Cafayate – The Ultimate Guide

by 6 Jul, 2019

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Cafayate in the Salta province of northern Argentina is an absolute must-visit destination for numerous reasons. 

Surrounded by a wall of mountains, Cafayate is packed with gorgeous colonial buildings that sprawl out from its picturesque plaza. 

The surrounding landscapes are absolutely stunning boasting multicolored mountains, vast valleys dotted with bizarre rock formations and crazy terrain that’s been likened to Mars.  

best cafayate bodegas

Cafayate’s atmosphere is seriously chilled, quickly sucking you in to a slower pace of life. And the climate is consistently balmy all year round with almost 360 days of sun and virtually no rain.

But perhaps the biggest draw for Cafayate is that it’s home to Argentina’s lesser known wine region. So if you like a tipple of the good stuff, this place is literally unmissable.

We’ve put together a full guide on how to get there, what to do, where to eat, and where to stay. And of course it wouldn’t be the ultimate guide to Cafayate without covering all of the best wineries to visit.

How to Get to Cafayate

Depending on where you’re arriving from and how, getting to Cafayate isn’t necessarily going to be the easiest journey. But rest assured, it’s well worth any minor difficulties in getting there.

Bienvenidos a Cafayate sign

The buses generally run to and from Salta. This means that most journeys from further afield will involve a change in the city that shares the province’s name.

The bus company that runs the route between Salta and Cafayate is Flecha Bus and they’re very regular. The journey takes around 4 hours and times are as follows:

Salta > Cafayate: 6:50, 10:30, 13:00, 17:00, 19:30, 21:00

Cafayate > Salta: 5:00, 8:30, 10:30, 13:30, 16:00, 19:30

If you’re coming by car then you’ll need to get onto Route 68 or Route 40 depending on where you’re arriving from. They’re the two main roads running in and out of town.

How Long to Spend in Cafayate

Lots of people choose to visit Cafayate on a day trip from Salta city. And if a day is literally all the time you have then it’s definitely still worth the trip.

However, if you’re on a more flexible schedule then we recommend holing up here for a while longer. Every traveller we met in Cafayate had either extended their stay or desperately wished they could.

If you’re into wine and want to get around as many vineyards as possible, set aside a few days minimum. If you’ve been moving pretty quickly and are on the lookout for somewhere to chill and recuperate then consider longer.

We had time on our side so stayed in Cafayate for two blissful, wine soaked weeks. And we still came away wanting more. 

Where to Stay in Cafayate

Cafayate is one of the more popular destinations in the area which means there’s no shortage of great digs. Not only that but you’ll find fantastic accommodation for any budget, from 5 star luxury to cheap and cheerful.

Unless you have your own method of transport we’d definitely recommend staying in the town itself. There are a few hotels a bit further out, but without a car you risk feeling a bit stranded.

where to stay in Cafayate

Cafayate is becoming increasingly popular, especially during Argentina’s high season. Because of this, many of the most popular hotels get completely booked up in advance.

Our advice is don’t hesitate, book early to avoid disappointment.

Here’s our top picks for where to stay in Cafayate for every budget:

Luxury – Patios De Cafayate:

This gorgeous old colonial house is the top rated hotel in Cafayate and for good reason. Its rooms are decorated with fitting period furniture alongside mod cons like air conditioning and cable tv. There’s an outdoor pool and sun terrace, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the rays after a hard day’s wine tasting. And the location is brilliant, lying just on the outskirts of town and within walking distance of everything.

Mid Range – Casa del Sol Cafayate:

Right in the centre of town, Casa del Sol’s location is second to none. Tastefully decorated, the hotel also boasts a year round swimming pool and sun terrace and gorgeous gardens. Friendly staff and a delicious breakfast mean it consistently gets top ratings from guests.

Budget – Hostal Rustyk

Just a couple of blocks from the main plaza, you can’t get much more central than Hostal Rustyk. It’s a hostal that’s popular with a diverse crowd, everyone from young backpackers to older couples. It’s also surrounded by tonnes of budget friendly restaurants and bars.

Weather in Cafayate

The fantastic weather in Cafayate was one of the town’s biggest attractions for us. As lovers of warmer climes we were like pigs in muck. 

