Our road trip in February 2024 took us back to some of our favorite destinations in northern Chile and Argentina that we’d originally visited in 2017, including San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, the epic high-altitude Jama Pass border crossing into Argentina, and the provinces of Jujuy and Salta in Argentina including the town of Cafayate and the Colchaqui Valley wine region. In total, we drove 1,162 miles (1,870 km) during February 2024. Here are highlights from our February 2024 road trip in northern Chile and Argentina including a route map, drive-lapse video, and photos.

Lincancabur Volcano Atacama road trip in northern Chile

Between San Pedro de Atacama and the Jama Pass border crossing, Chile’s Ruta 27 passes large volcanoes including 19,409 foot (5,916 metr) Lincancabur Volcano which you can see above.

February 2024 road trip in Northern Chile & Argentina

We began February 2024 in the famous desert town of San Pedro de Atacama in Northern Chile where Eric was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis which kept us off the road for two weeks while he recuperated. After getting “stuck” in the Atacama Desert longer than expected, we drove into Argentina over the Jama Pass.

midsummer snow Atacama road trip in northern Chile

Even though it was midsummer and temperatures in San Pedro de Atacama were sweltering, we hit fresh snow at an elevation of nearly 16,000 feet (4,876 meters) on the highway to the Jama Pass border crossing between Chile and Argentina.

The Jama Pass border crossing between Chile and Argentina is not technically a pass but at 14,173 feet (4,320 meters), this border point is respectably high. The real thrill is the drive to the pass. About 38 miles (61 km) out of San Pedro de Atacama–shortly after passing the Hito Cajon border crossing between Chile and Bolivia and in the shadow of the Lincancabur Volcano–the highway reaches 15,942 feet (4,859 meters) making this one of the highest paved roads in the world. Even though we did this drive in mid-summer, we encountered snow left behind from an overnight storm in the mountains.

jama pass welcome to argentina

The “Welcome to the Republic of Argentina” sign at the Jama Pass border crossing is barely visible under the stickers left behind by so many overlanders, including us.

After entering Argentina, we crossed the Argentina Puna and the Salar Grande salt flat then carried on to the Humahuaca Valley to further explore the towns of Purmamarca and Tilcara including some new-to -us wineries in this up-and-coming wine producing region.

colome winery

Then we continued south to Salta Province where our first stop was Estancia Colome, the luxury hotel that’s part of the celebrated Bodega Colome winery. We’d visited this place, which is one of the most remote wineries in the world, seven years ago but the hotel was closed at that time. With the hotel open again, we returned to experience the hotel (here’s our full review of Estancia Colome for Luxury Latin America), their great high-altitude wines, and the on-site and one-of-a-kind James Turrell Museum–the first James Turrell museum outside the US. After leaving Estancia Colome, we passed through the town of Cachi then spent more time in the city of Salta before visiting Estancia Pampa Grande.

Our final stop in February 2024 was the town of Cafayate in the Calchaqui Valley, which is Argentina’s #2 wine-producing region with more than 60 wineries, where we found many changes since our previous visit in 2017 when we wrote our story about road-tripping in the beautiful Colchaqui Valley for Travel + Leisure.

Our complete February 2024 road trip driving route in Northern Chile and Argentina can be seen in the map below:

See what we saw out there on the road in Northern Chile and Argentina during our February 2024 road trip in our dashcam drive-lapse video, shot by our Brinno camera which is attached to our dashboard at all times.

Here’s more about travel in Chile

Here’s more about travel in Argentina

 

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