Wine country #2 - Happy in Cafayate!

Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 12, 2012

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Where I stayed
Marelen Aparthotel Kalamaki
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did

Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Thursday, July 7, 2011

Well, if we loved Chilecito then we absolutely adored Cafayate! 3 buses later (Chil - La R, 3hr P25 La R - Tucuman, 6hr P126, Tuc - Caf, 6hr P95), over the amazing (and windy!) Anconquila Road, where the landscapes get even more dramatic, the cacti humongous and the animals more exotic (e.g. alpacas on the steep cliff sides), we arrived in the most enchanting, relaxed little town that we both instantly took to.
Because of the near-disaster in Chilecito, we’d booked ahead at a top rated hostel (Rusty K), which was great, although I think the standards in general are pretty good as the town is a bit of a tourist hotspot (and with good reason considering all it has to offer). However, in spite of that, it still retains it’s own character and vibe. So it was a pretty easy decision to extend our original 2 night booking to 4 nights and spend a few days absorbing what the town had to offer - and catching up on some travel planning! Our first day was spent doing just that, broken up with a delicious lunch (including amazing quinoa salad and roasted veg) at Tapoa just off the square.
The next day we took a tour to the Quebrada, which turned out to be one of the major highlights so far! We booked it through the Balcon Hostel, and at only P70 it was a total bargain! The driver (from Puma Tours) seemed really knowledgeable, but unfortunately didn’t speak a word of English so we only picked up bits and pieces, but he took us to loads of amazing spots, including a vast array of multi-coloured mountainous mineral formations (some of which looked like the moon), a natural amphitheatre (where some local musicians performed a brilliant impromptu concert) and a rustic llama farm (where Lou fed a baby llama - and got chased by a goose - very funny but actually pretty scary!). We also had the pleasure of meeting lovely Roeth (from Holland) who has become our travelling companion!
That night, as it was Saturday, we decided to head out on the town! We were accompanied by Roeth, French Vincent and Daniel, a local park ranger and all round wonderful person! We had some good wine and live music, then on to a funky bar, but we left way before everyone else (home for 3am) - we obviously can’t hack the pace anymore!
Naturally, that meant Barry had a stinking hangover the next day, so I met up with the gang to hit the wineries for some tastings, guided by Daniel. At the end we picked our favourite (an organic Torrontes from the Nanni Bodega) and brought  it back to Rusty K for a little afternoon picnic (including the most delicious, creamy local goat’s cheese), where Michelle from London joined us with a lovely bottle of Malbec! Once  that was finished, there was nothing else for it but to head round to the Casa Empanada, where the have 15 different but equally gorgeous types to choose from (and at under a pound each you could eat as many as you wanted!).
On Monday, our last day there, Daniel had organised a day of horse-riding and a visit to a traditional finca, which seemed like a lovely, healthy, refreshing way to start the week - until we got to our first stop - a local artisan brewery where we sampled to beers for breakfast! Then it was back on the horses, riding through  rustic villages, gorgeous countryside, barren desert - all with the snow capped peaks in the distance while the sun shone down on us! We ended up back at the finca, which was unbelievably authentic, a real slice of a totally different way of life - and the family were so generous and warm. Inevitably, we spent the afternoon sampling their own organic wines (brewed right there) and just generally enjoying and absorbing the atmosphere - apart from a quick jump back on the horses to see the animals! 

We could’ve easily spent much more time there, but Bolivia was calling out to us for the next adventure, so off we head……………..

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Annabel on

Oh Lou, it brings back such wonderful memories!! The most favourite place of my trip. Isn't it just like God's country? I am so glad you enjoyed it too. Ax

Barny on

Beer for breakfast - sounds like a dream! Very jealous!

Susana on

Nice to see you enyoin your trip

Ruth on

Looks amazing

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