The days are perfect tshirt weather while a warm jumper or jacket will keep you comfortable in the evenings.

Sure, temperatures do vary throughout the year. The hotter months between October and March see highs of around 28°C (81.5°F). The colder months between May and September see lows of around 3°C (62°F).

weather in Cafayate

However, bear in mind that daytimes are invariably warm and the cold only sets in when the sun goes down. 

It’s sunny pretty much every day of the year and there’s hardly any rain whatsoever. You’re virtually guaranteed bright blue skies for your visit.

Cafayate Wine

Since this is Cafayate’s main draw, there’s no better place to start than with the wine. But don’t worry if you’re not a wine fan, we’ve got plenty more great info on Cafayate further on.

Everyone’s heard of Mendoza – internationally it’s well renowned, even among people who know nothing about wine. And no doubt many of you, like us, have quaffed your fair share of Merlot from Mendoza’s celebrated vineyards.

But you might be surprised to learn it’s not the only place in Argentina that produce top notch wine. In fact it might not even produce the country’s best wine. 

This is a bold claim, but that accolade may well go to Cafayate. 

Cafayate wine

Cafayate wines are special because the grapes that produce them are grown in high altitude vineyards. In fact at almost 2,000 feet, Cafayate boasts the highest vineyards in the world. 

Because of this Cafayate wines are known as vinos de altura or high altitude wines. If you’re wondering “what’s so special about that?”, it’s said to give the wines a unique intensity and concentration. 

Cafayate wine tasting

Cafayate also produces some very unusual wines from grapes that aren’t common in other parts of the world. The most famous of these is the Torrontes variety which thrives in the distinctive conditions found in Cafayate.

If you’ve not tried Torrontes before then you’re in for a treat. We’d never even heard of it before our visit to Cafayate but came away with a newfound appreciation. 

It’s bursting with super-fruity tropical flavours. Oh, and it’s a white wine. Probably not what you expected from Argentina, right?

On top of Torrontes there are loads of other varieties to try both red and white. Plus you’ll be doing it in some of the most picturesque settings in the whole of Argentina.

The Best Cafayate Bodegas

For such a relatively small town there are a whopping number of bodegas in Cafayate. So despite our best efforts and dedicating three solid days to the task, we didn’t manage to visit them all. 

Cafayate bodegas

One of the great things about the bodegas in Cafayate is that many are located in the centre of town. Because of this the majority are accessible by foot. 

Their central location makes it super convenient to hit quite a few in a short space of time. But it also means you don’t necessarily have to pay for tours, cabs, or even bike hire, helping cut costs.

That said, there are a number of top class bodegas just a short trip out of town that you should definitely make the effort to get to.

Here’s the lowdown on all the Cafayate bodegas we visited:

Finca Quara

Opening Times

Monday – Friday 9:30 – 13:00 & 14:15 – 16:00, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays 9:30 – 13:00

Finca Quara Winery Cafayate

Though Finca Quara is around 2k out of town it’s an extremely straightforward walk with some amazing views en route. 

With a history dating back over 140 years this is one of the oldest wine producers of the region. It is also one of the larger bodegas, exporting internationally and producing various varieties.

Finca Quara Bodega Cafayate

The building and surroundings are stunning. A long driveway lined with mature trees and flanked either side by rows of vineyards leads to the bodega. The main building is a sprawling complex of mesmerising arches, white domes and terracotta rooftops, all in the shadow of the craggy mountain range behind.

Finca Quara driveway Cafayate Argentina

The tour is free and the tasting, while not extensive, is also complimentary. Ordinarily you get to try two wines. For some reason our guide took a liking to us and we tasted a couple more. 

Finca Quara Bodega Cafayate Argentina

We enjoyed what we sampled and bought a couple of bottles to take away, so Finca Quara comes 100% recommended.

There’s no need to book tours or tastings in advance, they start regularly and last around 30 minutes.

Domingo Hermanos

Opening Times 

Monday – Saturday 9:30 – 12:30 & 15:00 – 18:30

Tours run weekdays at 9:15, 11:15, 15;15, 17:15 

The Domingo Hermanos bodega is on the southern tip of Cafayate, right on the outskirts of town. It’s the closest bodega to Quara Finca so good to combine either before or after heading there.

