Built in 1641, Humahuaca’s Iglesia de la Candelaria faces Plaza Gómez. Nearby, the lovably knobbly cabildo is famous for its clock tower, where a life-size figure of San Francisco Solano emerges at noon to deliver a benediction. From the plaza, a staircase climbs to the rather vulgar Monumento a la Independencia.
Festivals & Events
Humahuaca observes February 2 as the day of its patron, the Virgen de Candelaria.
Toreo de la Vincha
You won’t see bullfighting in Argentina – it was banned in the 19th century – but the unusual fiestas of Casabindo feature a toro (bull) as the central participant. This tiny and remote adobe puna village celebrates the Assumption on August 15 in style, and thousands make the journey to see the main event – man against beast in a duel of agility and wits.
The bull’s horns are garlanded with a red sweatband that contains three silver coins. Promesantes (young men from the village) armed with only a red cloth then try to distract the animal’s attention and rob it of its crown. The successful torero (matador) then offers the coins to the Virgin. The bull is unharmed. The festival has its origins in similar Spanish fiestas.
Casabindo is west of the Quebrada, accessible via a rough road beyond Purmamarca. Tour operators in Jujuy and Tilcara run trips to the festival.
The boutique hotel boom hasn’t yet hit Humahuaca, which keeps it real with cheap family-run accommodations and budget hotels. If you're looking for creature comforts, stay elsewhere. Prices rise for Carnaval and drop outside of summer.
Most eating places offer filling set lunches for AR$80 to AR$100.
Drinking & Nightlife
Humahuaca lacks the nightlife scene of nearby Tilcara, but you'll find cafes and restaurants with live music serving cold beer and decent wine on the main drag.
Near Humahuaca's plaza, Manos Andinas sells fair-trade artesanía. The handicrafts market, near the defunct train station, has woolen goods, souvenirs and atmosphere.