Argentina // The Northwest //

Tafí del Valle

From the turn-off to Potrerillo, the RP-307 continues north to reach TAFÍ DEL VALLE, 128km west of Tucumán, favoured by locals and tourists alike as a day-trip destination or longer retreat from the provincial capital, especially in the summer when the city swelters. Tafí is a rather sprawling village located in a mountain-side valley (from which it takes its name) in the western lee of the Sierra del Aconquija, sandwiched between the Rio del Chusquí and the Río Blanquita, both of which flow into the Río Tafí and then into the Dique La Angostura. This is where Tucumanos come to escape the city – the average temperature is 12°C lower than in the city. Blue and sunny skies are virtually guaranteed year-round, though occasionally thick fog descends into the valley in the winter, making its alpine setting feel bleak and inhospitable.

Apart from relaxing, the main attraction is the opportunity to explore the beautiful mountain scenery and unspoilt riverbanks; the trekking hereabouts is very rewarding. Popular trails go up Cerro El Matadero (3050m; 5hr), Cerro Pabellón (3770m; 4hr), Cerro Muñoz (4437m; one day) and Mala-Mala (3500m; 8hr); go with a guide, as the weather is unpredictable.

The village’s main streets, lime-tree-lined Avenida San Martín, and avenidas Gobernador Critto and Diego de Rojas (Av Perón on some maps), converge on the semicircular plaza, around which most of the hotels, restaurants, cafés and shops are concentrated.

Famous for its delicious cow’s and goat’s cheese, available at small farms and stalls all around the town, Tafí holds a lively Fiesta Nacional del Queso, with folk music and dancing and rock bands, in early February.