This is one of the largest industrial type bodegas and the focus is largely on quantity. They produce huge amounts of table wine and much of it is packaged into multi-litre bottles.

Bodega Domingo Hermanos Cafayate

That said, it’s an interesting tour and good to see the other side of the wine production in the area. Also, despite being produced in huge quantities, the wines are still very drinkable. It’s also more than likely what you’ll be served in Cafayate if you order table wine.

The tour is cheap and the setting where we had our tasting was besides the mini demonstration vineyard. Included are three varieties of wine plus a selection of the local goats cheese. While it definitely wasn’t the best wine we tasted in our time here, the experience was still very pleasant.

Things to do in Cafayate Argentina

The tours and tastings are at set times but you don’t have to book in advance. Just turn up a few minutes beforehand and buy your ticket in the office.

Bodega Nanni

Opening Times 

Monday – Saturday 9:30 – 13:00 & 14:30 – 18:00, Sunday 11:00 – 13:00 & 14:30 – 16:30

Just a couple of blocks from the main plaza, Bodega Nanni is probably Cafayate’s most popular organic winery. 

There are no vineyards in sight, but its quaint courtyard garden is absolutely gorgeous. Littered with old wine barrels and farming equipment, 

Bodega Nanni Cafayate

It’s also a fantastic place to stop off for lunch. In the garden you’ll find an intimate restaurant with tables that spill out from its building into the garden. The menu isn’t extensive but the food is very good and of course the wine is great.  

The winery began its journey to being organic way back in 1997 to mark its 100th anniversary. This made it one of Argentina’s first wine producers to be certified as such.

Nanni Bodega wine tasting

The tasting here was one of our favourites of the centrally located bodegas. There’s no tour as this isn’t where the grapes are grown or where the wine is actually produced.

For a small fee we tried 6 wines which provided great value. As a bonus the lady who did our wine tasting was extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. 

Bodega el Transito

Opening Times 

Monday – Saturday 9:00 – 13:00 & 15:00 – 17:00, Sunday 10:00 – 14:00 & 15:00 – 18:00

Another centrally located bodega, El Transito is extremely close to Bodega Nanni on the opposite side of the road. It was also probably our least favourite tasting in Cafayate. 

That’s not to say that the wine was bad, it wasn’t. But we didn’t enjoy the ambience and thought the tasting room/reception felt quite clinical. 

The building looks brand new which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you’re surrounded by so much historic, character-filled architecture, it’s hard to get excited about. 

The tasting took place in a dimly lit, personality-free room that doubles as the reception and hallway. The welcome was as chilly as the building.

We met other people who enjoyed the tasting and loved the wine so don’t let our assessment put you off. But if you like your bodegas with a bit of soul, don’t expect to love the experience, even if you dig the wine.

You don’t need to book the tastings in advance and they will also give you a tour if requested. Unusually for the city centre bodegas they do actually produce the wine on site.

Cafayate Argentina

Bodega Salvador Figueroa

Opening Times 

Monday – Saturday 9:00 – 12:30 & 15:00 – 19:00

Just around the corner from El Transito is the cute little Bodega Salvador Figueroa. It’s one of, if not the smallest bodega’s not just in Cafayate but the whole of northern Argentina. 

Bodega Salvador Figueroa is tiny, sparsely decorated, decidedly no-frills and perhaps even a little run down. But what it lacks in finesse it makes up for in charm. And incredible wine.

From the moment we stepped in, it felt like we were being welcomed into someone’s living room. They guy behind the desk was friendly and passionately explained the ethos behind what they do there.

Bodega Salvador Figueroa produces hardly any wine in comparison to most of Cafayate’s producers. But rather than gunning for quantity, they aim to craft a small amount of high quality, lovingly crafted reservas.

The tasting was just two varieties but the low price reflected that. The concentrated approach certainly pays off – the wine was some of the very best to pass our lips in Cafayate. 

Because of the super-high quality the wine is slightly more pricey, but the place is completely unpretentious. There’s no need to book in advance and it’s just a tasting not a tour.

Cafayate guide

Bodega Vasija Secreta

Opening Times 

Monday – Sunday 9:00 – 18:00

The name Bodega Vasija Secreta was one that just kept coming up in conversations with local wine lovers. After a handful of recommendations we began to get the idea that it was one we shouldn’t miss.

