Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 17 Oct, 2006
As I mentioned in the overview, there is only one road to Iruya, from Humahuaca. But knowing that Purmamarca is beautiful, I got off there from the bus and hired a taxi all the way from Purmamarca to Iruya, nearly eighty miles each way, after…Read More
As I mentioned in the overview, there is only one road to Iruya, from Humahuaca. But knowing that Purmamarca is beautiful, I got off there from the bus and hired a taxi all the way from Purmamarca to Iruya, nearly eighty miles each way, after visiting the "Paseo de los Colorados" in Purmamarca, a place where traditional tours do not take you. It is only two miles away from the center of the village, but some local travel agencies prefer you to spend your time buying crafts from the artisans. Only God knows why... maybe the tour drivers receive a percentage from the artisans, you never know... The whole trip from Purmamarca to Iruya through Humahuaca (a full-day trip) cost me some 45 dollars, but prices have increased since then, and it could be costing about 60 dollars now. I will soon write another note on Purmamarca (Jujuy).
So after visiting the Paseo de los Colorados, and enjoying beautiful colours in the mountainside, we pass through Tilcara, where we see the Pucara, a fortification of the Incas, that on this trip we see at a distance. Then we buy some typical "empanadas" in Humahuaca and start off our trip to Iruya. We see some goats crossing the road, and then make a stop at Iturbe to see a typical goat corral in the mountainside. Half the road from Humahuaca to Iruya is in the province of Jujuy and the other half in the province of Salta. It is a 50-mile earth road, that gets cut when it rains heavily (in the Summer season). But I did this trip after checking the weather forecast, and enjoyed the trip with dry weather and a beautiful blue sky. I saw a herd of sheep in the mountainside and asked the driver to stop. I was about to take my second photo, when the driver told me in a rush: "Let's get out of here!" Then I noticed that the pastor of the herd, we aiming at us with a pastor's sling. The superstition amongst the collas that live in the mountain is that if you take a photo of them, you are trying to steal their soul... We came across two very nice and well dressed young girls. I was preparing the camera for a photo, when the first girl, about 8 years old, said politely: "If you want photos, you will have to pay". I asked the girl how much (I had given two pesos to a colla in Humahuaca for a photo). And the five year old girl answered with determination: "Ten pesos!". So I said thank you, took no photos and continued my trip. Of course, ten pesos is slightly more than three dollars, but that is what I spend normally for a budget lunch in Argentina... (In Salta you can get a hamburger with tomato, ham and cheese for a dollar, if you know where to go...)
Half an hour later we arrived at the border of both provinces. So far the scenery was mostly arid, but now, it started to become green. We went through some irrigated areas, and stopped to take a photo of a newborn donkey, at the side of the road. Two sweet little children came out of nowhere, posed for a photo, and we gave them a tip. Half an hour later we were arriving at Iruya. Our first view of the town was beautiful, and I have already shared with you some of the nicest views of this village. Culturally speaking, they are two hundred years behind the rest of Argentina. Of course, they are far more healthy, spiritually speaking. They live in another world, money is hardly used, they practise barter most of the time, maybe changing food for kids, or whatever. Recently a four star hotel was inaugurated, and some people are afraid that the village may loose its cultural heritage with so many strangers hanging around. Two years ago, there was only one public phone, that hardly ever worked, no Internet... and still there is no ATM in the village. The Pinamar Cooperative came over and set up Internet. Now young people are in contact with the rest of the world. Where that is good or bad, I leave that answer up to you. I really enjoyed my trip to Iruya.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 16 Oct, 2006
I was at this beautiful town slightly more than one hour, but found out which were the nicest places where to take photos. The narrow streets of the village are paved with stones. I found at least 3 places where you can get beautiful panoramic…Read More
I was at this beautiful town slightly more than one hour, but found out which were the nicest places where to take photos. The narrow streets of the village are paved with stones. I found at least 3 places where you can get beautiful panoramic photos: 1) The entrance to the village. A panoramic view from here is incredible, and if you zoom in the church you can take another beautiful shot. 2) Passing by the tourist hotel, there is an miniature chapel with a virgin. Walk up to the top and you will have a very nice panoramic view. 3) Crossing over to the football field. That is also the place where the inhabitants do their barters. You do not need to interact with the people, if you do not want. Just start looking at the landscape from underneath. I am posting photos taken from each one of these sites. Enjoy your trip to Iruya. It is only 50 miles away from Humahuaca. But, remember, avoid the rainy season because landslides can occur with heavy rain and the road can be cut for a day or two. There is no other way out of Iruya apart from the road to Humahuaca. Close