Click here to read part 2 of our South American Trippin' series

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! 

On the road: lots of watermelon! 

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. 

All hail to The Huge Cactus! at: Pucara de Tilcara

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. 

How we chose the right place to buy: we went to the lady on the right, she had the biggest smile!

So fresh and so good! 

The vegetarian menu was not too exciting so we made our own local meal: Quinoa, potatoes boiled with Quilmes beer (since we didn't like it, we cooked it!), veg salad with avocado and nuts. It was much better than anything else! :D

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. 

We became good friends, for half an hour, then she left and we never saw her again....

This dragonfly stayed in our room for a very long time, we got lucky; it seemed to like the camera. 

Look: Alpacas! At the Pucara de Tilcara. 

Most compassionate: The local fruit market and vegetarian menus. Friendly cats and dogs!

Less compassionate: Hustlers.