What to do in Tilcara

Devils Throat in Tilcara

Devils Throat in Tilcara - Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

The Devils Throat (or "Garganta del diablo" in spanish) is a natural cleft in the mountain produced by the strength of the Huasamayo River. In this same site was constructed in 1934 an imposing dam to provide water to all the town of Tilcara. The relatively easy access and its proximity to Tilcara make it one of the most visited attractions in ´the Quebrada de Humahuaca.

It is located only 4 km from Tilcara and can be reached on foot. It is a nice place to do a short trekking of average difficulty (2 hours aprox.) and to enjoy the outstanding landscapes of the outskirts of the village. You can also get there by car (8 km approx). Where you park the car you have to contribute with some money to the community that preserves the place in exchange for health services and assistance in case of accidents. From here we recommend descending to the river bed and walking 1.5 km by the left arm of the Huasamayo River. On the way there are two small waterfalls before you reach the last one, the Devil´s Throat. We recommend you to take fruits and water to hydrate yourself.

Recommendation: You can add to this experience the ascent to the Hill of the Cross (or "Cerro de la Cruz" in spanish), specially when the sun sets. The Hill of the Cross was the epicenter of ancient offerings of local Indians to their ancestors and gods and gives us a formidable view of the town and the Quebrada de Huichaira. It is located across the iron bridge on the way to the "Pucara" of Tilcara.

Waira Caves in Tilcara

Wayra Caves in Tilcara - Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

The Waira Caves (or Cuevas del Waira in Spanish - Waira means Wind in the ancient language of the region) are natural cavities in the mountain formed by the climatic erosion. They are located 3 km from the village of Tilcara, at the end of the Quebrada de Sarahuaico, in the province of Jujuy.

It is ideal for adventurous sportsmen who wish to make a short trekking of advanced difficulty. For the trekking you must hire a local guide in the tourist office of Tilcara because it is very easy to get lost. One of the caves is a hollow that goes 50 mts deep inside the mountain. The other crosses from side to side the mountain. An alternative is to make the descent behind this mountain following the course of the river, until you arrive again at route 9, in the center of Quebrada de Humahuaca.

You can cross from side to side and watch the Castles of Huichaira ("Castillos de Huichaira" in spanish), some natural formations. Entering the Quebrada de Huichaira you are going to find these geological formations called "castles". It is necessary to hire a local guide. It is a 4 hs trekking.

Pucara of Tilcara and the Archeological Museum

Pucara Ruins of Tilcara in the Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

The Pucara of Tilcara are the ruins of a pre-Inca period fortress. The term "pucará" means in Quechua language "fortaleza". It is located 2 km from the village of Tilcara and can be reached by foot or by car. It is a tourist site reconstructed by archaeologists of the University of Buenos Aires between 1911 and 1948. This fortress was a strategic point for the defense and care of the possessions of the tilcaras, a tribe that was part of the omaguacas. The "Pucara", besides functioning as a military strategic point, was the center around which a small village had been formed. The entrance has a cost of approx. $50 for Argentineans, $100 for foreign visitors and $25 for retirees (data for October 2016).

Arqueological Museum in Tilcara - Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

With the same entrance you can enter the Archaeological Museum, which is located just in front of the main square of Tilcara, on Belgrano St. In this museum are exposed some pieces that have been found all around Tilcara thanks to constant research and excavations. You can learn more about the history of the tilcaras and it´s place in the wider panorama of the Aboriginal communities in Argentina and South America. A few years ago, two mummies were exposed here, but have been taken from the exhibition due to the declaration of Tilcara as an indigenous municipality and in order to respect the communities that actually inhabit the region.

Gastronomy and nightlife

In the last years the town of Tilcara has developed its tourist industry. It is, among all the towns of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, the one that has more supply and better quality in the gastronomic part and counts with a night life of tradicional local bands and musical spectacles.

Recommended places to have dinner:
Restaurants: Quilla, Los puestos, El patio, El nuevo Progreso, La picadita.
Best Peñas in Tilcara: La Peña de Carlitos, Tinku, La peña de Chuspita.

Other interesting places to visit in Tilcara

  • Soto Avendaño Museum (Museum of sculptural and pictorial art, located 1 block from the main square)
  • Museum of Ermitas (Exhibition of the art of the hermitages, old familiar custom in Tilcara. The artist represent pictures of the life of Jesus and its acts with seeds and flowers.
  • Museum entre Cerros (MEC): In the Quebrada de Huichaira, 3 km from the village of Tilcara, this museum is dedicated to the art of photography, surrounded by beautiful scenery. You can access by foot, car or remis.
  • MUNICIPAL MARKET: In front of the Big Square of Tilcara is the municipal market, where every day from 8 am to 13 hs the market operates. Local producers offer lamb and llamas, different kinds of Andean potatoes, local Cheeses, typical foods, dried flowers, the best "empanadas" and excellent vegetables of local farms. It has a beautiful and enormous mural.

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