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“Poncho - not a garment but a tour company par excellence” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Poncho Private Day Tours

Poncho Private Day Tours
Guemes 760 | Cerrillos, Salta 4403, Argentina
54 387 4999035
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Ranked #1 of 18 Activities in Salta
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Owner description: Tailor-made tours with English-speaking guides
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Poncho - not a garment but a tour company par excellence”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

We chose Poncho Tours for 2 reasons. One, it has garnered rave reviews in TripAdvisor based on reasonable sample size and time span. Two, it offers private tours (usually of no more than 2 or 3 people) tailored to specific interests. Nick, who runs Poncho with his wife Alicia, always responded quickly to our questions while we were still finalizing our itinerary. As we sit down to write this report, we can say without any reservation that Poncho has delivered admirably in all aspects of our trip making it one of the most enjoyable in years.

Our trip for two was a 4 day passage in April 2013 to various parts of North West Argentina. Starting in the city of Salta, we traveled in a Renault SUV with our guide (more about him later) traversing the regions of Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán provinces. With input from Nick, we chose boutique hotels for our stays and all of them were fantastic, clean and comfortable. We visited wineries around Cafayate, tobacco fields around Salta, ruins of Quilmes, an ancient native settlement, in Tucumán province. Passed through many charming little towns and indulged in delicious local food. We were totally mesmerized by the awe-inspiring landscape wherever we went, particularly in Quebrada de Humahuaca valley and at the top of Serrania de Hornocal (4374 metres above sea level). The final destination of our trip was the salt flats of Salinas Grandes. To reach it we drove along National Route 52 (a paved asphalt road) over a mountainous section called Cuesta del Lipán (Lipán Slope). This is a steep slope carved out of the side of the mountain with many hairpin turns and stunning view. At the top, it reaches an elevation of about 4000 metres. On the descent, we could see the pure white salt flats like a mirage over the horizon.

We never cease to marvel at the dramatic difference in scenery between Patagonia (which we visited a week earlier) and NW Argentina. In one case it was glaciers and snow capped mountains and in the other arid desert and bare mountain ranges with strange and colourful rock formations. This contrast is what makes our trip that much more captivating.

Mariano, our guide, is one of the best we have ever come across in our travels. His knowledge of the region is immense as he has camped or hiked in almost all the spots he took us to. You can engage him in serious conversation in almost any local subject from wildlife, bird-life, plant life, geology, culture, customs, wine, folklore, economy to politics. He is an exceptionally good and safe driver who knows every country road and the streets of every town we visited – not to mention the friends he knows in each. He would take mental note about our idiosyncrasies during casual conversations and then make subtle adjustments to the itinerary to make our trip more interesting. Travelling with him is like having a friend showing you around his own neighbourhood - no pressure, always cordial, relaxed, informative and thoroughly enjoyable. It was a pleasure to have him as our guide.

Thanks Poncho Tours (Alicia, Nick, and Mariano) for 4 memorable days in NW Argentina.

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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80 reviews from our community

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English first
Vienna, Austria
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Poncho Tours rules!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

Our family had a wonderful trip with Nick from Salta to Tucuman! He knows all the best places to eat, mountains to climb for an excellent view and perfect places to stay for a night! We enjoyed the trip very much! We also stayed at Poncho Huasi and can highly recommend this beautiful house!!!!

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Awesome Road Trip 3 nights 4 days from Salta”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

This journey from Salta,Cachi,Molinos,Cafayatte,Salta is one of the most memorable. From the beginning Nick & Alicia from Poncho Tours were so helpful and obliging in helping us with our brief. We were met & picked up from our hotel by Mariano and for the next 4 days we five just had the best time. The scenery, wow! the roads, the lunches, wineries, accommodation,dinners we just couldn't fault. Mariano knew our brief, he was singing off the same page and was spot on. He took us to places that we would never have known, and he also had great contacts when it came to the wineries! Well done to Poncho Tours, a very professional operation, and a definite positive recommendation from us.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taipei, Taiwan
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“An unforgettable tour through NW Argentina”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

We traveled with Nick in late September for the better part of a week on a route that took us from Salta to Molinos, Cachi, San Antonio de Los Cobres, and Susques, including the Salinas Grandes. We had the time of our lives on this journey. Nick was prompt, courteous and forthcoming from our initial contact, patiently suggesting possible routes that best corresponded to our desires, and we gradually narrowed down a route that we were happy with.
Nick picked us up at the airport and shuttled us to our hotel in Salta the day before we started our trip. The journey itself, which focused on a wide variety of landscapes, was stupendous, with Nick just as excited about the trip as we were, especially when we spotted wildlife. He was pleased to stop where we wanted along the way and suggested great side trips, such as rarely seen Incan ruins, and places to stop to have lunch and to take in the amazing terrain. He was a cautious driver and we always felt we were in safe hands with him.
While the trip itself was unbelievably rewarding, it was somewhat tiring, due to the amount of territory covered, the altitude (don't underestimate this factor), and the unpaved roads in many areas. This, however, added to the adventure and there isn't a thing we would change.
Over the course of the five days we felt we made a new friend, and we would wholeheartedly recommend Nick and Poncho. We hope to have the opportunity to travel back to the region and take another trip with him.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Highlight of our Argentina trip!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012 via mobile

We took a three day Classic Wine Tour with Poncho Tours in September. The tour goes at a leisurely pace that you customize with Nick, the owner. This allows you to fully appreciate and absorb what you see instead of being rushed. I was constantly surprised by how spontaneous we could be while being on a tour. For example, there was a big religious festival occurring in the region and we would periodically stop and observe the pilgrims walking to Salta. I also developed an urge to pet and feed every llama I saw and Nick gamely pulled over whenever we found some affable llama owners without missing a beat.

This trip was also special in that we met a lot of different locals from weavers to winemakers to ex-pats. Sometimes, Nick knew the people and other times, the conversations were spontaneous and new friends were made. We met a lot of different people we would not have met had we been driving ourselves and they offered interesting insights into Argentinean life.

We tried a lot of different wines from a restaurant owner's personal homebrew to mom and pop wineries to large commercial wineries. The wine was universally good and the different settings only made it better. The landscape is gorgeous and photos don't really do it justice. The best way to understand the beauty and grandeur of this region is to come see it for yourself!

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