Visit the Quilmes Ruins on a half-day tour from Cafayate or a full-day tour from San Miguel de Tucuman. Though you’re free to roam the ruins independently, it’s worth visiting with a guide to better understand the history of the ancient city, which was inhabited by the indigenous Calchaquí people until it was conquered by the Spanish in 1666. If you’re an active traveler, climb to the peak of the hill for panoramic city views.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Quilmes Ruins are a must-visit for history buffs.
Wear comfortable shoes suitable for uneven terrain and bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water—the ruins don’t offer much shade.
There are a few stalls selling handicrafts and cold drinks at the ruins, but it’s best to bring snacks and water as opening hours are sporadic.
How to Get There
The Quilmes Ruins are located in the Tucuman province, around 34 miles (55 kilometers) south of Cafayate or a 1-hour drive. There’s no public transport to the site, so visit as part of a tour in order to save yourself the hassle of hiring a car.
When to Get There
It’s possible to visit the Quilmes Ruins at any time of year, though the most popular time is from April to November. If you’re visiting in the summer months, it’s worth visiting early in the day to avoid the midday heat.
Exploring the Calchaquí Valleys
The Quilmes Ruins lie within the Calchaquí Valleys, which stretch between Salta, Tucumán, and Catamarca. Highways 33, 40, and 68 run through the heart of the valleys, and provide great opportunities for road trips. Along with the ruins, additional highlights include the red-rock ravine of Quebrada de las Conchas; the cacti valleys of Cachi; the vertiginous vineyards of Cafayate, famed for Torrontés wine; and the Cuesta del Obispo (Bishop’s Slope), a mountain road replete with hairpin bends.
- Bodega Domingo Hermanos
- Bodega El Tránsito
- Vasija Secreta Winery (Bodega Vasija Secreta)
- Shells' Ravine (Quebrada de las Conchas)
- Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo)
- Acsibi Caves
- Salado River (Rio Juramento)
- Los Cardones National Park
- Cuesta del Obispo (Bishop’s Slope)
- Calchaqui Valley
- Toro Gorge (Quebrada del Toro)
- San Bernardo Convent
- Train to the Clouds (Tren a las Nubes)
- Historical Museum of the North (Museo Historico del Norte)
- Cultural Center of the Americas (Centro Cultural America)