Argentina
Purmamarca

Here you’ll find travel reports about Purmamarca. Discover travel destinations in Argentina of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

28 travelers at this place:

  • Day44

    Geradeaus

    February 13 in Argentina

    Es ist nicht so, dass eine Tour durch Südamerika ausschließlich aus interessanten Streckenabschnitten bestehen würde. Während der heutigen 400 km Etappe von San Pedro de Atacama in Chile nach Purmamarca in Argentinien beispielsweise geht es ziemlich lange geradeaus. Was dazu führt, dass man auf dem Motorrad über allerlei nachdenken kann. Zum Beispiel darüber, ob man wirklich halten sollte, um den namenlosen Vulkan des ersten Bildes aufzunehmen, der vermutlich weit über 6.000 m hoch ist, was natürlich irgendwie sensationell ist. Wenn man allerdings schon 50 km in 4700 m Höhe bei 4 Grad gefahren ist, dann bedarf es minutenlanger Abwägungen um zu entscheiden, ob man tatsächlich die Hände von den beheizten Handgriffen nehmen sollte (ein dreifaches Hoch auf den Ingenieur, der diesen segensreichen Einfall hatte), ob man dann die Jacke öffnen sollte, um das IPhone herauszuzerbeln und ob man anschließend mit erhöhter Geschwindigkeit und damit einhergehend erhöhtem Chill-Faktor der Gruppe hinterher hecheln sollte. Ich bitte also um ein kleines Schulterklopfen für dieses erste Bild, auch wenn es sicher kein fotografisches Meisterwerk ist.

    Ferner kann man auf endlos gerader Strecke trefflich darüber grübeln, wie schnell sich Menschen der Umgebung anpassen. Vor ein paar Wochen hatte die ganze Gruppe noch massive Kopfschmerzen, als wir erstmals in Höhen von knapp 4.000 m schliefen, mittlerweile hat niemand mehr Probleme mit noch größeren Höhen, und es nimmt auch keiner mehr Aspirin oder ähnliches. Erstaunlich.

    Und schließlich sinniere ich über das gestern in Wikipedia Gelesene: Es gibt in Chile, das insgesamt sehr europäisch geprägt ist, immer noch etwa 35.000 deutschsprachige Einwohner, obwohl die größte deutsche Einwanderungswelle bereits 1850 stattfand. Gut 150 Jahre, und immer noch nicht integriert? Wieviel Generationen dauert es eigentlich, bis sich solche alten Identifikationen auflösen und in Neuem verschmelzen? Wann werden sich die Türken in Deutschland vollständig integriert haben, im Jahre 2200? Und wie lange wird uns der aktuelle Flüchtlingszuzug beschäftigen? Damit kein falscher Eindruck entsteht: Eine Abschottung nach osteuropäischem oder österreichischem Muster halte ich nicht für richtig, sie ist mit unserem christlichen Weltbild nicht vereinbar (auch wenn man sicher darüber sprechen muss, was ein aufnehmendes Volk zu leisten imstande ist und ab wann Überforderung entsteht). Aber eines wird durch den Quervergleich zu Chile klar: Integration dauert sehr, sehr, sehr lange.

    Zurück aus meinen Langstreckengedanken widme ich die Bilder 2 und 3 unserem Startort San Pedro, dieser zunächst nur staubig wirkenden Kleinstadt, die sich jedoch abends als lebendiger Backpacker-Treffpunkt herausstellt. Ich ziehe gegen 19.30 Uhr alleine los, treffe später noch Marc und wir beobachten mit Freude im Open-Air Lokal zunächst ein schön geschminktes Tangopaar, das mitten im Lokal seine Tanzkünste aufführt und anschließend den Hut herumgehen lässt. Und auch auf der Straße vor dem Lokal herrscht dank eines (keineswegs besonders virtuosen) Straßengitarristen und einiger enthusiastisch mitsingender Punks gute Stimmung.

    Das darauf folgende Bild zeigt das obligate Foto "Bike vor schöner Landschaft". Allerdings (wer hat es bemerkt?) mit einer kleinen Veränderung zu gestern ... genau, auf dem rechten Seitenkoffer prangt jetzt Che Guevaras Konterfei. Viva la Revolution!

    Salzseen gibt es hier übrigens jede Menge, es wird fast langweilig mit ihnen, aber Katrin und Martin mit ihren gelben Regenjacken machen sich gut davor. Während des Lunchbreaks treffen wir auf eine Gruppe brasilianischer Biker, die gerne (mit Marc in der Mitte) für ein Foto posieren. Es handelt sich übrigens um eine 9000 km-Familienausfahrt (Vater, Sohn, Schwiegersohn ...) ... @Felix und Christoph: das steht noch auf unserer bucket list, ja?; @Amelie: Lust den Bike-Führerschein zu machen?

