Discover the breathtaking northwest of Argentina, where Franciscan monks first settled, building whitewashed churches in the desert. You’ll begin to wonder if you’ve stepped into a different country, so great is the contrast with the rest of Argentina. There's a decidedly Bolivian influence, with colorful Andean costumes and indigenous markets and music.
The scenery is incredibly striking, with dramatic rock formations, towering cacti and plunging valleys with brilliant orange and red hues. The area is home to the famous "Train to the Clouds", one of the highest railways in the world, ascending to an astonishing 4200 meters. Stay in a cozy hotel in Salta, a particularly attractive town with well-preserved colonial buildings; or a more remote estancia-style property, and explore the surrounding countryside on foot or horseback. The Quebrada de Humahuaca Valley in the province of Jujuy, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is also well worth a visit.