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Humahuaca is a small city in Provincia San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina adjacent to the spectacular Quebrada de Humahuaca on the main road from Argentina into Bolivia. With a population of nearly 8,000 Humahuaca is sited along the banks of the Rio Grande at 3,000 meters above sea level. The Quebrada de Humahuaca was the first part of Argentina to be explored and settled by the Spaniards, for it provided a connecting route to the more temperate regions further south around Salta and Cordoba where supplies of food and draft animals could be found for the silver mines at Potosi, the gold mines at Oruro and other mining settlements in Upper Peru, now Bolivia. The town was a stopping place along that route before beginning the difficult climb to the Altiplano. Later Humahuaca was a central place for the revolutionary activity that eventually led to the creation of modern Argentina. Humahuaca was also a station on the now defunct railway that connected Bolivia to Buenos Aires, and its wild west aspect will remind many North Americans of some of the towns of Arizona or New Mexico. A dusty ranching center surrounded by acres of cactus and spectacularly colorful mountains, Humahuaca looks like it should be a set for a wild west movie. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Humahuaca
Humahuaca is dominated by the Monumento de la Independencia crowning a small rise just west of the center and reached by climbing a long flight of steps. At the top there is a nice view of the Rio Grande valley and the town center not marred by the statue. There is also an adobe belfry and several cactus plants, perhaps the most photographed site in northern Argentina.
The central plaza is bordered to its west by the lovely small Iglesia de la Candalaria y San Antonio, a colonial era foundation with an altarpiece dating to the late 17th century. Despite its small size, the church is a cathedral, one of the smallest churches to serve that function.
The center of the town is an attractively whitewashed Spanish colonial area. The church, now a cathedral, is well worth a visit.
Popular events in Humahuaca in the near future
- Serranía del Hornocal. Serrania del Hornocal is a viewpoint for a colorful rock formation. To get there, you can either take a taxi for 250 AR$ or at 1 P.M., a van goes from the bridge to Aparzo for 20 AR$ per person. Get off at the top and then walk for 20 minutes to the viewpoint. The van goes back at approx. 5:10 P.M. The best light to visit is in the afternoon. Be aware that you will be at 4000m to 4300m above seesea level!
- Hike at Uquia. A canyon next to Uquia village provides a possibility to explore colorful mountains. Buses to Uquia go from the main bus terminal every couple of minutes and cost 4 AR$. In Uquia, follow the street next to the church. At the cemetery continue straight on the road and later on a dry river bed, and eventually you will get to the wonderful canyon. Go almost to the end for most impressive rock formations. Return the same way. The church in Uquia is open 10 A.M. - 12 A.M. and 2 P.M. - 4 P.M. and is also worth seeing. Light conditions make the morning the best time to do this hike.
Humahuaca is well supplied with small restaurants offering a range of types of food. Recommended are
- El Refugio, Salta 139 (menus starting from AR$ 20)
- Qhapac-Nam, Tucuman 79 (half a block from the main square, great hangout too)
Mostly the restaurants also serve alcohol, and there are few places that are strictly bars.
There are numerous small shops selling tourist trinkets as well as a daily handicrafts market on the steps leading up the hill to the monument. Most of the items for sale will be familiar to anyone who has traveled in the central Andean region, though there are a few artisans making jewelery and other items in more modern styles.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Humahuaca on Wikivoyage.