    Zum Schluss dann doch noch Kurven, wir wedeln von 4.200 m auf 2.200 m hinab und enden in einer grünen Oase mit buntem Gestein um uns herum. Übrigens noch ohne argentinisches Geld, denn der Geldautomat in Purmamarca ist leer und wird heute -karnevalsbedingt- nicht mehr aufgefüllt. Alaaf!
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  • Day43

    To the Clouds and Beyond

    June 9 in Argentina

    I think that a lot of people have a fascination with trains. There is something romantic and magical about taking a seat in a nice carriage and then being whisked along while the world passes by outside your window. I cannot recall when I first heard about the iconic “Tren A Las Nubes”, but I know that it somehow found its way onto my radar and stirred my imagination. Part of the original train link from Argentina to Chile, the Tren A Las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) has become one of the 5 most famous train trips on the planet. It certainly is one of the highest.

    The original route of this train took it from Salta to the Polvorilla Viaduct and the journey took around 7 hours each way. Unfortunately the maintenance of the track has now fallen behind to such an extent that much of the original track has become unsafe for the train to travel on. For the past couple of years the trip has been reduced to a 90 min climb from San Antonio de Los Cobres to Polvorilla Viaduct. This means that it is now necessary to take a 4WD to get from Salta to the train station at Los Cobres.

    Paul and I each packed a small overnight bag and waited in the foyer of our hotel for our driver. Right on time at 7 am an unshaven guy wearing a traditional South American hat wandered in and asked for us. Our final adventure was about to begin.

    We threw our gear into the back of the waiting Toyota Hilux and set off in the early morning traffic. We had not gone far when our way was blocked by a number of police vehicles. There had obviously been a serious accident and one vehicle was on its roof. Our driver announced “I have 4WD”, and then proceeded to bounce over the curb, drive along a roadside bike path, through a few ditches and back onto the road. It looked it could be an exciting day.

    One of our previous guides had already explained that “we have laws in Argentina, but well, you see”. What she was trying to say was that nobody really takes any notice of them. On numerous occasions we had seen that double lines on the road serve no purpose at all. They almost serve as an invitation to pass, especially when there is a blind bend coming up. We had also noticed that all our drivers cut off every corner, deliberately swinging onto the wrong side of the road in an attempt to straighten the curves. Since everybody does it, we have (almost) gotten used to it.

    For the next three hours we climbed steadily through a succession of breathtaking landscapes. The scenery here really is on a monumental scale, and it was not something I had been prepared for. The Toyota coped very well with the worst of the roads and we started to relax when the driver explained that he had driven this road something like 3000 times before.
    Along the way we passed hundreds of cacti dotting the barren, rocky hillsides. A couple of tiny, dusty and neglected looking townships completed the picture. We really were heading into true frontier territory. The only things missing were a few tumbleweeds. Once again the skies were cloudless and my increasing shortness of breath indicated that we were heading back up to near 4000 metres in height.

    Finally at about 10.30 be rumbled into Los Cobres and our driver took us to an unlikely looking little café to buy a few empanadas for our lunch. Soon we were at the little station and ready to board the waiting train. After a ticket and passport check (you need your passport for everything here) we were looking for our seats. Due to the world’s strangest seat numbering system, our seats turned out to be in the very last place we would have looked for them. But this is South America after all.

    At 12 noon the Tren a Las Nubes was underway. It immediately began climbing. The big diesel locomotive strained hard to keep the train moving at a steady 25 kph. Paul and I sat mesmerized as the landscape changed outside. We could not believe what a harsh environment this place is, and what an incredible engineering achievement it had been to design and build a railway in this most hostile of places.

    The train slowly moved along high embankments with sheer drops (just as well David was not with us), through deep rocky cuttings and over a succession of steel bridges. The elevation was already too much for the elderly couple in the next seat and they called for oxygen masks. This train is always equipped with oxygen tanks and nursing staff for those who succumb in the thin air. Fortunately our time in Peru had already hardened our lungs and arteries, and we did not feel the need for supplemental breathing assistance.

    The undoubted highlight of the train trip is the arrival at the monumental Polvorilla Viaduct . At 63 metres high and over 200 metres in length it really is an impressive structure. It was constructed between 1930 and 1932 and required a massive 1600 tonnes of steel. We both hoped that it was still inspected for safety from time to time. Due to the narrow gauge of the track, the doubtful maintenance and the sheer height above the ground, the train slowed to a walking pace for the passage across. Anyone suffering vertigo would be advised NOT to look down as this is a VERY HIGH bridge indeed.

    Once across to the other side, the train stopped and then reversed back across the bridge. I guess this is to scare the wits out of the passengers for a second time. It then stopped for a time alongside the bridge for the passengers to sample the thin air, take pictures and possibly buy some doubtful “genuine” handcrafts from the sellers gathered alongside the tracks. We had been warned that most of this stuff is actually cheap counterfeit copies imported from China. Instead of the “baby alpaca” that every tourist is looking for, it is more likely to be “maybe alpaca” instead.

