When many people talk about visiting Argentina and the best places to go, they always mention Patagonia, Buenos Aires, and Mendoza. And this makes sense! Those are all fantastic places but one of my favorite places is the Northwest of Argentina, Jujuy. There are a multitude of things to do in Jujuy. You won’t be disappointed.
From eating the local food, seeing the different colors of the mountains, experiencing the salt flats, and looking at cacti everywhere you go. Writing this makes me want to go back. I loved it here.
In this guide, I’ll go over everything that this region of Argentina has to offer and why you should plan a trip up here.
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Where is Jujuy Located?
We actually came from Bolivia and crossed the border at La Quiaca or Villazon on the Bolivian side. From here, it’s only a 2-hour bus ride down to the first major town of Humahuaca.
How to Get to Jujuy, Argentina
There are multiple ways to get to Jujuy, either by bus, plane or a combination of both. There’s an airport in San Salvador but the better option would be to fly into Salta and go North.
The cost of travel around this area is cheap, unlike Patagonia, so if you don’t want to rent a car, you don’t have to. I think the best way to see this area is by car.
There are so many spots to pull over on the side of the road and gaze at the sheer beauty of this region.
Bolivia to Jujuy
If you’re like me and you are traveling south from Bolivia (Uyuni Salt Flats for us), crossing the border is simple.
We went to the main bus station in Uyuni and bought a ticket to Villazon. The bus left a little bit after sunrise, and it took us a few hours to arrive at the border.
Customs didn’t take long and then we headed into La Quiaca to catch a 2-hour bus down to Humahuaca.
In this Northern Argentina area (closer to the border), the bus will stop multiple times and everyone has to get off. They will then search the bus and sometimes your bags as well.
Salta to Jujuy
Salta is another fantastic town. It’s technically not in the Jujuy province but right next to it. The sheer amount of amazing food you can find here is one of the reasons you have to visit.
If you’re flying into the country and then wanting to go up to Jujuy in Northern Argentina, this is where I suggest you fly into.
The flights will be cheaper and so will the rental cars. If you don’t want to rent a car, that’s perfectly fine! Head to the bus terminal and you can find buses taking you to one of the many towns along Route 9 in Jujuy.
Buenos Aires to Jujuy
It’s technically possible to take a bus from Buenos Aires to Northern Argentina, but this country is MASSIVE, and that’ll take a long time.
My best suggestion is to fly into Salta and take a bus up north or rent a car. There should be plenty of flights flying into Salta daily.
Getting Around Jujuy, Argentina
Getting around Northern Argentina, especially in Jujuy, is cheap and easy! The locals love this area of the country, but it hasn’t become popularized like a place in Buenos Aires or Patagonia has.
This means transportation is cheap and that’s going to help you achieve the possibility of seeing as much as possible.
The best way to get around Northern Argentina is by car. Renting a car in Salta is both cheap and easy!
Normally, I don’t like renting because it adds unnecessary money to a trip, which can add up while traveling full-time. But Jujuy is perfect for a road trip!
This was the option we chose, and it’s something I’m used to doing throughout all of my travels. I enjoy traveling like a local, and you can get around to different towns along Route 9 easily for not that much money.
Tours are a great way to see Northern Argentina if you’re on a tight schedule. I’m not much of a tour person but I took one when we went to the Salinas Grandes.
I’ll go over that more later in the article, but the cost for this tour was only $24, and it was all day (including 6 hours of driving).
There are many ways to book a tour, my favorite being to go to the tour company in town and support the locals.
Best Towns to Stay at in Jujuy, Argentina
There are many towns to visit along Route 9 in Jujuy, but the top three, in my opinion, are Humahuaca, Tilcara, and Purmamarca.
We stayed in Humahuaca because it was closest to the Bolivia border, and the photos looked amazing.
If I were to stay in this region again, I’d stay in Tilcara.
This town has it all, from waterfalls to markets and great places to grab a beer. The location of this town is also perfect. It’s in the middle of them, so everything is easily accessible.
It’s popular but not as popular as Purmamarca, so it’s a little quieter in certain aspects. It’s the second largest town in this province with plenty of accommodation to choose from.
Purmamarca is the most popular town, and for good reason. The surrounding area is absolutely STUNNING, and the markets are some of the best in the whole region.
Both of these activities are easy to do and cheap, considering everything you get to see!
If you want to stay in this town, I suggest booking in advance as places can get booked up fast!
This is the town we stayed in as it was only 2-hours from the border of Bolivia. I loved it here as it felt very authentic and had a lot to offer.
The restaurants were fantastic, and I loved the vibe of the coffee shops. It’s also close to the 14-color mountain. The tour leaves from this town.
Humahuaca is home to the famous Monumento a Los Héroes de la Independencia which represents the brave soldiers who fought for independence many decades ago here.
Things to do in Jujuy, Argentina
You won’t have a shortage of things to do in Northern Argentina, from visiting markets, hiking to colorful mountains, and hanging out by waterfalls.
I truly love this part of Argentina and I’m sure you will too!
