Welcome to Iruya
The journey is worthwhile in itself. Turning off RN 9, 26km north of Humahuaca, the ripio (gravel) road ascends to a 4000m pass at the Jujuy–Salta provincial boundary. Here, there’s a massive apacheta (travelers’ cairn). Those discarded plastic bottles once carried liquid offerings to Pachamama.
You then wind down a spectacular valley and eventually reach Iruya, home to a pretty yellow-and-blue church, steep streets, adobe houses and breathtaking mountainscapes (with soaring condors). It’s an indigenous community with traditional values, so tread lightly.
There’s a bank with ATM and a gas station.