The drive from Salta to Cafayate takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours and passes through the picturesque Quebrada del Rio de las Conchas Nature Reserve.
On Tripadvisor, there are over 1400 reviews for this drive : “no words for all this beauty, stunning colours, amazing,etc…”
The Telegraph includes Cafayate in its list of the world’s best drives:
Argentina: Round trip from Salta
Where: The Calchaquí Valleys, in northwest Argentina, from Salta to Cachi, Colomé, Cafayate and back to Salta.
Why: This area of Argentina lies in the foothills of the Andes, with snowy peaks, cruising condors and a strong indigenous culture. Salta is a colonial city, with cobbled lanes, a candy-pink cathedral and high-walled convents. From here, the journey takes in the red-rock desert landscapes of Los Cardones National Park, the sleepy town of Cachi and the Bodega y Estancia Colomé wine estate. Continue on the Ruta del Vino loop to Cafayate (stop at the Domingo Hermanos winery) and Finca Las Nubes, the “Farm in the Clouds” . The return route to Salta includes the dramatic Quebrada de Las Conchas, or “Ravine of the Shells” .
The blog Infused Exposures has a list of what it considers the top 5 unmissable drives in Northwest Argentina. Cafayate is the destination for the top 2 spots:
1. Ruta 40 from Cachi to Cafayate
This easily takes the #1 spot. What Route 66 is to the USA, Route 40 is to Argentina. Stunning scenery, cool hippy history, biker dudes heading out into the open road. What more could you ask for of a route?
The drive from Cachi to Cafayate will take you through some of the most beautiful landscape that Argentina has. From red rocks dotted with cactus to white, windswept rocks, you will want to stop all the time to get out and photograph this unforgettable landscape.
2. Route 42 through National Parque Cardones
If you are driving from Salta to Cachi via Route 33, you will pass a sign for Route 42. Stop what you’re doing, make a left and head into one of the best drives you will ever take. What really sets this route apart making it one of the most unique drives I have ever done, is that you feel like you are hiking but you are remain in the car. What exactly does that mean? That this road puts you right smack in the middle of the most stunning terrain you will come across. Usually you have to get out and go for a hike to truly be in the middle of a landscape. That’s not the case on this drive where you will be immersed in complete beauty.