxing hotel with free breakfast? Kallpa has you covered!

Best Wineries to Visit in Cafayate

Is Visiting Cafayate Worth It?

We all LOVED this town. It’s close to Salta but far away from all other things. It’s a smaller wine town compared to Mendoza but, in my opinion, more beautiful.

The only thing I didn’t like was that there weren’t many bus companies going to other regions of Argentina from here. We had to back up to Salta to get to Cordoba.