Hidden by the end of a bumpy mountain road in the province of Jujuy, you will find Argentina’s Fourteen Colors Mountains. The mountains are also known as Cerro de Catorce Colores, and it is one of Argentina’s many spectacular landscapes.
The real name of this part of the UNESCO-declared Quebrada de Humahuaca is Serranias del Hornacal. However, most people know the mountains as Cerro de Catorce Colores for their multiple color tones.
Cerro de Catorce Colores is the less-known compared to the Hill of Seven Colors in Purmamarca. Nevertheless, Fourteen Colors Mountains is certainly more spectacular than its Seven Colors little bother. The fame of the Cerro de Siete Colores, I assume, lies in its accessibility from Purmamarca.
Humahuaca is the only bigger town close to the Fourteen Colors Mountains. Humahuaca is located around 20 km away. It is not possible to get to the viewpoint over the Fourteen Colors Mountains without private transportation.
In Humahuaca, it is possible to hire a guided tour to the Fourteen Colors Mountains or rent a car.
The Fourteen-Colors Mountains (Cerro de Catorce Colores) in Argentina
What to Expect from Visiting Argentina’s Fourteen Colors Mountains
Temperatures and climate in the mountains
We visited Cerro de Catorce Colores in January which is the summer season in Argentina. We were surprised by how quickly the temperatures dropped as the car climbed up the mountains.
By the time we arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the Fourteen Colors Mountains, the temperature had dropped to around 10-15 degrees. There huge gray clouds were covering the sky.
I was very happy for having bought at least a small jacket. But I wasn’t happy with my choice to put on shorts!
The colors of the mountains depend on how the lighting is at the time of visiting. The colors might have been more bright on a sunny day. But the gray clouds and the sun’s rays added a more dramatic feature to the photos.
The drive from Humahuaca to the viewpoint over the Fourteen Colors Mountains takes around one hour. In that time you will climb 1,300 meters. At the highest point, you will be around 4,300 meters above sea level.
So, be aware that altitude sickness might kick in! You can start to feel dizzy and your physical state will for sure not be as you are used to.
The Road to Cerro de Catorce Colores
Most roads in Northwest Argentina were in a pretty good state; paved and well-marked. The rental car hadn’t had any issues so far with the step turns…
Until we headed toward the Fourteen-Colors Mountains!
The road is unpaved and bumpy. Going around and about, higher and higher up as the surrounding landscape changed from low brushes to plain-colored stone mountains. The views got more and more amazing as the car climbed up the unpaved roads. But Gosh, I was happy that it wasn’t me who was driving!
What to See by Cerro de Catorce Colores
Towards the end of the road toward Fourteen Colors Mountains, you will have to stop by a small checkpoint. They will charge you a small amount for entering the viewpoint. So, remember to bring cash!
Follow the road the last bit, and you will arrive at the first viewpoint.
The viewpoint is basically a parking lot. From there you can take a small walk/hike downhill to the second viewpoint overlooking the mountains.
The walk will surely test your physical state at the heights!
When you stand there in the middle of Quebrada de Humahuaca at 4,350 meters above sea level. The view over these multicolored mountains with fluffy clouds passing by. Maybe somewhere far away you will hear a thunder passing through the mountainsides. It is a very impressive experience!
The Cemetery in the Mountains
In the middle of the mountains on the road towards the Fourteen Colors Mountains, there is a cemetery!
Argentina has this thing of having some quite astonishing cemeteries. Of course, there is the famous Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. But there was also a cemetery very worth visiting in Purmamarca.
This one was in style with the one in Purmamarca with colorful plastic flower decorations and different side thumbs. There in the middle of nowhere with the mountains in the background.
As always be respectful for both living and death if you want to visit a cemetery.
How to Get to the Cerro de Catorce Colores from Humahuaca?
Getting from Humahuaca to the Fourteen 14 Colors Mountains takes around 40-45 minutes. It also depends on how many times you stop to take photos. The ride is around 24 km.
When you arrive in Humahuaca, pass through the town until you meet a bridge crossing over the river, Río Grande. The bridge is located two blocks from the bus station of Humahuaca. It is the only bridge that crosses the river.
After crossing the bridge, turn right on Ruta Provincial 73 in the direction of Santa Ana. Stay on the provincial road, and do not make any turns toward the nearby villages.
Follow the road up the mountains until you get to the small checkpoint for entering the viewpoint of Cerro de Catorce Colores.
If in doubt, you can check out this map of the route to the viewpoint of Cerro de Catorce Colores.
A huge thanks to Bentes rejser for providing the photos of me 🙂
What about you? Would you like to visit Cerro de Catorce Colores? Or are maybe already planning to? Have you visited similar multicolored mountains in other places in the world? Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!
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