Festivals & Events
Carnaval in the Quebrada
Argentina's most intriguing celebrations of Carnaval take place along the length of the Quebrada de Humahuaca in February and March. Indigenous traditions melded with customs of the Spanish conquerors have created a vibrant hybrid that kicks off on the Saturday that falls 50 days before Easter Sunday. In each town, a devil figure is dug up from where he was buried the previous year and is paraded into town amid much noise; this triggers an eight-day bender of dancing and copious drinking. The devil is then reinterred, and sin symbolically put back in the closet for another year.
A recent tourist boom has seen a fine array of boutique sleeps sprout in Purmamarca and Tilcara. Both towns can get very full during the Argentine summer, when accommodations prices soar. Make sure to book ahead in summer, and on weekends throughout the year.
Andean cuisine, with its stewed goat, roasted Andean potatoes and grilled cuts of llama are the pride of nearly every damn kitchen in the Quebrada, so do not expect variety. The quality of food is decent, however. Tilcara has the most varied palate.