    The journey back was achieved a little quicker. We were going downhill so I guess the locomotive was in cruise mode or something similar. At 2.30 pm we were back with our driver, who had apparently enjoyed a lovely siesta while we had been on the train. With a rev of the engine we were on our way again. Our next stop was the famous Salinas Grandes, the huge salt flats that stretch for over 200 square km.

    After two hours of bouncing over a rough, rock strewn road we finally pulled up at the side of the massive white expanse that marked the salt flats. With no external visual references, these places are famous for people taking amusing photos that distort our usual concepts of perspective and size. With the sun still shining brightly overhead, the glare from the brilliant white salt was quite overwhelming.

    Our final stop for the day was the tiny frontier town of Purmamaca. We rolled into town just on sunset. Neither of us had ever seen anything like it. It really was something out of an old wild west movie. The streets were made out of inches of fine powder dust. Every few moments a dust devil would whip down the narrow alleyways and stir up a cloud of choking dust that stung the throat and eyes. It looked like it had been a long, long time since any form of rain had fallen here. The surrounding hillsides were liberally dotted with huge misshapen cacti plants.

    The driver dropped us off at our hotel, then disappeared. We really were on our own. Opening the door of the hotel we entered and found a young girl behind the counter. The rest of the place was dark and deserted. We quickly found that she spoke not a word of English. Not a single word. This was going to be interesting. There was no point is asking any questions as it would only have confused both her and us.

    Fortunately she did have our bookings and handed us two room keys. We groped our way down the dark corridor to look for our rooms, while our shoes squeaked alarmingly on the shiny tiled floor. When I managed to find my room I was pleased that it looked clean. I was not so pleased that the room was filled with ear splitting amplified music from a party next door. I have had previous experience with South American all night parties and started to worry if this was going to be a sleepless night. It turned out to be a memorable night, but not for the reason I first feared.

    After settling into our rooms Paul and I ventured out into the town in search of dinner. Our prospects did not look good. The dust continued to blow into my eyes and the music still belched from the party. Although most of the potential cafes looked closed, we did eventually find a wobbly looking place that appeared to be open. We pushed open the ancient door and ventured inside. The place was empty. I half expected to see a sign informing us that smoking was compulsory in this town. I also felt a little vulnerable without a six shooter by my side. We might have to leave the place in a hail of bullets. It was that sort of place.

    We sat down and tried to decipher the menu. You guessed it – not a word of English. We both made a random selection and pointed our choices to the young waitress. She smiled and disappeared. We were still the only ones there about 30 minutes later when our dinners arrived. To our relief the dinners were good and we did not have to fight our way out of the place. The party was still in full swing. I regretted not having packed ear plugs.

    Fortunately the bed was clean and, in spite of the racket just outside my window, I somehow fell into a deep sleep. Some time later I was awoken by a call of nature. I groped for the light switch. It did not work. I was immersed in complete darkness, not able to see my own hand in front of my face. This sort of darkness is seldom encountered in our modern world and I found it quite unsettling. Getting carefully to my feet, I felt around the walls for a clue as to my location. After a couple of minutes of groping, I eventually found my phone and finally had a glimmer of light.

    The light allowed me to find the toilet, but then I discovered that the electricity was not the only thing that was not working. There was also no water ! Perhaps the town had been taken over by bandidos ??

    At least the lack of power had one advantage – the party had stopped. Without electricity their amplifiers would not work. I looked for the time, it was 2 am. When I closed the phone, the darkness returned with a vengeance. I pulled up the sheets and tried to sleep, but it was not so easy anymore.

    The light did not return to my room until 7 am, however the pronounced flicker indicated that it was coming from a generator. I tried to check my emails. Guess what ? No wifi, no Internet and very soon, no power either. The generator had failed. Over the next half hour there were several attempts to restart the generator, until someone obviously just gave up and the hotel was plunged back into darkness.

    I won’t go into detail about breakfast, suffice to say it was almost non existent. Paul and I looked at each other and smiled. We both knew that the past 24 hours would be something that both of us would remember for the rest of our lives. We just hoped that the promised driver would turn up for us as had been arranged. We were very ready to leave Purmamaca.
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  • Day57

    Dragoman D11 The hill of seven colours

    April 16, 2017 in Argentina

    Leaving Salta behind we headed to Purmamarca the home of the hill of seven colours.On the way we passed through a devastated village now raised to the ground after the mass floodings and mudslides in February.

    When arriving at our destination the hill did not disappoint, with a mix of red, oranges, purples and green colours running through the stones.

