A province with unmistakable flavours, deep valleys, and narrow streets oozing history and tradition, Tucumán and its gardens escort the passage of the world’s top vehicles during the 2016 Dakar Rally.
Tucumán is known as “the garden of the Republic.” Its capital city San Miguel de Tucumán offers a wealth of options to explore its landmarks. The historic Independence House, which keeps the spirit of the old 1816 halls where the Argentine Independence was declared, can be visited throughout the year. Its museum exhibits statues of saints, handmade items and furniture, as well as the original Independence documents of interest to visitors eager to learn about Argentine roots and history. In the afternoons, a sound and light show revives memories of the days of Independence.
In the evening, the city becomes alive in peñas (folk taverns) with zamba dancing lessons and other northern rhythms. To the sound of criollo guitars, we can master the first steps of typical northern folklore dances, while we taste homemade cheese or sweet pastelitos in old colonial patios of striking beauty.
The traditional northern empanadas, acknowledged as one of the most delicious foods in the area, include special ingredients that make them stand apart from those prepared in other provinces. There is a fried variety, with juicy minced meat seasoned with red pepper flakes, paprika, and cumin, and mixed with raisins and green olives, ideal to savour with a good glass of local red wine.
The Tafí Viejo region is famous for its National Lemon Festival and the aroma of this juicy fruit that is exported worldwide and is a source of inspiration for many of the dishes that we can try during our trip. Ice tea or lemonade combined with cayote jam with walnuts are delicious snack options in the summer.
The Calchaquí Valleys surprise nature lovers for their lush rainforest and great humidity. The region offers many fun activities – horse rides, hang-gliding, and trekking in the mountains.
Those wishing to find out about the roots of ancestral peoples should stop by the Quilmes Ruins. The tour of the site is quite a strong life experience, as we will learn about the ancient culture of these northern peoples, their territories, lore, and shelters, framed by an imposing view of peaks and valleys.