Argentina Day 15 – Humahuaca & Cerro de los 14 Colores
An article by Dave
The word quebrada means ‘broken valley’. The Quebrada de Humahuaca is a mountain valley that has been in use as a cultural route between the Andean highlands and the plains for over 11,000 years. It is part of the original Inca trail. People in the small towns still speak Quechua and Aymara and often take siestas in the afternoon!
The town of Humahuaca is at the end of the quebrada at 9880 feet above sea level and about an hour drive from Purmamarca.
We wanted to be there by noon to see Cabildo’s Clock at the town hall in the main square. A carving of Saint Francisco Solano pops out of the clock to bestow a blessing on the town. There was quite a crowd amassed to receive the blessing.
From Humahuaca we drove 24 km to the Hornocal mountain range. The road was gravel, steep and very twisty.
Soroche, or altitude sickness is a very real possibility this high in the mountains. We have definitely noticed the altitude since being in Purmamarca. Just climbing a flight of stairs makes us huff and puff! The last time we were at crazy elevations in Peru, we were offered coca tea to prevent/treat soroche. Dave did not like the ‘loopy’ feeling the tea caused, so this trip we decided to buy some coca candies in the market.
At the top of the ‘fun’ road is a vista over the Hill of 14 Colours
Colours in the rocks – light red (iron), dark red (zinc), blue (cobalt), green (copper)
Dinner tonight was at El Meson, said to be the #1 restaurant in Purmamarca (who decides these things?). It was a set menu with a few choices for appy, entree and dessert. Everything was really yummy.
Tomorrow we head up to a salt flat over the Lipan Slope, for those of you who know motorcycle bucket list roads.