©Philippe Widling/Getty Images

Catamarca & La Rioja

Often overlooked by travelers, these provinces are an adventure, rich in scenery and tradition. Both were home to important pre-Columbian cultures and consequently the region contains many important archaeological sites. The provinces rise westward into the Andes, with some of the country's most spectacular highland scenery, punctuated by ice-crusted volcanoes soaring above 19600ft (6000m), accessible by tour or 4WD. It's an utterly memorable landscape, and one you should not miss.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Catamarca & La Rioja.