Cachi: Argentina’s Mountain Retreat
Published: June 2009
By Ian Mount
The country’s Salta region, near this colonial town, offers an Andean escape from Buenos Aires.
Where to Stay
The matriarch of Cachi’s upscale hotels is El Molino de Cachi (doubles from $160, including breakfast), where guests stay in loftlike adobe-walled rooms remodeled from former grain-storage spaces. For a resort experience, try La Merced del Alto (doubles from $160, including breakfast), which has a spa and a pool with panoramic views. South of Cachi, Estancia Colomé (doubles from $340, including breakfast), on 96,000 acres, is the choice for isolated luxury. The television-free rooms are surrounded by fields of lavender and 150-year-old vines.
What to Do
Half the fun of going to Cachi is driving the switchbacks up the Cuesta del Obispo (“Bishop’s Slope”), which bursts with emerald vegetation and cardón cactuses. Cachi teems with artisanal shops; the widest selection is at the Mercado Artesanal. At Oliver Wine Bar, locals gather for a glass after dinner. And the best way to take in the landscape is on horseback: most hotels will arrange trips through the Calchaquí Valley.
Where to Eat
On a 19,500-acre ranch and vineyard about 15 minutes from Cachi, Sala de Payogasta (lunch for two $30) serves updated regional dishes (fried goat cheese breaded in quinoa; barbecued lamb) in a landscape of lunar-like beauty. Hacienda de Molinos (dinner for two $40), an hour south of Cachi, prepares gourmet salteña cuisine in a courtyard dominated by an aguaribay tree. In a house dating from 1796 in Cachi’s tiny downtown, Restaurante Luna Cautiva (dinner for two $30) offers house-made tapas and hosts peñas, nighttime folk-music shows.