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Iruya Travel Tips

5.0 stars

Insider advice for your Iruya vacation


alecram5
Way lost in time... the town of San Isidro 5 stars
Even after everything I’ve heard of about this town, I was not prepared to see what I saw there. All of the buildings were made of stone and adobe, there were donkeys wandering freely on the streets, goats at home backyards and … solar panels on the background.
There were very young kids playing on the dusty streets, or on the tin roofs and most homes seemed to be unlocked. Everything looked evenly colored by the powdery tone of the mountain, and even so it was so incredibly attractive.
The silence of the streets was in tune with the silence of the mountains and you could hear the subtle sound of the wind. It was such a quiet atmosphere that it was hard to believe that there were about 300 inhabitants in town.


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alecram5
A trek to a remote tiny town 5 stars
The real reason for wanting to visit Iruya, was to reach the town of San Isidro. A town in the mountains that was said to be even smaller and more remote than Iruya. My travel partner and I departed very early in the morning to trek along the dry river that would take us there. It is a 8 km walk and you can only do this in winter.
The fist part of the ride was very easy (see picture) and we had several close encounters with local animals such as goats, sheep and donkeys.
We both wore trekking shoes to leap along the rocky river bed, but our jaws fell down at the sight of a small old lady wearing flip flops, who gracefully leaping from rock to rock, surpassed us in no time. It made us feel like two clumsy city bugs (which of course, we actually were


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alecram5
An oasis in the Andes 5 stars
Iruya seems to be hung and lost in the mountains and lost in time as well. People dress, live and behave in a very simple, unsophisticated and charming way. Some of the restaurants are part of homes, where the housewife cooks for clients almost as members of the family.
The roads are lined with both colonial style buildings and humble constructions and there’s an exquisite variety of colors which seem to come to life during the different times of the day. At the front part of the town there is a deep canyon, and a high cliff (that is probably some 1000 meters above town) provides a kind of natural background and makes up a perfect scenery for pictures.


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alecram5
The unforgetable winding road... 5 stars
The last part of the ride is an incredible down heading one-track winding road onto which the bus seems to perform incredible pirouettes to avoid falling down the mountain. I talked with the bus driver (on one of the stops, of course) and he told me of a time, many years ago, when his brakes failed… he managed to reach town safe nevertheless. I guess this story made me feel a bit safer, but the ride was nerve breaking indeed!
Reaching by car does not seem an easy task either, unless you are really used driving in the mountains.
Whichever means of transport you use to get to Iruya, the memory of that last part of the ride is something you will never forget.


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alecram5
A town hung in the Andes 5 stars
Although Iruya is located in the province of Salta, it is so close to the limit with the province of Jujuy that most visitors to this latest province are likely to reach there.
Iruya is one of the most magical places I’ve ever visited, starting with the fact that reaching there has its own mystery. I took a bus in Humahuaca to get to Iruya (approximately 4 hour ride). Most of the landscape during the ride is a mixture of mountains and deserted lands. Houses by the sides of the road were mostly made of adobe matching the dry landscape. Because during the ride you reach altitudes of 4000 meters above sea level, part of it was no fun… Except for locals people got sick and I was not the exception. Fortunately, this went away after a short while of getting acclimated. What lies ahead is worth it however.


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