A visit to Iruya

Only 80 kilometers away from Humahuaca lies Iruya, which has become a typical postcard of the Argentinian North. A unique place that perfectly portrays life in these lands.


Iruya, Hanging from the Mountains

Much has been told about Iruya and even today, after almost two and a half centuries from its foundation, it continues to surprise.

There are no provincial or national records of the date on which the town was constituted as such, but it is estimated that it was around 1750.

Iruya used to stand on the road between Upper Peru and the new settlements all over the region.

Precarious and protective at the same time, the shelter the large mountains have always provided was an ideal spot where the stagecoaches carrying goods from the puna to the fertile valleys could have a rest.

  • A typical postcard of the Argentinian North

    A typical postcard of the Argentinian North

  • A different streets

    A different streets

  • San Isidro

    San Isidro

  • The constant amazement

    The constant amazement

  • Oblivion and nostalgia

    Oblivion and nostalgia

  • Primitive peoples

    Primitive peoples

  • A unique place

    A unique place

Two of these spots stood out and the two most important capital cities in the area were built there: Jujuy and Salta.

Today, Iruya remains quiet as usual. But fortunately, oblivion and nostalgia have been observed and understood by a tourist boom that has positioned the valley as the destination chosen by thousands of tourists.


It is Important To Return


Maybe that is why popular festivals, such as the carnival of Iruya or the offerings to pachamama, amaze not only local settlers but also thousands of visitors who wish to get close to the purest remains of primitive peoples.

One of the most outstanding festivals is devoted to the town's patron saint: Our Lady of the Rosary, after whom the local church, founded approximately in 1753, has been named.

Such celebration takes place on the first Sunday in October, when hundreds of pilgrims and members of the church congregation get together in the surroundings of the church and the main streets in town, where craftsmen and businessmen display their products for sale.


Another Jewel from the Past

San Isidro is another jewel from the past which can be accessed from Iruya. Visiting this small town is a must for all those touring the area.

They can go on horseback if they rent a horse or else on foot, following the dry bed of a river for almost one hour. Thus, one of the most picturesque and colorful points in these mountains is reached.

Upon arrival, dozens of local crafstmen and producers offer their products and fabrics, as well as tapestries, aguayos, and blankets made of local llama and vicuña wool.

Sunset is the ideal moment to return, maybe carrying a little extra weight from some souvenir.

Remember to look up on the way back, because Iruya is one of the few places on the planet where not only can the flight of the condor be seen but also listened to.

Visitors just have to stop and follow them with their sight to listen to the sound the wings of this ancient bird make when they cut through the wind. As it has always been, as it will always be.

Autor Pablo Etchevers Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio

Bear in mindBear in mind: During the summer season, strong rainfall hits Northern Argentina. Therefore, it is recommended to get information from the locals before leaving Humahuaca. This is very important, as the road is often impassable or even dangerous for those who are not familiar with it. It is advisable to get there on some excursion or local transportation.

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