Sunday, 11 April 2010

Tafi del Valle

Tafi del Valle is delightful small town in the mountains in the north of Argentina. Tafi del Valle is in the Sierra da Aconquija mountain range and is at an altitude of 1,976 m above sea level. It is about 100 km from Tucuman.

The great thing about Tafi is the scenery. The area is in a huge valley plain with a big lake and towering mountains. There are many treks to do. Within a few minutes walking you are out of town and in pristine countryside. Many Argentines come here during the hot summer months to escape the heat and crowds of the city. When you have visited Tafi it is easy to understand why – it is a tranquil area perfect for fishing, horse back riding, trekking, mountain biking, camping or just plain lazing around and having a barbecue or picnic.

The trekking possibilities include the the trek through the valley to the small town of El Mellar where there is a Menhir park. This trek goes past a delightful cemetery tucked away at the bottom of a mountain as if forgotten to the world. Then there's the 13km trek to Cascada los Alisos, a 20m waterfall. Three hours by foot away from Tafi de Valle is the indigenous ruins of Valle de la Cienaga. And there's the Museo Casa Duende which is 6 km from Tafi. The museum explains local myths and legends.

Tafi town itself has a pleasant central plaza and one main road with shops selling souvenirs and restaurants that cater primarily for the tourist trade. The town has a supermarket and other amenities such as a tourist information center and a bus terminal. At the same time the place is very sleepy and ideal for those looking to escape the madding crowds of big cities.


There are a few hotels in Tafi. There's also a Hostelling International Hostel which has dorm beds as well as private rooms. It's called Nomade Hostel. This is a cheap and clean place to stay. One of the staff, Michael, speaks good English and is happy to give advice about trekking in the area. The Hostel has a small guest use kitchen and common room. Affiliated to Nomade Hostel is Auchache Expidiciones - an adventure activity company that organizes guided treks and horseback riding trips.

An even cheaper option is the camp site just a little bit further up the hill from Nomade Hostel. The campsite has a shower block and each camping spot includes a barbecue area. At the bottom of the field there are a couple of horses. It is a quiet and perfectly safe camping spot. Of course, because of the altitude camping is only enjoyable in the summer months from November to February unless you have a very thick sleeping bag.

Tafi del Valle is conveniently situated between Tucuman and Amaicha del Valle and is a perfect place to stop for a few days if you are heading towards the Bolivian border or if you are heading south to Buenos Aires.

Read about a great day I had in Tafi del Valle at Trippy Traveller in South America.

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