Just 130 miles outside of Salta, you'll find the quaint yet beautiful village of Purmamarca, Argentina. With a name that translates to "Town of the Virgin Land," you'll be taken aback by the untainted quality of the terrain, bound by the Rio Purmamarca to the north and the picturesque hill of seven colors to the west. With a local population fluctuating between three and four hundred residents, as well as remnants of original 17th century architecture, this village is truly a relic of ages past.
Attractions at Purmamarca are plentiful. Whether you choose to visit the Saint Rosa's church at the center of town, built in 1648 and featuring original Cuzco School style paintings, or the neighboring archaeological sites littered with cave paintings, you will undoubtedly be touched by local flavor. Furthermore, visitors should not be surprised to wake to sounds of local musicians who often line the streets and fill the air with improvised musical performance. Also, handicraft fairs color the village streets, with clothing, crafts, ponchos, and woven cloths available for purchase.
Take a journey outside of Purmamarca, and travelers will discover even more that this land has to offer. With its relatively mild climate, most are comfortable enjoying the area on daytime hiking or horseback riding excursions. Additionally, the Paseo de los Colorados marks a gorgeous three-kilometer walk that features naturally sculpted red cliffs and a series of breathtaking views.
History and Architecture
While little is known about the exact date of its settlement, the town of Purmamarca has pre-hispanic origins and is marked by its urban planning centered around the Saint Rosa's church. Today's buildings are primarily constructed with adobe, clay, and straw, with cardon roofs and mud tiles laid using technology passed down through generations of town dwellers.
Most visitors travel to Purmamarca by car from Salta, located just two and half hours to the south. The town is also just two miles east of National Route 9, which links to Jujuy just forty miles away.
While lodging options span a wide range of qualities and styles, Purmamarca's small size and necessitates that travelers book their stays early to insure availability. With its primarily mild climate, the village remains open to tourism all year round.
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