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Puna Route

Catamarca, Jujuy, Salta

Volcanoes, salt flats and colourful deserts over 3,000 metres high depicting breath-taking views.

Boasting spectacular landscapes and towns stuck in a time warp, the Puna Route invites visitors to discover one of the most amazing regions of South America, with out-of-this-world landscapes.

Boasting spectacular landscapes and towns stuck in a time warp, the Puna Route invites visitors to discover one of the most amazing regions of South America, with out-of-this-world landscapes.


Most destinations in the Puna are inhospitable and far from large urban centres, making them ideal for visitors to experience an intense adventure trip. Visitors usually take guided tours or expeditions that depart from Salta City, San Salvador de Jujuy or San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca, as well as from the tourist towns of Quebrada de Humahuaca.

San Salvador de Jujuy. Having a good road infrastructure, this city is the starting point to travel across Quebrada de Humahuaca and along the valleys of the Puna. Near Purmamarca and through Cuesta de Lipán slope, visitors can reach the famous Salinas Grandes salt flats. The beautiful Pozuelos lagoon and Jujuy’s Valle de La Luna (Moon Valley) in Cusi Cusi are located in the north of the province.


Salta Capital City. Amid green valleys, this city is the gate to Salta’s Puna. Through Quebrada del Toro and along a paved road, National Route 51 climbs 4,000 metres high in San Antonio de los Cobres. From this town, visitors can reach La Polvorilla Viaduct, a passage of the famous Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds), and the amazing salt flats and volcanoes of Tolar Grande.


San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca. From the south, Antofagasta de la Sierra is the gateway to the Catamarca Puna. This tourist town is 509 km from Tucumán and 551 km away from San Fernando del Valle. The landscape to get there is an attraction in itself: full of slopes and unforgettable scenic roads. The Laguna Blanca Reserve and Piedra Pómez Field are a must-see in this area. 

How to get there and move around

Offering good flight services, the capital cities of Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca and Tucumán provinces are the gateways to the Puna.

Visitors can travel on the roads in high vehicles or 4WDs. The long distances and rural highlands make it ideal to travel with local guides or tour operators who provide their own vehicles and take care of all the logistics.

There are almost no bus services in the area.


Where to stay

There is a good accommodation offer in the provincial capital cities. 


Once in the Puna, visitors should bear in mind that towns are small and lodgings are modest, ranging from hostels to homestay accommodation to welcome guests. Likewise, there are community tourism proposals and municipal refuges.


When to travel


The best time to travel is the dry season, i.e., April-May or October-November. In general, the rainfall season runs from December to March, and some roads may become impassable. 


Due to the high altitude, temperatures tend to be very low in winter (June-August) and also even in summer nights. A coat will do. 


If visitors want to birdwatch, there is a nature calendar of species available.


Given the current health situation, it is advisable to check the access requirements before visiting the province. Some attractions may require booking in advance. 


Most destinations are rural and should be visited in guided tours or with the company of authorised personnel. 


The height, distance, condition of the roads as well as the huge temperature amplitude are challenges that demand experience and planning. If visitors travel on their own, they should take printed maps or download them on their cell phones (most locations do not have Wi-Fi signal), take cash with them, make sure to have a full car tank and check the condition of the road and the weather forecast, particularly during the rain seasons (December-March) when roads may turn impassable. It should be noted that roads in the Puna can be challenging.


Visitors should be aware of altitude sickness, insolation and dehydration. More tips here.


Important: Do not travel if you are suffering from physical or mental fatigue. For people with cardiovascular disease and/or high or low blood pressure, visiting the highlands is not advisable.

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