The northwest of Argentina is a region of amazing natural contrasts and diversity. This trip will offer you a transect from the Tucuman grasslands and cloud forests or Yungas to the Andean Plateau at more than 3,300 m. ASL close to the border with Bolivia. It will include explorations and stops through the ravines and canyons covered by enormous cacti and thickets in search of various endemic species. Since 1880 these valleys and ravines are home to altitude vineyards that produce world-class Malbec and Cabernet wines, plus a local renowned variety known as “Torrontes”, cultivated at the foot of stunning reddish limestone formations.
Regarding nature and birding, the trip combines very extreme natural environments such as rainforests and the arid Altiplano, adding different species in each one.
Day 1: Flight from Buenos Aires to Tucumán. Typical andean lunch and birding in Los Sosa Ravine and Tafí del Valle grasslands, where our target birds will be the Torrent Duck, the Rufous-throated Dipper among a great number of birds of the cloud forests, including warblers and tanagers. Overnight in Tafí del Valle.
Day 2: Tafí del Valle grasslands, lake and cloud forests, with herons, ducks, grebes and coots – Drive across El Infiernillo, with oportunitis for the endemic Tucuman Mountain-Finch and Shrike-Tyrants, the Calchaquí Valleys and scrublands, with Tinamous and Rheas, visiting La Rosa Vineyards and wineries. Special Wine testing of mountain wines, and the argentinean Torrontes. Hotel in Cafayate
Day 3: Birding at Monte woods and at the foot of cliffs, looking for Red-tailed Comet, Sandy Gallitos, Chiguanco Thrush and Andean Swifts. Visit Piatelli vineyard and wineries, where we will have lunch and taste their delicious wines. Malbec and local varieties. Hotel in Cafayate.
Day 4: Calchaqui Valley. Drive across the Calchaquí Valley, with stops at several locations along a diverse and beautiful mountain territory that was once part of the Inca Empire. The target bird will be woodpeckes specialized in big cactus and big birds of pray like Black chested Eagle. Hotel in Cachi
Day 5: Early morning departure across Los Cardones National Park, with stops at the vast cacti groves and mountain grasslands. Well see the Andean Tinamou, Vermilion Flycatcher, and furnarid of the Andes. Hotel in Salta.
Day 6: Drive from Salta to Jujuy along Abra de Santa Laura Pass and cloud forest habitats, inhabits for tropical tanagers, parrots, euphonias, grosbeaks. Hotel accommodation in Jujuy, acient city form the Inca's time.
Day 7: Warm valleys and cloud forests at Portal de Piedra Ranch. This is a birding lodge in a very wild area, where the humid forest end and the Cacho dry forests start. A special day for tucanos, trogons, and hummingbirds. Night in Eco-Portal de Piedra
Day 8: Full day in Chaco Forests, where is possible find Andshrikes, Woodcreepers, Puffbirds and Canasteros. Night at Eco-Portal de Piedra
Day 9: Drive across the Humahuaca Ravine, with one of the highest forest of the world (Polyplepis sp.) visiting Dupont Winery, a good place for birding and tasting their local high wines. Species wine testing. Overnight in Tilcara.
Day 10: Humahuaca Ravine and Andean Plateau (3,300 m.above the sea level) up to the border with Bolivia in La Quiaca. Some specialities of the Puna like Andean Flickers, plovers andean avocets, and ibis . Pozuelos Lake Natural Monument and the three species of flamingos. Overnight in Tilcara.
Day 11: Drive back to Jujuy and flight to Buenos Aires. Tango Dinner and night in Buenos Aires.
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