Situated a short distance from the bus station, Bodega Vasija Secreta virtually marks the north entrance of the town. It also claims to be Cafayate’s oldest winery.

Vasija Secreta Bodega Cafayate

There’s an onsite museum that provides you with a bit of the history and houses some super-sized barrels. This is also where the tours start though you should check in at the shop beforehand.

The bodega itself is a lovely colonial compound, a mix of exposed stone and white walls. There are vineyards surrounding three sides of the bodega and the standard Cafayate mountain backdrop.

The tour was a relatively brief and standard walk through the history of the bodega and their production methods. However, the actual building is really interesting and has some unique design features which are explained along the way.

The tasting usually consists of 4 wines, but again we got lucky. They had opened a couple of more expensive reservas the day before and had some left over for us to sample. 

We really enjoyed the wines here, especially the mid range Torrontes. Both the tour and the tasting are absolutely free making it unbeatable value for money. There’s no need to book ahead.

There’s a restaurant here that also came highly recommended for its outdoor setting and great food. 

Bodega Piattelli

Opening Times 

Monday – Sunday 9:00 – 19:00

This is the first of a trio of bodegas that lie slightly north-west of the town. At around 6km away from the centre it’s definitely possible to walk here. However, it’s a dusty path and largely uphill so we’d suggest going by taxi if you don’t have your own car.

We might not have ventured up here had we not met a cool guy called Axel at Bodega Vasija Secreta. He had his own car and wanted to check out the bodegas in this area so invited us to tag along.

Bodega Piattelli in Cafayate

We’re so glad we did! The three bodegas up in these hills turned out to be among our very favourites. We’d suggest getting up here any way you can to check out Bodega Piattelli and the two others below.

More than just a winery, Bodega Piatelli looks as though it came from the imagination of Walt Disney. Manicured landscaped gardens lead the way up to what can only be described as a castle.

Its multiple levels sprawl out in all directions across the hillside and it looks more like a fancy Hollywood crib than a bodega. The glitzy feel continues when you venture inside to the grand circular reception. 

Impossibly high ceilings, swanky chandeliers, enormous windows and an abundance of dark wood create a truly luxurious feel. Bodega Piatelli feels to have been built with a high end international audience in mind.

The tour was available in both English and Spanish and was in-depth, well delivered and highly polished. 

Cafayate wine tasting at Bodega Piattelli

There are two tasting options here that you can choose from, both take place in the impressive dedicated tasting room. The first is made up of eight young wines. The second includes a selection of some young wines plus a couple of the more pricey reservas. 

There’s a gorgeous restaurant onsite that’s open for lunch and boasts breath-taking views of the surrounding valley. It’s only open at lunch and it’s best to book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.

Cafayate at sunset

Fitting with the surroundings, the cost of the tour and tasting is at the more expensive end of the scale. There’s no need to book the tours in advance but they do run at set times so plan ahead.

Bodega San Pedro Yacochuya

Opening Times 

Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 17:00

Bodega San Pedro Yacochuya easily won the award for the best driveway. The approach road is lined with tall cacti on either side making for a picturesque drive up.

Bodega San Pedro Yacochuya driveway

And the visit just got better from there. We’d been told that it was a tiny family bodega and this was certainly the case. 

As with the other two wineries in these hills, the views were nothing short of spectacular. 

The tour was understandably fleeting as the winery is pretty tiny. But the tasting more than made up for the short tour.

We took our wine glasses outside and sat with our feet dangling over the edge of their raised patio. We were also treated to a platter of goats cheese accompanied by rustic homemade crackers. 

Bodega San Pedro Yacochuya in Cafayate

The setting sun bathed the valley in a golden glow and the wine was fantastic. There’s no need to book ahead here and the price of the tour and tasting was mid range. 

Bodega Domingo Molina

Opening Times 

Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 17:00

This was hands down our favourite bodega in the whole of Cafayate. Everything about it is outstanding and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

It’s actually the sister site of Domino Hermanos but has a completely different focus. Instead of churning out mass produced industrial wines, Bodega Domingo Molina is all about excellence.

