cafayate - day 1 - wine tasting

  • at the wine tasting
  • one of the wineries
  • sexy chica pouring the vino
  • view from the hostel

I arrived in Cafayate on the evening of the 14th of May after a 2 hour bus ride from Jujuy to Salta, then a 4 hour wait in Salta, followed by a 4 hour bus ride to Cafayate - the last 1 and a half of which was through winding canyon roads that didn´t seem to bether the driver (he was racing through them) but definitely bothered us.

Ella, 1 of the American girls from Salta, came with 'cause she says she's really keen on doing the 50km cycle through the canyons, with me. No problem with that as it´s always good having company if you're gonna be doing an activity for the best part of a day.

We checked into the El Balcon Hostel near the town center. By evening this little town, famous for it's wineries and being close to the Quebrada del las Conchas (Canyon of Shells) looks like the kind of place I could hang out at for a couple of days.

In the morning it hit me how beautiful the place really is. In the evening I couldn´t see that we´re in a valley, so the whole place is surrounded by a beautiful landscape. We were told that today the hostel had organised a free wine-tasting tour to 3 of the vineyards in the area. Everybody was very excited. Then we were told it would start at 10:30am - not so excited anymore at the thought of drinking so early.

All 3 vineyards had decent wine, but the last one was really special. We tasted 3 types, a Torrontés which is the grape of this region and produces a dry white, a Tannant (red wine) and a Cabernet Sauvignon - all top noch (well, by my amateur standards anyway) The wine was so good that I wanted to buy a few bottles and have them shipped home because I won't be able to carry them in my rucksack for the next 6 months. Unfortunately though, they told me the only way to ship it is through DHL, which would cost in the region of 200 dollars - more than 4 times what all 3 bottles would cost (still want to double check this).

I bought one bottle of Torrontes which I planned to share with people some people from the tour, over lunch. For lunch we headed to a little Comedor (eatery) outside of town, where you wouldn´t see any tourists. They were kind enough to let us drink the wines we had bought at the bodegas, and the food was superb. Unfortunately though, as I had predicted, an early start of drinking would lead to no good, and with a bit of wine already flowing through us, we abandaoned all plans of trekking in the afternoon in favour of sitting in the restaurant and finishing all the wine we took with. As if that wasn´t enough, after lunch we stopped off at an ice cream parlour and tried their infamous wine ice cream. Having a scoop of ice cream had the same effect as a glass of wine, in my opnion.

In the evening we had an assado where the quantity of meat was endless, and the quality superb. Saying that though, I think for the next 2 weeks I'm going to live as a vegetarian.

When we got back to the hostel, Ella told me she was thinking of heading off with another dude from the group, to go hiking in a region about 12 hours from here - in other words, backing out of the cycling. I don´t really have any hard feelings eventhough the deal I made with her and Amy was that I would go with them to Jujuy if they would then keep me company on the cycle trip. I think people need to do exactly what they want to so they have no regrets. However, this has kinda made me decide not to have too much faith in people while travelling and I think from this point forward I won´t be changing any plans.

Tomorrow I do my cycle trip on my own, which in all honesty I think will be more enjoyable - just me and 50km of an open canyon road.