218 Hairpin Turns to the Top of the World

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
Trip End Dec 16, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Today I headed up to the little town of Cachi, high in the plains above the Andes. 

Cachi, itself was a cute little town, but obviously set up for tourism.  A tranquil central square had a yellow adobe church on one side and all other sides were boutiques selling craft wine, woven goods, silver jewelry, little sculptures, etc.  

The coolest part of the trip was the drive - we climbed 7,300 feet almost straight up a mountain navigating 218  switch-backs along the way. 

At the top of the pass was a little chapel with an amazing view of the valley below. Although the chapel had a cross and a picture of a saint inside, the locals still practice their traditional beliefs under the guise of Catholicism and the alter was littered with offerings to Pachamama (mother Earth).  Cigarettes, coca leaves, bottles of soda, oranges(?), and coins littered the alter to help guarantee safe passage down the 218 switchbacks ahead of them.

On the way to Cachi, we passed through Parque Nacional Los Cardones, which is a Cactus Forrest.  As far as you can see are tree-height cacti.  It was quite spectacular.

I also got to hug a llama - so one more life goals off the list.

Next up - Bungee jumping and White water rafting!


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Where I stayed
Backpackers Hostel

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