Quebrada de Humahuaca: All About Argentina’s Rainbow Valley

  • ~ mins read

Stretching 155km in the Jujuy province, a Quebrada de Humahuaca tour takes you along a mountain valley that is not only intensely stunning but also tells Argentina’s story from 10,000 years ago. A strong amalgam of history and surreal landscapes, the valley was rightfully declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, tourists visit the valley to witness the scenic grandeur that has adorned many magazine covers and to (un)knowingly follow in the footsteps of a historic cultural caravan road used by the Inca Empire in the 15th century.

A day trip to the mountains of Quebrada de Humahuaca allows visitors to see waves of colors, ranging from rich bands of red, vibrant pink, creamy white, and patches of green. Nestled in amongst this stunning backdrop are quaint towns and villages, all with their own unique experiences and attractions. And while tourism is flourishing in this part of the high Andes, it still retains its mystical charm, making a trip here one that is unforgettable.

  • Salvatore T.
5 - Excellent
“It was amazing to experience South America for the first time in this way with a guid...” Read More
View Incredible Tours in Argentina

5 Sights to see in Quebrada de Humahuaca

1. Cerro de los Siete Colores

Pumamarca and Quebrada de Humahuaca
The Cerro de los Siete Colores is truly a feast for the eyes

The Cerro de los Siete Colores (or the Hills of Seven Colours) is a breathtaking sight. Located just outside of the town of Purmamarca, the Hills are composed of seven different types of rock, which results in a diverse range of colors. From pink to red to white, these waves of color emerge from the ground, creating a picturesque backdrop for the town below. The Cerro de los Siete Colores is truly a feast for the eyes.

  • Visit within the first 45 minutes after dawn for the most vibrant display of colors.
  • Experience the hills on horseback by organizing a special tour.
  • Take in spectacular views by hiking one of the two hiking trails through the hills. In just ten minutes (or an hour, depending on which trail you pick), you’ll find yourself staring out at this geological wonder.

2. Serranía de Hornocal

The Serrania de Hornocal is a mountain range like no other. Located 25km outside of the city of Humahuaca, the Serrania de Hornocal appears as a jagged row of teeth-like rocks. Centuries of erosion have uncovered limestone bands of vibrant reds, pinks, and whites across the range. Rumour has it that up to 33 different colors flow across this natural wonder.

  • Atop the mountain is a stunning viewpoint of the peaks and valley below. Entrance to the viewpoint is USD 3* per vehicle.
  • Visit after 4 pm, when the western sun illuminates the ranges’ vivid colors.
  • It’s best to visit the Serrania de Hornocal via car or organized tour.

3. Pucará de Tilcara

Pucara de Tilcara in Quebrada de Humahuaca
The Pucara de Tilcara is a pre-Incan fortification that dates back more than 10,000 years

The Pucara de Tilcara is a pre-Incan fortification that dates back more than 10,000 years. Located just outside of the town of Tilcara, the Pucara de Tilcara commands views of the river ball in both directions, offering stunning views of the surrounding scenery. Discovered in 1908, the Pucara de Tilcara was declared a national monument in 2000. Step back in time and explore the Pucara’s 10-room museum displaying more than 5,000 valuable historical artifacts.

  • Entry to the Pucara de Tilcara is USD 5 for an adult and around USD 1 for students. Admission includes entry to the Museo Arqueologico, another museum dedicated to the indigenous tribes of the region.
  • The Pucara de Tilcara is open every day from 9:00 – 18:00.

4. Old Church of Uquia

Uquia is a small rustic village famous for its old church. The San Francisco de Paula Church dates back to the 17th century and was declared a national historical monument in 1941. Although relatively small, the church is famous for its art-covered walls. Depicting angels with guns and flamingo wings, the “Los Angeles Arcabuceros” painting was brought to Uquia from Cusco during the colonial period.

  • Admission and entry are by donation
  • Open most days from 9:00 – 12:00 and 13:30 – 17:30
  • Marvel at the art and enjoy the views from the quaint and charming church

5. Iruya

Iruya in Quebrada de Humahuaca
Iruya is famous for its scenic location

Located off the beaten path in Quebrada de Humahuaca region is Iruya. The small village is less than 50km from the main road leading to Humahuaca but feels like ages away. Nestled into the mountainside, Iruya is famous for its scenic location, friendly locals, and stunning panoramic views. Visit Iruya for a calming retreat or to take advantage of the area’s fantastic hiking trails.