    As we had stayed in a hostel instead of a hotel in Salta we upgraded from camping to a hostel. Running from room to room we somehow ended up with the smallest room for the 4 of us younger travellers. The older couples had a room each. The hostel didn't have wifi but did have Satalite TV!

    We hiked for 3km around the hill with James running off to conquer each little peak or stone formation. I had a go and reached pretty high up a knife edge before vertigo hit and I had a hasty retreat. On the way down I spotted a man in a poncho it was Bob- now known as Llama Bob! The town was full of souviners and we were sad that we had run out of argentinian money. Hopefully they will be just as good over the border in Chile and Bolivia.

    Back in the hostel I set about chopping onions and veg again for a stew and we had a lovely meal together polishing off all the opened wine before the border crossing into Chile. We crashed back in the room, changed into pj's and watched Pirates of the Carribean and Hook before falling asleep.

    Tomorrow we will leave Argentina for the last time. An expansive and beautiful country with such varied landscapes and friendly people I've really enjoyed travelling through (maybe minus the expense and the long bus journeys!) I hope the economic problems improve for them soon, and don't think I'd hesitate coming back if I had the chance... maybe Ushuia and a cheeky trip to Antartica when I win the lottery!
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  • Day68

    Purmamarca village

    December 6, 2017 in Argentina

    We reached Purmamarca at about 4 pm. The arrival at Purmamarca was announced by the greenery and hills in various colors all around.

    Little Purmamarca, 3km west of the highway, sits under celebrated Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors), a spectacular, jagged formation resembling the marzipan fantasy of a megalomaniac pastry chef. The village is postcard-pretty, with adobe houses and ancient algarrobo trees by the bijou 17th-century church. Purmamarca is a gloriously beautiful spot and an excellent place to shop for woven goods; a flourishing market sets up on the plaza every day.Read more

  • Day68

    Paseo de los Colorados (Colored hills)

    December 6, 2017 in Argentina

    Paseo de los Colorados is a short looped circuit that goes around Purmamarca through some very nice colorful hills. On arrival to Purmamarca, we immediately went for a drive on this circuit. We stopped at a few places and walked to the various viewpoints to appreciate the amazingly colored hills.

  • Day68

    Cerro De Los Siete Colores

    December 6, 2017 in Argentina

    Cerro De Los Siete Colores (The Hill of Seven Colors). Purmamarca is surrounded with these mountains. We stopped at Cerro El Porito for a view of these hills and the surroundings of Purmamarca. The entrance fee was 5 ARS per person.

    This breathtaking sight is composed of 7 different colours, all of which derive from different types of rocks; leading to its diverse range of colours. Each colour/rock is also said to have formed during different time periods. Firstly, pink is believed to be composed of red clay, mudstone (mud) and arilitas (sand). Its estimated age goes back about 3 to 4 million years. The shade of white surrounding the pink is mostly made up of limestone and is aged about 400 million years. Continuing onto the mix of brown and purples, which are composed of lead, and rich in calcium carbonate, and is 80 to 90 million years of age. On top of the purple-brown colour, there is an earthy brown colour that has been detected in the rock. The rocks making up this colour are the most recent colours appearing on the rocks, aging at 1 to 2 million years old, and is described as ‘fanglomerate composed of rock with manganese belonging to Quaternary.’ As for the red, which is composed of claystones (iron) and other clays belonging to the upper Tertiary, it is said to also be aged around 3 to 4 millions years. The shades of green, aging at about 600 million years, are made up of phyllites, and slates of copper oxide. Finally, the yellow mustard colour is made of sandstones with sulfur, and is estimated at 80 to 90 million years.Read more

  • Day68

    Artisan market Purmamarca

    December 6, 2017 in Argentina

    We went to another viewpoint nearby for a different angle of the 7 colors hill. After that, we drove to the main square and visited the artisan market there. By now, it was 5:30 pm. We decided to eat some food before continuing further. We found a street vendor selling empenadas near the church and had a few of them.

  • Day68

    Viewpoint opposite Purmamarca

    December 6, 2017 in Argentina

    At about 6 pm, we started our short trek on the hill opposite Purmamarca. The plan was to be there till sunset and enjoy the colors of the 7 colored hill with the rays of the setting sun. In about 20 min we were at the top of the hill where the viewpoint is. I decided to stay there and wait for the sunset while Hristo decided to walk along the connecting ridges further away from town.

  • Day68

    Sunset at Purmamarca

    December 6, 2017 in Argentina

    The sunset at Purmamarca was breathtaking. The sun set directly behind the town and as it set, the colors of the 7 colored hill started becoming more and more prominent. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Fabulous colors of hills, the dark colors of the mountain behind and the rays of light from the sun created a magical evening.
    Since Purmamarca didn't have any gas station, we decided to continue further to Tilcara where there were gas stations. Here, we hoped to find a place to park and camp in one of the fuel stations.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Purmamarca

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