Bodega Domingo Molina wine tasting

The tour was probably the best we had and was offered in both Spanish and English. Our guide really went into detail on how they produce the finest wines possible and the work it requires. She was extremely knowledgeable and able to answer everything thrown at her.

However, the best part of the visit and what really made it special was the tasting. The wines were exquisite and only made better by the unbelievable setting. We also got a basket of crackers and another bowl of the town’s famous goats cheese.

Bodega Domingo Molina Cafayate wine tour

The tasting area’s in a little garden overlooking their vineyards, and further afield, views of the entire town of Cafayate. You get to choose which wines you want to taste from a good selection and they’re served to you outside.

Bodega Domingo Molina Cafayate

It was super laid back and relaxing and we were blown away by the views.

There’s no need to book ahead for the tours although they are at set times so best to check ahead. The small price of the tour is deducted from any bottles of wine you purchase at the end.

Important things to note About Wine Tasting in Cafayate

Virtually all of the tours are in Spanish. Some bodegas do have English speakers but it’s best to ask on the day. It depends entirely on which guide is doing the tours as to whether they will speak English.

We haven’t included any prices for the wine tastings. Argentina’s extremely unstable economy meant that even during our time in Cafayate costs were regularly changing. To avoid providing you with outdated info we’ve chosen only to mention whether there was a cost attached and whether it was at the lower or higher end of the scale for wine tastings in Cafayate.

We were able to pay with card in all of the bodegas we visited. This went for both tours and tastings as well as bottles of wine to take away.

Hiring a car in Cafayate Salta

Argentina has relatively recently introduced a “zero tolerance” policy towards drink driving. In reality, the blood alcohol level limit is 0.05%, but be aware that’s still virtually nothing. If you’re driving then think very carefully before drinking anything. Also keep in mind that alcohol can still be in your system the day after.

We know a few of people who hired cars in North Argentina and were stopped at the police check points for breathalyser tests. The police especially keep their eye out for passing tourists. And whilst it may be possible to pay a fine (bribe) there and then for them to allow you on your way if you are over the limit, it’s really something you should try to avoid.

Other Things to do in Cafayate

Sure, the main reason most visitors come here is for the wine. But there are lots of other great things to do in Cafayate besides pickling your liver. Here’s our pick of the rest of the best things to do in Cafayate:

Navigate the Quebrada de las Conchas – National Route 68

The journey between Salta city and Cafayate is a phenomenal experience all in itself. The road snakes its way through some of the most incredible landscapes we’ve seen in the whole of the country.

Each twist and turn reveals new glimpses of increasingly audacious scenery. Otherworldly rock formations appear in seemingly unnatural colours from vibrant pinks to deep greens and everything in between.

Quebrada de las Conchas Salta Argentina

There are gravity-defying towers, mountains jutting out of the ground at strange angles, natural arches, vast canyons, and much more. You won’t take your eyes off the road for a moment for fear of missing something.

There are various ways of navigating the route:

Quebrada de las Conchas by Car

If you’ve got a car then fantastic, simply hit the main road out of town northbound and enjoy. However, if you don’t have your own set of wheels then you’ll struggle to rent a car in Cafayate.  

As far as I am aware there are no rental agencies in the town itself, the nearest rental locations are in Salta. Many people do opt to pick up a car there but usually if they’re planning to explore a bit more of the region.

If this is something you’re interested in then we’d recommend booking a car in advance. Because the rental market isn’t huge, they’re often in short supply, particularly at peak times.

Quebrada de las Conchas by Bus

The bus from Salta city to Cafayate takes Route 68. So if you’re coming from or heading to Salta you’ll get to experience it as part of the trip.

The journey takes around 4 hours and will be like the most spectacular movie you’ve ever seen. Our top tip is to try and bag yourself front row seats on the top of the bus. That way you’re guaranteed uninterrupted views for the entire journey.

However, the downside to the bus is that there are lots of stop off points you’ll miss out on. 

There are also various tours available from town. You’ll still get to see the sites but just without as much flexibility as with other methods.

Quebrada de las Conchas by Bicycle

For the more adventurous it’s possible to cover a good portion of the Quebrada de las Conchas route by bike. 

Most people jump on the first bus headed to Salta in the morning with their bikes, but there are numerous throughout the day. Ride it until the Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s throat and from here back into town it’s 47km. 

