Jujuy Province, Northwest Argentina
This past week I visited a place quite different in almost every way from where I live in Buenos Aires, the beautiful Jujuy Province! When compared to Buenos Aires, Jujuy Province seems like another country with its own distinct culture, environment, cuisine, and accent. I spent four days traveling the region where I saw beautiful mountains, rare wildlife like the vicuña, and ate foods that are native to the indigenous peoples of the region. From my base in Tilcara, I visited nearby ancient Incan ruins in Pucará de Tilcara, visited old towns like Humahuaca, walked across salt flats in Salinas Grandes, and gazed at the stunning Cerro de los Siete Colores (Peak of the Seven Colors) in Purmamarca.
UTC-3 (Because Argentina does not observe daylight savings time, that means it is one hour ahead of where you all are in the Eastern United States. In other words, it is currently 6:05 PM where you all are!
Location (Latitude, Longitude):
23° 34′ S / 65° 23′ W
How far did I travel this week?
How did I get around this week?
Over the past few days in the Northwest of Argentina, I have gotten around using both planes and buses. I traveled to the region using a combination of both. We first took a two-hour plane ride from Buenos Aires to the city of Salta. Had we gone by bus, it would have taken us nearly 18 hours!
After that, we boarded a bus that took us through the mountains to Tilcara, the town where we stayed at night. Because the area is sparsely populate, we had to take buses to travel between the various places that we visited.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?
On our second day in Jujuy we visited the pre-Incan ruins at Pucará de Tilcara. The area has been inhabited by people for over 10,000 years and was home to a complex town of over 2,000 people in the 12th century. Since 1908, archaeologists have been excavating the site all the while rebuilding some of its former structures. It was really amazing to walk around a place that people have been living in for ten centuries. To put that in perspective, Pucará de Tilcara was founded more than 600 years before New York City.
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 1
What is the air temperature right now?
How was the weather this week?
The weather varied greatly from each place we visited, due in the large part to the altitude of the region. Because Jujuy Province is dominated by the Andes Mountains (which are the tallest in the world outside of Asia), much of the region has a high altitude. Because of this, when we were at the bottom of mountains the weather was quite pleasant but when we reached the tops it was often much colder and quite windy.
What animals did I see this week?
I saw many different kinds of animals this week that cannot be found in Buenos Aires. The two coolest animals that I saw were the vicuña, which is a distant relative of the camel, and the llama, which is a domesticated animal found throughout the Andes.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?
The Cerro de los Siete Colores, or the Peak of the Seven Colors, wins this week. This mountain, which is located in Purmamarca, is famous because the rocks that form it are of seven distinct colors. We had to take a short hike from town to see it, but it did not disappoint! Its colors were beautiful under the setting sun and I can say without a doubt that it was one of the most gorgeous places that I have ever been in my entire life.
Other Nature News:
Another really neat place we visited were the salt flats at Salinas Grandes. A salt flat is natural geographic formations that are usually located in desert regions. The flats at Salinas Grandes are many miles wide and the ground there is made of solid salt that can be measured in places up to 35 feet!
It really was quite bizarre visiting there and it almost felt as if we were on another planet. But, we were able to take some really remarkable pictures!
What languages are spoken here?
What type of money is used here?
How much does a bottle of water cost?
6 Argentine pesos, or about 75 cents
What was the best meal this week?
Llama! One night I had the chance to try a steak-like meal made from the meat of llama. It had an interesting texture that was somewhat different from beef, but it had a somewhat gamey taste that I really enjoyed. It really was quite a treat to try something that one can only find in a few places in the world
What music did I listen to this week?
On various occasions, we had the opportunity to listen to a variety of music that is heavily influenced by the indigenous peoples of the area. That is, the people who are the descendants of the peoples native to the area (much like Native Americans in the United States). While the songs were usually sung in Spanish, instruments that are indigenous in nature often accompanied them. One such instrument is the pan flute. Unlike a common flute that has only one pipe, these instruments can have up to ten! Rather than blowing into one pipe with finger holes, the musician instead blows into pipes all of different lengths in order to hit a different note. I will post a video of a band playing some of this music!