Tafí and the Calchaquí Valleys
The name Tafí derives from the diaguita word taktikllakta, which means “town with a splendid entrance".
Tribes of hunters arrived in the American continent about 30,000 years ago through the Bering Strait. Thousands of years later, they entered the territories that make up Argentina today.
In the early period, the most ancient culture was located in Tafí (Tucumán), 2,500 years ago.
These were agricultural, sedentary peoples who would grow corn, potato, squash and vegetables such as broad beans. Religious components had a remarkable influence in the life of these groups. Their simple dwellings can still be seen today along with other native architectural manifestations in the La Bolsa reserve.
Some scholars assert that a strong diaguita influence must have existed in Tafí.
The winding roads amid narrow passes along which the meltwaters run lead to the Calchaquí Valleys. Immersed in the snow-capped granite massifs lies Tafí del Valle and the La Angostura Dam is located in its surroundings. Tafí del Valle condenses the ancient Indian customs merged with the Spanish culture.
There is no more information about this culture as from around 900 AD. It is unknown whether they withdrew from the valley due to political or economical matters or to unfavorable weather conditions or if scientific research is still needed to be performed.
Later on, peoples coming from neighboring valleys, such as the Santa María, del Cajón, or the Calchaquí Valleys settled down in the region. These groups were also farmers and shepherds, but they were much more developed than previous cultures as regards technology, society and politics.
In the late XV century, these peoples fell under the power of the Incas. The Valley of Tafí became one of the most controlled areas by the empire. It was a strategic location, as the valley was a kind of frontier before the warrior peoples of the Chaco region.
In 1636, the kings granted the valley “in royal mercy” to P. de Leguizamón y Guevara, so that it could be used for crop production.
The heirs received the land as encomienda, which ended up in a remarkable decrease in the native population.
The lands were sold to the Company of Jesus in 1716. They built the first chapel of the valley and devoted themselves to evangelizing the population.
When the Jesuits were expelled from America, the lands were auctioned and the authorities of the government of Tucumán took hold of them.
It was not until the second half of the XX century, with the opening of the road accessing the valleys that the peoples of these regions came out from isolation.
In 1977, the Municipality of Tafí del Valle was created.
Within a short period of time, several high-class hotels which offered the tourist the possibility to rest on their journey to the Calchaquí Valleys were built.
Located 107 kilometers from the capital of the province and 1,976 m.o.s.l., Tafí combines mountains, rivers and ideal weather conditions with hotel and restaurant facilities specially designed in tune with the scenery.
Tafí del Valle is the entrance gate to the Calchaquí Valleys and is surrounded by Mounts Nonoco, Grande, Muñoz, Mala Mala, Negrito and Pelao.
The landscape begins to change from Acheral, in the district of Monteros. The plains turn slowly into a thick rainforest that covers the banks of the Los Sosa River and continues along its course up to heights surpassing 2,000 meters.