Quebrada de las Conchas by Bicycle

The distance means it’s definitely not for the feint-hearted. 47k is pretty far if you don’t cycle regularly, plus it’s along a main road. If you’re not a confident cycler then it might not be for you. 

However, after a tough initial climb, much of the road back to Cafayate is flat(ish). And if you’ve got cycling experience and a decent level of fitness it’s a great way to see the sights.

There are lots of places to hire bikes in the town of Cafayate. Lots of hostels offer bike rental and there are a couple of places on the main plaza as well. 

But choose wisely. 

We’ve heard lots of reports of very substandard bikes that have virtually fallen apart midway through the ride. 

Be sure to check the tyres are pumped and have some tread left on them. Take a quick look at the chain to check it’s not loose and liable to fall off every few pedals. Give the frame the once over for large cracks or rust. And be sure the brakes work before you go anywhere. 

Clearly you should expect a little wear and tear on your bike, it’s probably done a fair few miles. But don’t settle for something that may actually be dangerous. 

Don’t forget to take plenty of water and food to last the day. You’re likely to be in the saddle for 5 hours or more. There are a few tiendas en route but their opening times are best described as irregular.

Sites to Look Out for on the Quebrada de las Conchas

This route is jam-packed with awesome landmarks, many of which have become pretty famous over the years. 

Quebrada de las Conchas Cafayate

The Garganta del Diablo km 47 – giant rock formation in the shape of a horseshoe with sheer walls.

El Anfiteatro km 46 – vast natural amphitheatre where local traditional bands often play to show off the acoustics. The sheer scale of the Garganta and El Antifeatro is humbling.

El Sapo km 34 – the name translates as “toad” in English. The reason becomes pretty obvious when you lay eyes on this frog-shaped rock.

El Fraile km 32 – translates to “firar” in English, and you guessed it, it’s a rock formation in the shape of… a Friar. Best appreciated from further away.

El Obelisco km 22 – hopefully you’ve guessed this one already. This natural obelisk stands proud among the surrounding landscape.

Las Ventanas km 20 – “the windows” are a series of natural stone arches and large holes in what can only be described as walls of rock.

Los Castillos km 19 – the road approaches this series of castle-shaped formations head on providing an incredible view.

Hike to the Cascadas Del Rio Colorado – Cafayate Waterfalls

Located 6km outside of the town of Cafayate, the Cascadas Del Rio Colorado make for a great day out. The trailhead can be reached by bike, taxi or car, or alternatively you can just walk there instead.

Then it’s a scramble through a large gorge along the beautiful Rio Colorado. The route leads you to a gorgeous series of waterfalls that get larger as you go. 

It’s possible to do it by yourself without a guide but be aware that it’s not a well marked path. In fact there are several routes you can take and it’s pretty easy to get a bit lost. But that’s all part of the fun right?

When you arrive at the trailhead you need to pay a small entrance fee. Here you’ll also come across a gang of local guides looking to win your business and show you the route.

If you’re at all nervous or unsure then it’s worth the money for their expertise. Firstly you’ll avoid getting lost. But it’s also a guarantee that you’ll find all of the waterfalls – something plenty of visitors fail to do.

The route involves criss-crossing the river and some pretty steep climbs across loose terrain. Top advice is to wear good sturdy shoes and watch your step. 

Also make sure you take a swimsuit. One of the best parts of the hike is taking a well deserved, refreshing dip in the fresh water. 

Download the Northern Argentina section on Maps.Me before you go for some relatively accurate route guidance. Just bear in mind that you’re in a gorge so your GPS may not work perfectly.

Check Out Cafayate’s Goats Cheese Farm, Cabras de Cafayate 

You may not necessarily think that a goat farm and a winery would go hand in hand. But amazingly it’s owned by the same people as Domingo Hermanos and strangely enough the two concerns are highly complementary. 

The grape byproducts are actually what the goats are fed on – apparently they love it. And the goats manure is then used to fertilise the vineyards. Finally the goat meat ends up in restaurants all around Cafayate.

Domingo Hermanos tour

The tour itself is an engaging journey into the history of the farm as well as the production processes used. By the end you’ll be an expert on how to make goats cheese.

