Two-thirds of the way along the RN-9 towards Humahuaca you are treated to your first glimpse of the great pre-Inca pukará, or fortress, of TILCARA. Just beyond it is the side road off to the village itself. At an altitude of just under 3000m and yet still dominated by the dramatic mountains that surround it, this is one of the biggest settlements along the Quebrada and the only one on the east bank; it lies just off the main road, where the Río Huasomayo runs into the Río Grande. The pleasant, easy-going village is always very lively, but even more so during Carnival; like the rest of the Quebrada, it also celebrates El Enero Tilcareño, a religious and popular procession and feast held during the latter half of January (good to avoid if you dislike crowds and have not booked accommodation well ahead), as well as Holy Week, and Pachamama, or the Mother Earth festival, in August, with remarkable festivities, wild games, all manner of music, noisy processions and frenzied partying. Frequent buses from Humahuaca and Jujuy stop at the terminal along Avenida Alvear.