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Trekking from Iruya to San Isidro

Trekkin Iruya San Isidro

Here is a super interesting alternative for those travellers who enjoy travelling slow, experiencing each town at its own pace, immersing themselves into the culture and vibe of the locals. When visiting Iruya, we always recommend spending at least one night there since the bus trip will only allow you to spend a few hours if you want to return to Humahuaca on the same day. What is truly recommended is spending a few days there to fill your lungs with this unique, pure air and clear your mind with the unbelievable quietness.

Walking around this little village, visiting the viewpoint next to the antenna, entering the old, humble church or climbing the Condor vantage point are only some of the activities Iruya has to offer (the latter will give you an amazing view of the town surrounded by the colorful mountains from the other side of the bridge). Another very interesting option is a two or three hours hike to another tiny village: San Isidro.

Merely 8 kilometers away from Iruya, San Isidro looks as it is hanging from the mountains like its big brother. Walking next to the river (with special caution during the summer when it's full of water) we arrive in a little village which looks like it came out of a Lord of the Rings movie.
Many people will tell you that a guide is needed to get to San Isidro and hiring one shouldn’t be a problem if you ask around Iruya. However, it is not impossible to do it on your own. Leaving Iruya through its main square, take the road that crosses the river by the waterfall and, after a few minutes walk, you will reach the confluence of two rivers. Once there, you need to turn left and head towards the North, following the river.

After between two or three hours, you will start noticing some little houses, each with its own crops welcoming the visitors to San Isidro. Many of these offer both cheap accommodation and food, providing an extra income for the people living there. Make sure you taste some delicious empanadas, tamales, humitas and many other local dishes!
Many people may think San Isidro doesn’t have much to offer but the true beauty is in enjoying the quietness of a village isolated from the isolated Iruya, realizing that many of the things we take for granted are not that necessary and learning to appreciate the humbleness of a unique place in the region.
Even when it is possible to visit San Isidro as a daytrip, we recommend staying at least one night and see one of the most mindblowing and pure night skies in Northwest Argentina.
Returning to Iruya proves to be much easier and faster. You will be enjoying its steep streets again in two hours, ready to return to Humahuaca if the schedule allows it.
Next time you visit the region, make sure you make some time to enjoy San Isidro!