  • Drive the 50km dirt road to take in some of the region's most spectacular vistas.
  • Visit the town church; painted in yellow and blue, which dates all the way back to 1690.
  • Walk across the Pasarela Peatonal (pedestrian bridge), which spans the Iruya River, and take in stunning views of the town.

How to get there

Map for getting to Quebrada de Humahuaca

The closest airport to Humahuaca is located more than two hours away in Jujuy. From the capital of Buenos Aires, visitors can fly to Jujuy in just two hours. Buses run frequently from Jujuy to the valley with trips taking anywhere from two to three hours, depending on traffic.

The valley can also be approached from Salta. From Salta buses run to Humahuaca several times a day and the trip takes under five hours. There are several tours to Humahuaca available from Salta.


Humahuaca is the largest town in the region and offers the most options for sleeping and eating. Whether you’re looking for a budget hostel or a luxurious stay, the town has plenty of options for all types of travelers.

1. Las Terrazas Hotel Boutique  
Located in the mountainside town of Tilcara, Las Terrazas Hotel Boutique is the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring Quebrada de Humahuaca. Lounge by the pool or enjoy a cold beverage on a private terrace as you enjoy stunning views of the colorful valley surrounding the hotel. With just nine rooms, Las Terrazas Hotel Boutique is perfect for anyone looking for a restful and relaxing stay in the Argentine countryside.

2. Hotel Huacalera  
For modern accommodations in the heart of the valley look no further than Hotel Huacalera. Located in the historic mountain town of Humahuaca, Hotel Huacalera is ideal as a base in Quebrada de Humahuaca. Just two kilometers from the Tropic of Capricorn, Hotel Huacalera offers spacious and sophisticated room with breathtaking views of the area’s unique scenery. The restaurant features a variety of dishes made from locally sourced vegetables and serves wine made from their very own vineyard. Hotel Huacalera is truly a little slice of paradise in Quebrada de Humahuaca.

3. Hostal Azul Humahuaca  
For travelers on a budget, Hostal Azul Humahuaca is the perfect place to hang their hats. This bright blue hostel consists of eight rooms and offers guests a bar/lounge, a sun-filled terrace, as well as a breakfast buffet each morning. Situated across the river from the town of Humahuaca, the hostel is in close proximity to the Quebrada de Humahuaca and Candelaria Church, and provides easy access to many of the valley’s famous hiking trails. Enjoy a quiet, comfortable and laidback stay in the heart of the valley at Hostal Azul Humahuaca.

Good to know

  • Get to the viewpoints in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun brings out the most vivid colours of the mountainside.
  • The most popular time to visit Quebrada de Humahuaca is in the Argentinean summer and fall (December through June).
  • The Quebrada de Humahuaca is located more than 3,000 meters above sea level. To avoid altitude sickness, do not overexert yourself, remember to drink plenty of water, and maintain a healthy diet while in the area.
  • Tours of the valley are offered by a myriad of operators and can be booked in Jujuy, Humahuaca, or Salta. You can also find organized multiday trips to Quebrada de Humahuaca.

From its colorful mountain ranges and its rustic towns to its rich history and vibrant culture, the Quebrada de Humahuaca is a region full of wonder and surprise. So, grab your binoculars and charge up your camera, because it is Quebrada de Humahuaca and you don’t want to miss a single moment of it. You definitely want to add it to your Argentina trip. For a customized tour of Argentina's rainbow mountains, you can get in touch with our local travel experts in Argentina. You can also create a tailored tour based on how many days you want to spend in the region.

If want to explore further, venture out to other destinations in Argentina and find additional excursion opportunities. You can check our guide on things to do in Argentina to find activities that best suit you. For a seasonal overview of the country, you can read our guide on the best time to visit Argentina

Published by Marie Storm, updated on June 29, 2023

Related Articles

Plan a trip to ArgentinaWe offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to Argentina.
  • Ezequiel Fernandez Estelrich
    Ezequiel Fernandez EstelrichTravel Expert in Argentina & Chile
  • Maria Barciela
    Maria BarcielaTravel Expert in Argentina & Chile
  • Oxana Protchenko
    Oxana ProtchenkoTravel Expert in Argentina & Chile
Our travel experts are recommended by:
  • BBC
  • Independent
  • Lonely Planet
0 COMMENTSWe welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.