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(Trip to North-West Argentina - June 23/July 8, 2001)



We camped three nights at the Pozuelos lagoon. At night, it is very cold (we measured -16°C - 3°F - at 8 a.m.), but the sun warms up very rapidly, as soon as it rises, around 8:30 (we are in July : this is winter, and days are short !). Of course, we brought our food along (but we did not know we were supposed to bring food for the cat and chicken as well !). There is a well, but we did not drink its water : we had brought our own.


We found wood quite easily around the camp (there is also a small reserve of wood).

An open fire is very nice : not only it helps stand the cold, but evenings are long, when the sun sets at 6:30 p.m...


The "camping area" (read : "the area where camping is allowed") is located right by the house of the guardaparque, on the right as you come from Abra Pampa, approximately 1 km after a road forking to "Pozuelos" (do not take that road, and keep on straight ahead).

The (bad) dirt road leading to the lake starts on the right, 100 yards after the camping, right after a bridge. At the end of the dirt road (30 minutes), a picture board shows the most common birds which may be seen on the lagoon. Leave the car there : the ground may be soft.

Then start walking on the "beach", preferably towards the left : it seems the birds are more numerous there. But it is practically impossible to get near them : bring along a big telelens, if you want to take pictures.

Between the lagoon and the camping, we saw many llamas...



A nice walk is to the "lagunillas", small lagoons bordered by high mountains (5000 to 6000m, with practically no snow). The dirt "road" starts on the left in the small village of Lagunilla, which we reach by taking the road on the right, going to La Quiaca, on the left of the big lagoon. This "road" is exclusively for 4W drive. On foot, 45 to 60 minutes. There are many birds, and the scenery is very nice.

Actually, wherever there is water, there are birds. But the only reasonably good pictures I could make of the flamencos, with my 200 mm lens, were on a small lake, quite close to Abra Pampa.

When we came back from the Pozuelos lagoon, we drove until Tilcara, which is the most important tourist center of the Humahuaca Valley.


Tilcara is a very nice little town. Its handicraft market features the same products as in Purmamarca, at identical prices.

One should go visit the (partially restored) indian ruins of the Pukara (very nice views) and the superb archeological museum.

We spent the night in a little cabana, at the camping El Jardin, with light and hot water.





On the way down from Tilcara, the quebrada of Humahuaca seemed to us no better than on the way up : maybe the time of the day was bad, and the light was not the best ?

We went around Jujuy (without stopping), and took Route N°9 from Jujuy to Salta : if you have a choice, take this road (asphalted, but very narrow). It goes across the mountain : curve after curve, for 50 km, and the maximum speed you can safely reach is 40 km/h. The very luxuriant tropical vegetation is very surprising. It is a big change, after so much desert and cactus !



In Salta, we spent the night again in the Petit Hôtel (and two lomo steaks, two ! vuelta y vuelta !), and back to Buenos Aires - and France...


A few pratical informations
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