After Tafi del Valle we took a bus to Cafayate, a little town with a nice feeling, surrounded by beautiful, colourful mountains. Cafayate is known for having some of the best wineries in the country.
Through the center of the town goes the wine route where most of the wineries offer free tours. One afternoon we went on the self guided tour. Unfortunately when we got there they all were in the process of making wines, so tours were not available and all we could do was the wine tasting. The most popular wine type from this region is white torrontes which we sampled in every winery. The first night there we “accidentally” picked up a $1 box of wine to curb our thirst, and the hostel worker begged us not to drink that stuff anymore. To strengthen his point he brought us half a bottle of real white wine from a local winery. The next night we took his advice and bought a bottle from one of the testers that we sampled.
One morning we walked out of town to hike up to a nearby lookout, but as luck had it, the whole mountain was closed for Sunday. The highlight of our staying in Cafayate was a guided tour to Quebrade de las Conchas. A mini van took us to look upon the incredible colors of its mountains. The landscape was full of blue from cobalt, yellow from sulfur, reds from iron and copper and green from an element that we don’t remember. Both the wind, and the previously flowing water that covered the area played their parts in shaping these amazing forms, making the landscape look like something from another planet. At the end of the trip we went to two canyons. The first one was called The Amphitheater. Its name alludes to its acoustics features. When we got there one musician was playing on a guitar and a flute and the sound spread around magnificently. We lied down on our backs, listening to the music and watched the sky through the tall and wrinkled walls of the canyon. The second canyon was called Gorganta del Diablo, where we climbed straight into ‘the devil’s throat’ shortly before it got dark. This one had an echo features which we tried out by shouting loud with another ten people. According to the local indigenous people Gorganta del Diablo was a gateway to hell and The Amphitheater was a gateway to heaven. Both places have an important meaning and are places of ceremonies.