The best part comes afterwards with the tasting. We’re both absolute cheese fiends so loved trialling all of the delicious cheeses they make.

Cabras de Cafayate

They produce a number of varieties that include natural, smoked, chilli, basil, and ones with various other herbs in. We bought tonnes of this cheese. OK, maybe not tonnes, but at least a kilo. It’s finger-lickin’ good.

The farm is located a couple of miles outside town and takes about 20-30 minutes to walk to. Alternatively you can jump in a cab or cycle there if you hire a bike. 

Spend Some Pesos at the Mercado Artesanal

If you’re in the market for some traditional goods then the Mercado Artesanal is the place to get them. You’ll find it right on the main square just a little way down from the Bier Haus.

The Mercado Artesanal isn’t huge but you’ll discover loads of local pottery, jewellery, homemade delicacies and more. 

We absolutely loved the interesting pieces of decorated wood that we found. The pieces look like driftwood with hundreds of holes carved into them. They’re used to make everything from lamps to plant pots.

The prices are reasonable and if we hadn’t already filled our backpacks up with wine we’d probably have gone wild. 

Where to Eat in Cafayate

The food in the north of Argentina differs pretty significantly from the rest of the country. While you still find loads of the ubiquitous parilla barbecue restaurants, there’s lots of new and exciting things to try.

Best restaurants in Cafayate

There are lots of pretty looking restaurants that surround the main plaza, but in truth they’re not all of the highest quality. For better value for money or better fare head away from the square in virtually any direction.

There are numerous local restaurants that serve great traditional regional food as well as more upmarket spots with classy offerings.

Cafayate Restaurants

El Hornito: No-frills local spot that is generally always packed out around peak times. The food is tasty and the atmosphere is buzzing, just don’t expect rapid service. Portion sizes are huge and prices are low making it the perfect spot for a great value meal.

La Casa de las Empanadas: My mouth is watering just at the thought of these empanadas. Obviously the delicious filled pastries are the main reason to visit, though they do serve other local dishes. The winning choice is the cheese empanada, just trust me. It’s got a laid back atmosphere exemplified by the writing that’s all over every wall.

La Casa de las Empanada

Bad Brothers Wine Experience: This place is quickly gathering legendary status in Cafayate as one of the best places to spend your evenings. Not only is it a restaurant with great tapas-style food but they also produce their own wine. Despite not owning any vineyards they select grapes and get the wine made and bottled at one of the other wineries in town.

Bierhaus: While this is more a shout for their top locally brewed ales, the food is actually pretty decent as well. Expect pub grub to go along with your cracking drop of beer. Standard options like burgers, chicken strips and loaded fries are well executed so get your fast food fix here.

Where to eat in Cafayate

Bodega Nanni: One of the best restaurants attached to a bodega and as a bonus it’s centrally located. It serves up well executed Argentine favourites from empanadas to pasta and steak. As an added bonus the wine is priced the same as you’ll find it in the outlet shop.

Bodega Nanni restaurant Cafayate

Como en Casa: As the name suggests, this is homemade-style food but at it’s very best. It’s small, intimate, and knocks out a selection of Argentine classics from steaks to pasta dishes. The portion sizes are great and the prices are very reasonable making it a local favourite among Cafayate’s population.

Cafayate Street Food

It’s also worth a mention that away from the central plaza you’ll discover plenty of great street food. BBQs get lit as the sun goes down each evening, filling the night air with that heady smell of smoke. 

On some of them you’ll see the beef and chorizos that are so popular in this part of the world. On others you’ll find beautiful flatbreads and tortillas rellenas (stuffed tortillas). Filled with cheese or a combo of cheese and ham, these are a fantastic cheap snack or even light dinner.

Check out the wine ice cream as well. It’s on sale in all heladerias throughout the town and is made with actual wine. That’s if you’re not already “all wined out”!

guide to Cafayate Argentina

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Cafayate is an extremely safe town and we never felt anything but completely secure. However, accidents can happen. 

Particularly if you’re planning on doing any of the more adventurous activities like cycling or hiking to the waterfalls, you shouldn’t visit without solid insurance. 

Our go to insurance provider is World Nomads thanks to their fantastic plans and no bulshit approach.

Fill out the box below for a quick no obligation quote.

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