Part 3 of 3: “Farm Holidays” in Argentina – Visiting Ocumazo Community near La Quebrada in Jujuy

Just amazing: It feels like watching one of the seven (or was it eight?) wonders of this world. This canyon, with all its colours & shapes, is a landscape truly unique – even the Grand Canyon is, in my memory, dwarfed by this majestic view of “La Quebrada” in Argentina. 10 years ago, it has been declared a World Heritage site – and rightly so. Raúl, my local contact to the community of Ocumazo and part of the “Red Argentina de Turismo Rural Comunitario” (RATuRC), does not mind me emailing him only two days before my arrival. Asking, very spontaneously, if I could stay with him and his community in Ocumazo Valley. After a quick message exchange, everything is settled and I am waiting for him and his family to greet me upon my arrival at San Salvador de Jujuy bus station, in the very north of Argentina. A lovely way of travelling when going solo!

Wir fahren entlang der berühmten Quebrada-Straße ganz im Norden Argentiniens, in der Provinz Jujuy Richtung Ocumazo, mein Aufenthaltsort für drei Tage.

We are heading north along the famous “La Quebrada” route, in the very north of Argentina in the province of Jujuy going to Ocumazo, my destination for a few days.


Bei dieser liebenswerten Familie bin ich für ein paar Tage Gast und erlebe die Gemeinschaft in Ocumazo.

This is “my” Ocumazo family for three days : A lovely bunch of people and truly worthwhile visiting!


Einer der großen Vorteile des "Turismo Vivencial" mit einheimischen Familien: Das Essen kommt immer frisch auf den Tisch und schmeckt dank der guten Landwirtschaft hervorragend!

One of the greatest advantages of this form of tourism, “Turismo Vivencial”, is that food is always freshly prepared for you tasting DE-LIC-IOUS ! 😀


Der berühmte Quebrada-Canyon, Welterbe der Menschheit, im Licht der untergehenden Sonne ... faszinierend.

The famous Quebrada Canyon in the light of the setting sun … World Heritage of Humankind, a truly spectacular sight.

“Turismo Vivencial” in Ocumazo in the north of Argentina

You have to live, see and experience this. Not only visiting the cities of Argentina – Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, El Calafate, Mendoza, Salta: Those who really like travelling should take to the “hearts & homes” of the local people. Since “travelling with locals” is one of my favourite means of travelling, I am all the happier for the existence of the “Red Argentina de Turismo Rural Comunitario“, or RATuRC, a platform plus travel guide listing all rural, community-based forms of tourism in Argentina.

For two days, I get to eat, live and stay with Raúl, his family and his community in Ocumazo experiencing true country life. How agriculture is possible, for instance, on more than 2.700 metres of altitude. And you would not believe the variety of crops here !!! Peaches, apples, corn, beans, wheat, quinoa, (goat) cheese, bread: People here are “rich and happy”, it’s lovely being here, tasting fresh fruit off the trees and taking every day as it comes, marveling at the stars, the landscape, the blazing blue sky … ! Reception is only available around the next hill, the lookout point over the mighty Quebrada Canyon is three hours, 30 kilometres or 1.000 metres of elevation away (driving between 3 to 30 km/h over gravel and 4×4 roads …). Tourism is only starting to grow here, only few people have visited Ocumazo so far among them Argentinians, French, Spanish and Germans. And now, one Austrian 😉 .

Die reifen Pfirsiche direkt vor der Haustür sind die reinste Verlockung ...

These peaches in front of my door are such a sweet temptation … Actually, we are located north of the Tropic of Capricorn here and in the “high mountains”, but water means life defying the surrounding scarcity of a mountain desert.


Hier bereiten wir trockene Kräuter, "Rica Rica" für unseren Mate zu ...

