Mar 4, 2024
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Cuesta del Obispo: A zigzagging road in the Andes

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The Cuesta del Obispo is an imposing zigzagging road located in the province of Salta, Argentina. With a maximum height of 3,348 meters above sea level. Along its 20 kilometers, the Cuesta del Obispo offers a unique natural spectacle, with landscapes that change color and shape at every curve. The Cuesta del Obispo is located in the Quebrada de Escoipe, about 100 kilometers from the city of Salta. It can be accessed via Provincial Route 33, which starts from the town of El Carril. It connects the cities of Salta and Cachi, both important tourist centers in the province. Salta, the provincial capital, offers a wide variety of cultural and historical activities, while Cachi is a small town with a colonial charm and incredible landscapes.

  • Location: Provincial Route 33, Salta, Argentina
  • Length: 20 kilometers
  • Maximum Altitude: 3348 meters (Piedra del Molino)
  • Attractions: Valle Encantado, Piedra del Molino, Recta de Tin Tin, Torreón de la Cuesta
  • Activities: hiking, bird watching, photography


The valley witnessed the uprooting of the Chicoana indigenous people. It was named Cuesta de la Dormida del Obispo (Slope of the Bishop’s Sleep) because in 1622 Bishop Julián de Cortázar had to spend the night there. The name was simplified to Cuesta del Obispo. In colonial times, the journey from Salta to Molinos lasted three days. It was done by horse-drawn carriage to the foot of the slope, where people would spend the night. Then they would continue on horseback or muleback to the “La Cochera” post, where they would change to a new carriage.

Driving Precautions

The Cuesta del Obispo is 20 kilometers long. The road is winding and steep, with sharp curves and steep slopes. It is recommended to drive with caution and respect traffic regulations. As mentioned above, the road of the Cuesta del Obispo is winding and steep. It is recommended to drive with caution, respect traffic regulations and not make risky overtaking.

Safety Equipment: It is important to carry mandatory road safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, flares and a reflective vest.

Climate: The climate in the Cuesta del Obispo can be variable. It is important to check the forecast before starting the trip and bring appropriate clothing for the cold and rain.

Altitude: The maximum height of the Cuesta del Obispo is 3,348 meters above sea level. It is important to acclimatize to the altitude before engaging in strenuous physical activity.

Some of the most recommended points

The Cuesta Viewpoint: From this point you can get a panoramic view of the Quebrada de Escoipe. It is more or less in the middle of the slope and the views are spectacular.

La Piedra del Molino: It is a rock formation shaped like a millstone that is located at the highest point of the Cuesta. At the top, 3,348 meters above sea level, is the Piedra del Molino, a grinding rock carved from granite that gives the place its name. Legend has it that a lieutenant was transporting it to the city of Salta for the first mill, but the cart broke down and the rock remained there forever, marking the highest point on the road between Salta and Cachi.

Capillita, Piedra del Molino, Salta, Argentina, at the top of the Cuesta del Obispo. Photo by rodoluca, Wikimedia.

The Pozo de la Salamanca: It is a natural lagoon with legends and mysteries.

Valle Encantado: At the foot of the Cuesta del Obispo, guarded by the Torreón de la Cuesta (3,280 meters), an enchanted valley hides. Under favorable weather conditions, this oasis reveals itself, showing its multicolored hills, lagoons, flowers and cave paintings, next to a wedge of the yungas. A magical landscape that invites contemplation.

Recta de Tin Tin: Another point of interest is the  Recta de Tin Tin (Tin Tin Straight), a 19-kilometer (12-mile) straight section of road that crosses a flat plain at almost 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) of altitude. Built by the Incas between 1480 and 1535 as part of the Inca Trail, this straight section is characterized by its perfect alignment, similar to that achieved with modern technology. It crosses the Los Cardones National Park. The Recta del Tin Tin is an example of their remarkable engineering. Its perfect alignment is attributed to the use of bonfires as signals to maintain the straight path.

Recta de Tin Tin

Recta de Tin Tin

The Cuesta del Obispo is a unique place that offers an unforgettable experience to travelers who seek to discover the beauty of the Argentine north. With its incredible landscapes, its rich history and its vibrant culture, the Cuesta del Obispo is a destination that should not be missed. Touring the Cuesta del Obispo is an experience that combines the majesty of nature with the fascinating history of the Argentine north. From the panoramic views of the valley to the Tin Tin Straight, passing through the Piedra del Molino and the vestiges of the Inca Trail, this road offers an unforgettable journey through time and space.

Cuesta del Obispo in Google Maps

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