The mostly unsealed RN-40 from Cachi to Cafayate takes you along some stupendous corniche roads that wind alongside the Río Calchaquí itself, offering views on either side of sheer mountainsides and snowcapped peaks. It’s only 180km from one town to the other, but allow plenty of time as the narrow track slows your progress and you’ll want to stop to admire the views, take photographs and visit the picturesque valley settlements en route, oases of greenery in an otherwise stark landscape. The last stretch of the road to Cafayate threads its way through extensive vineyards, affording views of the staggeringly high mountains – many of them over 4000m – to the west and east.

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