Tilcara On a Budget
SightsOne block away from the main square of Tilcara is the Iglesias de la Virgen del Rosario y San Francisco de Asis. Built in 1797 and renovated in 1865, the church is rather unique in the region for its important size and its two bell towers. After exploring the small town, you can walk in 15 minutes to the Pucara de Tilcara, a fortress on the top of a hill from the pre-Columbian era that was renovated by archaeologists of the university of Buenos Aires. The fortress forms a series of labyrinthine stones houses. It is opened every day from 9h to 19h and until 18h in winter with a break from 12h to 14h. The entry is free on Mondays and costs USD$3.20 during the rest of the week; it includes entrance to the Museo Arqueologico. You can also access the fortress by car. You will find a small botanical garden at the entrance of the fortress, which holds the famous piedra campana, a weird looking rock shaped like a bell. Also, if you decide to visit Tilcara, hiking to The Garganta del Diablo is a must. It is the most famous hike near Tilcara (USD$1 to access the main site). You will need to count 4 km by foot and 8km by car to reach the car park of the Garganta del Diablo and then 2 hours of hiking to reach a beautiful waterfall found in a hollow of the canyon. Another option is to visit the Cuevas del Waira, on inscription with the tourist office, which organizes departures every day at 9h and 15h from the office for USD$13. Only 4 km away from Tilcara, you will find these impressive caves in which you will walk about 4 hours with lanterns and accompanied by a specialized guide.
ActivitiesThere are three great museums worth visiting in Tilcara. First, the Museo Arqueologico, which is opened every day from 9h to 18h and until 19h in high season and has an entry fee of USD$3.20 per person (free on Mondays) that also includes the entrance to the pucara. The museum holds an important archaeological collection that shows the evolution of the popular culture of the region. Jewelry, masks, mortuary vases, pre-Columbian stone houses with family vaults and many other objects of the Argentinian, Peruvian, Chilean and Bolivian culture are exposed at the Museo Arqueologico of Tilcara. Otherwise, if you wish to learn more about the sculptor of the XX century, Soto Avendano, who made the famous Heroes of the Independence of Humahuaca, you should definitely have a look around the Museo Soto Avendano. Opened from Wednesday to Sunday, from 9h to 13h and 15h to 18h, the entrance is only USD$0.50. Finally, we recommend that you visit the Museo Regional de Pintura Jose Antonio Terry, where you will discover the artist's work including portraits of women and Andean scenes, in his own house. You will see the studio in which he worked and a few of his personal objects. The museum opens from Tuesday to Saturday from 9h to 19h and on Sunday from 9h to 12h and 14h to 18h.
Food and DiningBecause Tilcara is the major touristic centre of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, you will find many restaurants in town serving simple to more elaborated food including Western cuisine but mostly specialized in Andean food. You must try out some of the local Andean specialties, which are very different from Argentinian cuisine. Some typical dishes are quinoa, papas andinas, llama stew, empanadas jujenas, sweetened pumpkin, sopa de mani (peanut soup) and a spicy tomato spread.
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