El Pucará del Tilcara, La Garganta del Diablo, the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay, and the Pilgrimage to Punta Corral

Tilcara is a bigger town than Humahuaca with a bit more to offer.

 South American towns love to carve their names into hillsides overlooking the town.  Austin and I had seen it in Cuzco and I saw it here again in Tilcara:  "Bienvenidos a Tilcara.”

South American towns love to carve their names into hillsides overlooking the town. Austin and I had seen it in Cuzco and I saw it here again in Tilcara: “Bienvenidos a Tilcara.”

My first day I hiked up the “Devil’s Throat”, aka La Garganta del Diablo.

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Forty-five minutes into the hike you can see why the locals call it the Devil’s Throat.

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The gorge was formed over thousands of years by the Huasamayo river but as the below video shows, the river is now just a trickle.


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From the top of the gorge you can hike upwards along the stream that is Rio Huasamayo.

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I did the hike with a guy from Uruguay who I had met at the trailhead, Mauricio Betran Garcia.

Mauricio blazes the trail across the stream

Mauricio blazes the trail across the stream

By the time I had arrived in Argentina my Spanish was as good as it got in all of South America.  I was able to carry on a conversation with Mauricio, solely in (basic) Spanish, for about three hours, mostly because Mauricio didn’t speak much english.

Mauricio snaps my pic in front of the waterfall at the top of el Garganta del Diablo

Mauricio snaps my pic in front of the waterfall at the top of la Garganta del Diablo

My ability to speak Argentinian Spanish, however, is a different story.

Cacti and blue sky were the themes of the day

Cacti and blue sky were the themes of the day

In Argentina “calle” (street) and “pollo” (chicken) are pronounced “Kai-shay” and “Po-sho” instead of “Kai-yay” and “Po-yo”, as in the rest of South America.  The double-L, which normally has a “Y” sound in spanish, has more of a “sh” sound in Argentina.

The silver bushes were sharp looking and sharp to the touch

The silver bushes were sharp looking and sharp to the touch

I guess the difference is comparable to english in the south of the United States vs. the north.  For instance, the five word sentence: “Its at the add line” (think an oil change) in the north of the U.S. is pronounced with only one word in the south, “Satadline!”, typically with a  mouthful of chew.

Mauricio and I passed by a herd of feeding goats on our way back to the town center

Mauricio and I passed by a herd of feeding goats on our way back to the town center

Thankfully Mauricio was from Uruguay so I didn’t have problems understanding him.

Mauricio and I’s topically varied conversation continued after our hike was over and on into dinner.

I had a bowl of “locro”, a delicious northwest Argentine stew made with lama meat.  Mauricio had about five empanadas.  Argentina’s empanadas are arguably the best in all of South America

I had a bowl of “locro”, a tasty northwest Argentine stew made with lama meat. Mauricio had about five empanadas. Argentina’s empanadas are arguably the best in all of South America

We talked about a lot of things but as I usually do, I steered the conversation towards the place that the person I’m talking with lives, in this case Uruguay, and its sociopolitical role within South America.

I had heard some interesting things about Montevideo and Uruguay from Matan Vax, my Bolivia travel partner for 3+ weeks. Matan had traveled in Uruguay right before he met me in Bolivia.

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2 thoughts on “El Pucará del Tilcara, La Garganta del Diablo, the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay, and the Pilgrimage to Punta Corral

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