Arrows, Ravines and Fascinating Characters

It is named after thousands of rocks shaped like arrow points aiming at the sky which provide a matchless physiognomy to this scene in Salta.

A landscape second to none may be enjoyed setting out from the City of Cachi. At times, it makes travelers feel they are at unbelievable latitudes, as if inside a story by Ray Bradbury.

No sooner had we left the city than we came across what has come to be known as "the handicrafts' route", a perfect place to understand local dwellers and part of their daily tasks, some of which are done by hand.

It is possible to see various families working at their homes to give life to the famous ponchos from Salta. This activity, formerly developed indoors, has become part of the tourist offer.

“Tourists are welcomed into the craftsmen's houses to witness the production process, and see how fast they knit”, the guide explains. Thus, after greeting them, exchanging a hug or a kiss, we found ourselves inside one of these houses that let us into an indescribable world of northern textures and colors.

  • A matchless physiognomy to this scene in Salta

    A matchless physiognomy to this scene in Salta

  • The pointed rocks resembling sharp arrow points

    The pointed rocks resembling sharp arrow points

  • Unbelievable latitudes

    Unbelievable latitudes

Ponchos worn by celebrities today were made at one of these houses, including the one chosen by Pope Francis. The author of this masterpiece was a late craftsman from Secantlás, called "Tero" Guzmán, who in addition to offering his outfit to the present pontiff had already made a similar one for John Paul II. They were both flaunted with pride at the Vatican.

These ponchos continue to be knitted today and are on display inside the houses or in the open air for the wide array of visitors who come along and many times order these items months in advance, safe in the knowledge that a new trip to Salta awaits.

No wonder the legends and anecdotes including ponchos made in Salta go round the world and reach unthinkable places multiplying day after day.

Back on the road, there is an exact point where the presence of the formations we were about to see may be easily spotted and that is the 4,380th kilometer marker on famed Route 40. The pointed rocks resembling sharp arrow points aiming at the sky may be observed to both sides of the road.

Travelers just need to stop here and there to appreciate the perfection and meticulousness with which nature created this extraordinary scene, where even the birds seem to hover at a cautious distance so as not to fly so close to these rocks.

Route 40 has been recognized not only for the tourist scenes and sanctuaries its shelters throughout its length but also for the unique characters that have traveled it and made it far-famed. Among them, we find writer and journalist Federico Kirbus and his loyal partner Marlú Kirbus, who covered it hundreds of times for over half a century and gave life to various books that today lure visitors to come along. Those of us who were lucky enough to learn about them know that this one was one of the nooks they liked best on the endless route.

Quebrada de las Flechas should have been named after both of them. More than acknowledgment, it would be an act of justice for everything these two characters contributed to this already magical place.

Related tours:
The Tin Tin Straight Line
One of the most beautiful scenes in northern Argentina lies just a few minutes away from Cachi

From Cachi to Cafayate along Route 40
The road winds around incredible rock formations

Autor Pablo Etchevers Fotografo Jorge González

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