Getting There & Getting Around

Since it’s between two ranges of mountains, you can get into the Quebrada essentially either coming from Bolivia in the north or from San Salvador de Jujuy in the south. The Quebrada itself is 300 km long so it takes 4 to 5 hours to get from San Salvador to La Quiaca.

Count on a 24 hour trip between Buenos Aires and the border. If you’re coming from Buenos Aires, or any other city for that matter, you’ll have to switch buses in San Salvador to get to the Quebrada. There are a dozen different bus companies that cover the route; your transportation options here range from air-conditioned reclining seats, to rickety buses often packed with passengers standing for the ride, stopping at what appear to be random road turns for people to jump on and off. Most bus companies drive up and down Route 9 throughout the day, and stop in all the towns, so you can easily visit several villages in on day.

What’s Nearby?

Heading north, you arrive in Bolivia. The border city of Villazón is a good first glance at Bolivia; as you walk through, the differences between the two countries will pop up at you without end. From there you can hop on a bus or train to the vineyards of Tarija, the quaint town of Tupiza, the salt flats of Uyuni, or even go further north to Potosí and La Paz. Count plenty of travel time; transportation isn’t exactly swift on this side of the border.

There are a couple of national parks, lagunas, salt flats and villages hidden around the mountains. Often there is no public transportation, so if something appeals to you you’ll have to rent a car or hitch hike (which is pretty safe up here; it’s not uncommon for backpackers to hitch a ride around the Quebrada).

Southwards, finally, there is San Salvador de Jujuy, a noisy and busy city that seems worlds away. Here you will find higher-end hotels and restaurants; many travelers opt to stay in town and take day trips to the Quebrada.

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