I am currently in Salta, in the north of Argentina, and after a few slowish days at the previous two towns that I stayed in, Cordaba and Jujuy, I decided that I´d book myself on a not inexpensive tour that went via all of the main areas that I wanted to see round here.
- Time: See all sights in one day
- Money: lots (well 60 quid, but that is a lot round here)
- Convenience: picked up from hostel, didn´t need to arrange anything
- Flexibility: Very little, the tour was already 15hrs long, and that was if we sticked to the plan.
In this particular case convenience and time won out for me, getting everything done in a day meant more time to spend elsewhere, however in an ideal world I keep thinking how nice it would be to have infinite time to do these things. There were probably the best part of a dozen times where I thought to myself, or someone else on the tour said out loud, wouldn´t it be great to stop some where for a photo, or I´d spot an ideal campsite for the night. Coming down towards Purmamarca, famous for it seven coloured mountain (see below), there was a beautiful view of the moutain as we came down the road through the valley, ideal to stop off for a few minutes in the serene dusk. 2 minutes after I thought this we turned in to the town itself to be faced with 4 other tour groups and an army of stalls intent on selling us various lama based products. Don´t get me wrong, it was a really good tour and I enjoyed doing it this way, I think I am just playing that old game of the grass always being greener on the other side.
The best way of doing this area if you can, I´m told, is to find three like minded people and hire a car for two or three days. Alas not having 3 people to hand, having left my drivers liscence at home and having an ongoing desire to head up to Bolivia this didn´t really work in my case - will just have to tack it on the bottom of the ever growing list of things I am going to have to do the next time I come back to South America...