1. Hornocal: The 14 Colors Mountain
This mountain rivals Rainbow Mountain in Peru but has more of an authentic feel. The best way to see this mountain is by staying the night in the town of Humahuaca.
If you want to do this tour, you can either book it in advance online or go to the bus station. When arriving, you can either look for signs about this mountain or, most likely, someone will come up to you asking if you wanna go on a tour.
2. Hike La Garganta del Diablo Waterfall
La Garganta del Diablo Waterfall is located in the town of Tilcara. This is one of the most popular towns along Route 9.
You can either hike up to the entrance from town or take a taxi. This hike isn’t strenuous and allows you to see more of the amazing landscape this area has to offer.
From top to bottom, it will take you around 3 hours to do the entire hike. I suggest to bring some mate and enjoy your time at the waterfall!
3. Eat the Street Food
Northern Argentina is famous for one of the best street food options I’ve ever had. If you’re a fan of pizza, then you’ll love this.
They are called tortilla santiagueña and are homemade dough filled with cheese and your choice of meat. They also will sell just cheese for those who do not want meat.
I only saw these being sold in Northern Argentina. When we visited here in October 2023, they were around 700 pesos or normally around $1 USD.
I found that the ones in Humahuaca were the best but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
4. Travel to Salinas Grandes
If you ever wanted to visit the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia but haven’t been able to, here’s your chance at something similar!
The Salinas Grandes are Argentina’s salt flats located on the border of the Jujuy and Salta Province. They are the 4th largest salt flat in the world, and it is an easy trip from the town of Purmamarca.
Even if you’re staying in Salta, there are plenty of tours leaving from there for a good price.
5. Eat Empanadas
I’m sure you’ve had empanadas before, but you haven’t had Northern Argentina empanadas before. The dough they use is delectable beyond measure. It’s the perfect balance between a soft shell but doesn’t fall apart.
You’ll find them almost at any establishment and sometimes on the street. There were a few instances when I walked in for dinner and only ordered a handful of empanadas.
All different flavors. It was a blast!
Unfortunately, I ate them too fast and forgot to get a picture of Salta and Cafayate.
6. Try Typical Northern Argentinan Cuisine
Did I mention already that Northern Argentina is known for its food? Well, it is! Not only do they have good asado or meats, but they have typical dishes specific to this region.
My absolute favorite is a corn-based meat stew called locro. Everything about it was spectacular. From the vegetables to the meat, the combination of flavors fit so well.
Below are some of my favorite dishes I had during my time in Jujuy and Northern Argentina.
- tortilla santiagueña
- Tamales Saltenos
7. Hike El Cerro de los Siete Colores
If you don’t have time to visit Humahuaca and see the 14 Colors mountain, then you have to check out El Cerro de los Siete Colores!
This hike surrounds the town of Purmamarca, which some say is the most popular town to visit on Route 9 in Northern Argentina.
There are only seven colors, and when compared to 14, that does not sound like a lot. But it brings the town to life and you can walk the loop multiple times a day and not get bored.
8. Visit the Monumento a Los Héroes de la Independencia
This is a large monument (the Monument of the Heros of Independence) located in Humahuaca that many people flock to daily. It represents the Army of the North, which fought for independence in Northern Argentina.
We walked past this monument multiple times a day, and every time, I couldn’t stop staring. It’s honestly a remarkable piece of art.
9. Explore the markets of Turmamarca & Humahuaca
I’m not much of shopper, more of a glancer, so take what I say in this topic with a grain of salt. I think the best markets in Jujuy were in the towns of Turmamarca and Humahuaca.
Humahuaca markets felt way more authentic and real. I loved that about their markets and their entire town in general.
Turmamarca was a bit more congested with tourists, but that’s for good reason. The square is lively as can be, and there’s no shortage of shops and stalls to go looking for your next souvenir.
Best Places to Stay in Jujuy, Argentina
- Buena Vista Hostel (Humuahaca): This is a high-quality hostel but is still an affordable price. Unfortunately, this wasn’t available when I visited, or I would’ve stayed here myself!
- Villa del Cielo (Tilcara): Sometimes we all deserve a relaxing nice place to stay at during our travels. Villa del Cielo is a villa but for the price of a hotel! It’s stunning!
- Posta de Purmamarca: This hotel matches the vibe of the entire town of Purmamarca. You’ll feel right at home when staying at Posta de Purmamarca.
Is Visiting Jujuy, Argentina Worth it?
Visiting Northern Argentina, and especially the province of Jujuy, is 1000% worth it! I spent a total of a month in all areas of this region and I loved it.
While writing this blog, I started to daydream about my time here multiple times. Now I want to go back! And I will. It’s that amazing.
The food, culture, scenery, everything! I can’t get enough.
Final Thoughts About Visiting Jujuy in Northern Argentina
I don’t think I spent enough time here. It gives off the same vibes as Arizona and that is hands down one of my favorite states. I could sit down and have locro for dinner every night and be a happy camper. I’ll be back one day, but until then, I hope you get the chance to visit this area of Argentina and explore everything it has to offer!