After a twenty-something bus drive, passing Santiago del Estero and Salta, we arrived to the Jujuy province. Located on the Northwest of Argentina, near the Andes mountains and close to the border to Bolivia. We stayed 3 nights at a pretty place called Tilcara, at 2.500 meters above sea level; this was the start of our altitude survival practice!
We slept most of the way, but when we awoke we experienced a big change of scenery. From flat grass lands, to beautiful arid lands and colorful mountains full of cactus everywhere! Definitely an exotic site for us.
It’s a small and colorful town and they are aware of the growing tourism, specially with young backpackers and eco-travelers like us. Vegetarian menus were not uncommon, as the Andean culture is known for growing quinoa and other goodies. They had a big food market full of local fruits and veggies which looked and tasted amazing! Unfortunately for us and other tourists, it was very common with hustlers, they would often try to give us the wrong prices, some of them all of a sudden, changed their menu when we were going to pay. Sad to see this happen, specially when it is essentially tourism that makes most of their economy grow.
We did meet an extremely cuddly cat on the way up to a mountain. She even hugged me and then climbed on me and wanted to stay there. Maybe she took a big dose of coca leaves? Dogs we met were street dogs, but really friendly and happy, like back in Patagonia. We also made friends with other earthly creatures.
Most compassionate: The local fruit market and vegetarian menus. Friendly cats and dogs!
Less compassionate: Hustlers.