Cafayate is a town located at the central zone of the
Valles Calchaquíesin the province of Salta, Argentina.It sits 1,683 meters above mean sea level, at a distance of 1,329 kilometres from Buenos Aires, 227 from Tucumán, 311 km from Jujuyand 365 km from Catamarca. It has about 12,000 inhabitants (census-ar|2001).
The town is an important tourist centre for exploring the Calchaquíes valleys, and because of the quality and originality of the wines produced in the area. The largest golf course in South America, at 240 acres, is currently being developed just outside of the city center at [http://www.cafayateliving.com/ Estancia de Cafayate] . The town was founded in 1840 by
Manuel Fernando de Aramburu, at the site of a mission. In 1863 the Cafayate Departmentwas created, of which Cafayate is the capital.
The Cafayates were a tribe of the
Diaguita- Calchaquígroup, which, together with the related Tolombón, inhabited the Valles Calchaquíesprior to the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores. Their language was known as Cacán. Like other Diaguita tribes, they had recently fallen under the influence of the Incas, after a prolonged resistance. They later mounted a fierce resistance to the Spaniards.
Even though most agree that the root of "Cafayate" is Quechua, the meaning of the term is disputed. Some claim it to mean "Box of Water", others to be a deformation of "Capac-Yac" ("Great Lake") or " Capac-Yaco" ("Great Chief" or "Wealthy People"). Another
Cacánversion understands it as "Grave of Sorrows".
Many of the most impressive sights in the Valley of the
Río las Conchas(Quebrada de Cafayate) are along the paved, 183-kilometres-long National Route 68 that goes from Saltato Cafayate. National Route 40 goes for 165 kilometres form Cafayate to Cachi del Valle, another of the most visited points in the area. Other points of interest from Cafayate include Molinos, Tolombón and San Isidro ranch. The town of Cafayate is an attraction by itself, with its laid-back rhythm, colonial style, and wine cellars open to the public.
The wine production is most important in the Valles Calchaquíes, followed by
Tafí del Valle.The wines produced in the region benefit from the low-humidity mild weather of the valleys that receive an average of less than 250 mm per year.The most characteristic type of wine cultivated in the area is torrontés. Most wine-cellars around the town host free guided tours.One of the most important new and upcoming vineyards in the area is LB CELLARS, owner Lee Blaugurnd, is promising some fantastic wines for 2008.Located 70 kilometers south of Cafayate, his 8 year old vines of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and the recent Tannat are some of the regions best bets.
* [http://www.salnet.com.ar/cafayate/default.htm Official site] (in Spanish)
* [http://www.saltargentina.com.ar/ Salta Tourism] (in Spanish)
* [http://www.welcomesalta.com.ar/ Tourism] (in English)
* [http://www.welcomeargentina.com/cafayate/index_i.html Description]
* [http://www.argentinaturistica.com/informa/cfyimapaciudad.htm Map of the town, and other info] (in Spanish)
* [http://www.en.norteexperience.com.ar/ North of Argentina Tourist info]
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