This is the most beautiful part of the Province of Tucumán. So beautiful, that I returned from Tafi del Valle on a taxi (25 miles each way) to take photos. It is very similar to the National Parks of Southern Argentina, although there is no lake in this part of the road (there is one further on at El Mollar, but with no vegetation). The road winds upwards between mountains covered with a lively green forest and bordering a crystal clear stream, where you can fish small rainbow trout. The forest lasts some 15 miles along the road and then disappears, but this area is really beautiful. Once you reach the first town on the way back (El Mollar) you turn off to visit the Los Menhires park. The Los Menhires park has 220 rock statues, some of them 2600 years old, that belong to the Tafi culture, and that were in the bed of the river, that were going to be covered over by the artificial lake formed by the dam at El Mollar, so they were relocated here, in a drier area, with better conservation possibilities. Some people claim that they were placed without a specific order, as they were found in the river, but in any case, they are the live testimony of tribes that lived here 600 years before Christ.
Since I am fonder of Nature than of Museums, I enjoyed more the Quebrada de los Sosa, but for those interested in Archaeology, a visit to the Parque Los Menhires is a must. At the Tafi del Valle town there is also a very nice Jesuit Museum, with some clayworks from communities older than the Inca Empire, such as the Quilmes and Tafi Indians. The fishing possibilities of this area are limited to one-pound rainbow trout, but on the way from Cafayate to Salta you will pass by Cabra Corral, where very nice dorados (ten pounds to twenty pounds) may be caught. In Tafi del Valle I found a very nice restaurant with budget prices on the main street, but do not remember its name. I ate grilled boga, and it was delicious. If you can get "dorado a la parrilla al limón" (grilled dorado with lemon juice) you will really enjoy it. Hotels are rather expensive by local standards, about 30 dollars per night for a single room, with good comfort.
I stayed at the Huayra Puca hotel, Los Menhires 71 Phone/Fax: (54-3867) 42-1190 RECOMMENDED The road from Tafi del Valle onwards will be more desertic, although there is a lot of cattle in the mountainside. And you will find the typical "pircas" (stone fences) that were used by the Indians centuries ago. I am absolutely sure that you will enjoy visiting this area.