When arriving in Jujuy you have several options to choose your base camp. We chose Tilcara, a village above Salta. If you’re short on time you can do a daytrip from Salta to Purmamarca and Salinas Grandes. But otherwise move your as to Tilcara!! It is centrally located between Salta and the Bolivian border, so it is also perfect if you’re going further north. It has plenty of hostel and hotel options. But I strongly advise you to book a private room or a dorm at Hostel Antigua. On all this is the perfect hostel; clean and comfortable, many facilities, excellent service level, English speaking staff, café with mountain view and a nice place to meet people! When full? Casa de las Mollos (if you like animals) or hostal Waira.
Tilcara is amazing. It is a small village with a lot of shops, restaurants, a local craftwork market and a food market (daily) and a view bars as well. We had dinner at Qomer on the main street, wow, delicious! Try platos regionales and house wine. For lunch we tried the asado en pan also on the main street by a local asado café, from which you can smell the parillo from far away. Loved it. The lama wasn’t our favorite meat, but if you try it, take it grilled and red. If you’re visiting in the fall or in winter time make sure your first stop is a visit to the local market. There you can by lama woollen socks, leg warmers, scarfs, ponchos and beautiful sweaters. Leg warmers are less the 25 ARS$ and so nice. Bring sun block and sun glasses! Where layers because during the day it is very hot but in the afternoon it gets really cold!
You can do several walks in the area by yourself. Gargante del Diablo is a great hike of 3,5 hours. The views are spectacular. Walk slowly; remember the altitude is around 3 km! Drink a lot of water. The waterfalls are not spectacular, just enjoy the views. Pucará (the Inca Ruins) is much better to understand with some information via a guide or a magazine. A must see if your body is up for it is the view point from the hill just after the bridge on the way to Pucará. You will have to look for the path, but it is out there! Take your time on the top, have some rest, eat something and take beautiful pictures! One more thing is the photo museum 4 km away. If you like photography it is worth going to.
Humahuaca is a smaller and very touristic village. A nice hostel is Humahuacasa. Ask for the thickest mattresses otherwise your night will be horrible! What you must do is the 14 coloured mountain. You will go in a 4×4 and will climb to an altitude of more than 4 km’s! Spectacular. A two day trip to Iruya is very much recommendable; this is a mountain village by the river. The best day trip we did from Tilcara was to Purmamarca and Salinas Grandes. In the morning you will have an amazing view on the 7 coloured mountain (due to the minerals). There is a punte de mirante on the other side of the almost dry river. It is a bit of a climb but once you’re up there, wow! Again, take it slow and walk all the way to the final point. After returning into the village we rested for a while and had some coffee. Then we went to the 7 coloured mountain to walk a trail behind the mountain. This is an easy and beautiful hike! After lunch we went to Salinas Grandes, the salt flakes. A fun trip! Take a taxi around 16:00, because if you go earlier it is too hot. If you go in a taxi with 4 people it is 320 ARS$ in total to go, have fun for an hour or so and go back again. We bargained our way back to Tilcare for only 40 ARS$ more. In the beginning we figured we were not the type of persons that were going to make the touristic photo’s that every tourist takes. But in the end… what else are you going to do!! It is so much fun because of the wide space through which you’ll get optical illusion. Just do it!
You have many other possibilities. If we had the time we would have stayed here for two weeks.