Here, we are preparing “Rica Rica” herbs for our Mate …


"Ich weiß schon, ich muss Dir etwas zu tun geben!" meint Raúl augenzwinkernd zu mir, nachdem ich ihm von meiner Begeisterung für "Kreativ-Reisen" erzählt habe. Schon bereite ich selbst die Teekräuter für unseren Mate zu!

“I know, I have to give you something to do!” Raúl smiles and lets me finish preparing the herbs after I talk to him about my passion for “creative culture travel” – including the preparation of our Mate tea!


As I fell off the horse while watching rock carvings in Ocumazo Valley

Dear readers, what a day! “Horse riding? Oh yes, this is going to be my fourth horse trek as part of my trip through South America … Of course I can do it. I look forward to it!” Something like this, I was telling Raúl and his caballero Hector about being happy to go horse-riding once more. And I do recommend it, yes – just have a look at the spectacular landscape you can experience this way.

Auf geht's: Hoch zu Ross erkunde ich mit meinem persönlichen Gaucho Hector das Flusstal von Ocumazo.

Off we go: Together with my guide Hector, we are crossing the river valley of Ocumazo heading north to the rock carvings.


Hector selbst reitet auf diesem Esel, einem eher störrischen Vieh - recht lustig das Ganze ;)

Hector himself is riding a mule, quite a stubborn creature but he manages … It’s funny to watch for as long as I fall off the horse myself … Ouch.


Meine Stute ist ein wenig nervös, doch letztendlich habe ich falsch reagiert und bin als diese im Flussbett strauchelt einfach "abgesprungen" ... seufz!

My horse is a little bit nervous, but I take the blame: My reaction to let go when it stumbled in the river bed was obviously wrong, the horse recovered and I just jumped / fell – well. Sometimes, I guess, a little bit more coolness and experience is definitely required.


Die Felsmalereien sind es wert: Uralte Zeichen aus dem Leben der ortsansässigen Urvölker Lateinamerikas.

This ancient carvings are truly worth it, though: Speaking of the life of the aboriginal people some 5.000 – 10.000 years ago.

Let me tell you like this: Sometimes, the travel bug hits you to the point you can’t seem to catch your breath. During the first seconds of my fall (unfortunately, my instinctive reaction was to let go as my horse stumbled in the river bed) – just before reaching our final destination, I only thought to myself, “well, that’s it, now.” Gasping for air, I got back up immediately as if to see whether I could still stand up alright. Well, I could manage to stand alright, but my left thigh had received a bad bruise as well as the lower shin. Oh dear. Those venturing out are sometimes well rewarded … From now on, I am rather hobbling through Argentina and Chile! Fortunately, nothing major happened and I have only got a few days left of travelling (or sadly?). Well. Seeing the rock carvings still serves as an amazing souvenir of my trip. And staying with the people of Ocumazo, “my families” for three days, is a memory not to be missed either!

Tapfer nach dem Fall: Mit meiner lieben Köchin Hilda, die mir spontan ein selbst gewebtes Kopfband zum Abschied schenkt.

Being brave after my fall: Together with our cook Hilda, who spontaneously offers me home-made peace of weaving as a farewell gift.


Gedanken an Ocumazo: Köstliche "Rica-Rica"-Kräuter, die mir Raúl für meinen Mate einpackt!

Thinking Ocumazo: “Rica-Rica” herbs that Raúl is packing up for my trip!


Diese Viecher! Aber lieb sind sie schon ... hihi!

Despite my little accident, I have to say I really enjoyed staying in Ocumazo! Wonderful people and an amazing scenery to enjoy here 🙂

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Lexi 25 February 2015 - 05:37

This was so great to read! I’m currently doing a project on Argentina and will be traveling there in two weeks. I’m very excited!

Elena 25 February 2015 - 13:23

Dear Lexi,

That is great news; I really hope you will enjoy it just as much! May I ask which project you are currently working on? Does it involve community-based tourism in rural areas, in Argentina? If so, you will find Ocumazo community a perfect place to be. Please say hi from Elena from Austria if you happen to visit there.!



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