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Yungas in Jujuy


The magnificent setting of Jujuy’s Yungas is characterised by a wide range of climate zones and lush vegetation.

Sites, such as the Calilegua National Park, San Francisco, the Jordan River hot springs, and towns, such as Valle Grande, Valle Colorado, Santa Ana and Caspalá, are ideal for hiking and trekking accompanied by local tour guides.

The best time for visitors is from May to November, to avoid the wet season. It is also advisable to check the state of the roads before setting off.

What to see
Calilegua National Park and its Surroundings 

The Calilegua National Park is one of the best places to discover Jujuy’s Yungas. It is a wild, not-so-well-known destination that amazes visitors with its high-altitude trails and beautiful landscapes. Its main access is through Provincial Route 83, a road that is an attraction in itself because it offers breathtaking views of valleys and ravines. Several trekking trails of varying difficulty and duration start at Aguas Negras and Mesada de las Colmenas. You can find more information at Calilegua National Park.

The most important nearby town is Libertador General San Martín, 8 km from the park, with lodging and gastronomic offers. You can also visit the Caimancito hot springs about 25 km away, where a tourist resort will help you to relax all you want.

San Francisco, Jordan River Hot Springs and Alto Calilegua 

The town of San Francisco lies right in the centre of the Yungas Biosphere Reserve. The easiest way to get there is from the town of Libertador General San Martín, crossing the Calilegua National Park.

From San Francisco, either on horse or on a 16-kilometre guided hike (round trip), you can reach one of its greatest attractions: the Jordan River Hot Springs, a number of natural pools amidst the vegetation. The largest one is known by the name of Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon) due to the turquoise colour of its waters. This hike is of average difficulty and is open from June to September.

San Francisco is also the starting point for many treks, such as those that lead to the Fuente del Jaguar or to Alto Calilegua, a village with around twenty houses on the highest level of the Yungas. It is advisable to be accompanied by authorised tour guides.

Valle Grande and Valle Colorado

Valle Grande is a perfect destination for camping, trekking, horse riding and bird watching. Located along Provincial Route 83, it is one of the towns you will pass through on the journey between the Quebrada de Humahuaca and the Yungas.

Ten kilometres to the north, you can reach Valle Colorado. From there, you can hike along the banks of the Valle Colorado River to the El Tornito waterfall (3 km round trip), passing by the old local mill. Once in the village, you can visit the Qhapaq Ñan Interpretation Centre, an Inca road system used more than 500 years ago, and which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also experience how the local community preserves its historical heritage in the handicraft centre, especially in their characteristic embroidery.

Santa Ana and Caspalá 

Standing at more than 3,000 metres above sea level, Santa Ana is another option to connect the Quebrada de Humahuaca with the Yungas. To get to the town, you must go along Provincial Route 73. Along its cobbled streets and adobe houses, in its high-altitude landscapes you will spot truces, vicuñas and guanacos. A few kilometres away, you will find one of the most valuable archaeological treasures in the region: a section of the Inca Qhapaq Ñan road, declared World Heritage by UNESCO. The village has an interpretation centre, where you can also visit the Flor de Altea Craftswomen's Association.

From Santa Ana you can reach Caspalá, one of the ten Best Tourism Villages in the world according to the World Tourism Organization. The magic lies in its streets, its people and the handicrafts produced by the local community. One of the most classic places to visit is the Santa Rosa de Lima church, which dates back to 1840.

Its most relevant circuits are the Antigüito viewpoint (45 minutes walking from Caspalá) and the Cascada del Silencio waterfall (30 minutes walking, also from Caspalá). 

Potrero de Yala Provincial Park and Reyes Hot Springs 

Located 25 km northwest of San Salvador de Jujuy, Potrero de Yala is the first protected nature reserve in the province. It features trails winding through the jungle and mountains. For more information, click here.

If you keep going along Provincial Route 4 (a scenic road) you will reach the Reyes hot springs: twenty kilometres of gravel road through an impressive vegetation (it is advisable to check the state of the road in advance). Another option to get there is by going from San Salvador de Jujuy, without having to cross the Provincial Park. 

Nature Reserves to the East of the Yungas 

To the east of Provincial Route 1 the transition between the Yungas bioregion and the Chaco Serrano begins, where a great diversity of species coexists in a unique environment. This area is sought-after for bird watching.

One way of exploring this area is to stay in private nature reserves that offer different ecotourism activities. Another option is to visit the Las Lancitas Provincial Reserve, the only provincial protected area where you can witness the transition between the Chaco and the Yungas regions. This area is also the habitat of the blue-fronted parrot, aka 'the talking parrot'. 

How to get there and move around

 The closest airport to the Jujuy Yungas is in San Salvador de Jujuy, and you can reach almost every town by bus from there. Another nearby airport is in the city of Salta.

National Route 34 connects San Salvador de Jujuy with the town of Libertador General San Martín. From there you can reach the Calilegua National Park through Provincial Route 83, as well as the towns of San Francisco, Valle Grande, and Valle Colorado.

To visit Santa Ana and Caspalá, you will have to go north along Provincial Route 73. Another option is going to Humahuaca through the National Route 9 and then to the Hornocal mountain range through Provincial Route 73, bearing in mind that this is a winding and high-altitude road.

If you are going to Potrero de Yala and the Reyes hot springs, you have to go from San Salvador de Jujuy by taking National Route 9 and Provincial Route 4.

To get to Las Lancitas and Ecoportal de Piedra nature reserves, you will have to take National Route 34 towards the north for a few kilometres, and then take Provincial Route 6.

Where to stay

San Salvador de Jujuy has a wide variety of accommodation and facilities. Another option, a bit more limited, is Libertador General San Martín.

Within the Calilegua National Park, in the Aguas Negras area, there is a wild camping area (you should know that there are no stores, potable water or electricity).

In the towns located along Provincial Routes 73 and 83, there are some basic lodgings managed by local communities, as well as camping sites and gastronomic options.

And if you choose the Reyes hot springs, you can find different types of lodgings.

More information

Calilegua and Libertador General San Martín: 

Private Nature Reserves to the East of the Yungas: 

Santa Ana and Caspalá: 

Valle Colorado, Valle Grande, Calilegua National Park and San Francisco: