Humahuaca is a small city in Provincia San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina adjacent to the spectacular Quebrada de Humahuaca on the main road from Argentina into Bolivia. With a population of nearly 8,000 Humahuaca is sited along the banks of the Rio Grande at 3,000 meters above sea level.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca was the first part of Argentina to be explored and settled by the Spaniards, for it provided a connecting route to the more temperate regions further south around Salta and Cordoba where supplies of food and draft animals could be found for the silver mines at Potosi, the gold mines at Oruro and other mining settlements in Upper Peru, now Bolivia. The town was a stopping place along that route before beginning the difficult climb to the Altiplano. Later Humahuaca was a central place for the revolutionary activity that eventually led to the creation of modern Argentina. Humahuaca was also a station on the now defunct railway that connected Bolivia to Buenos Aires, and its wild west aspect will remind many North Americans of some of the towns of Arizona or New Mexico. A dusty ranching center surrounded by acres of cactus and spectacularly colorful mountains, Humahuaca looks like it should be a set for a wild west movie.