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Crowned by the spectacular multi-coloured ridges of the Humahuaca Canyon, little San Salvador de Jujuy remains one of Argentina’s less-trodden backcountry towns. Unique in its authenticity as one of the most culturally indigenous towns in the country, Jujuy is however famed primarily as the best jumping off point for explorations between the rising foothills of the Argentine Andes. Jujuy tour guides offer trekking packages from the town, out across the cacti-dotted ridges all around to Paseo Colorado, or along the yungas pathways to the cascading falls and hot springs of Lagunas de Yala.
Those who choose to linger a little and enjoy the breezy mountain air of this high-perched regional capital will discover a charming colonial core, with the whitewashed facades of the Cathedral of St Francisco and the palm-shrouded monuments of leafy Belgrano Square looking largely untouched despite the Jujuy exodus of 1812. There’s also an enthralling, blue-collar side to Jujuy, with clusters of earthy parrilla grills found packed out with tobacco farmers and sugar cane agriculturalists, and a smattering of backpacker bars bubbling to life in the evening.