Catamarca, Argentina. Whenever I tell people where I am living, the general response is either, "Why?" or "Oh like Buenos Aires?".
No. Not like BA. Catamarca is in the north of Argentina, with a climate like Arizona. The city is small with 140k inhabitants and everything shuts down at siesta time, from 1pm-5pm. All cafes, grocery stores, bread shops, EVERYTHING. The heat is quite pleasant for most of the year until the summer (Dec-Feb) hits and then average temps are 34°C (93°F), which explains why siesta is almost a sacrament for Catamarqueños!
And the "Why?" Oh... LOVE. That's what brought me here. After 4 months of travel and long distance dating, I came here to be with my boyfriend. Holy mole... Life here has taken some adjustment for me! Learning another language is not a task for the faint-hearted, and via immersion is extra interesting, I have met 1 boy on exchange from Thailand, and now after 8 months of being here I met a fellow girl from the USA who leaves in 2 weeks.
My boyfriend and I even posted our home (the one he so brilliantly designed! It's absolutely gorgeous, come visit!) on Airbnb in order to meet some more extranjeros on their way through, and it has been great. We have hosted people from The Netherlands, Germany, Chile, USA, and Argentina and it has helped to shake things up in the house!
From the tourist guide books, there is not much written about Catamarca, so unfortunately the city is often overlooked by tourists, but there are quite a few hidden gems I would like to share, so here is the list! Hopefully it helps convince you to experience this province!
FOOD IN CATAMARCA
VEGAN Lunch Option – Pachamama – Bº 50vv norte c/5 2º etapa
Have your lunch made to order at this family-run, vegan home, many veggies grown in their own garden!
Tapas – La Cueva Del Santo – Republica 1150
Spanish tapas restaurant, trendy vibe.
Fancy – La Guada – Ayacucho 769
Different specials each night: sushi, asado, pasta and more. Eat in the back on the picnic tables under the stars.
Cafe – Florentino – Esquiu 811
Great trendy café, wifi, tasty pastries & salads. Owned by a wonderful woman from Buenos Aires (she speaks English!).
Local Pub – Oveja Negra Rock Bar – Nunez del Prado 898
Best lomitos in town (a vegetarian option that is so-so) loud music, good beer.
Cerveceria – Wakani – Calle Echeveria 1
Great craft beer selection, made in-house, try the plantain chips.
Pizza – Napoles – Av. Gdor. Francisco Galindez 599
Delicious brick oven pizza. Trendy vibe and strip of restaurants.
Local Vibe – La Guarda – Rivadavia 430
Empanadas, locro, wines, all things local. The front room is a complete wine shop, the back is a chill restaurant.
Tea House – Sabores Caseros – La Carrera
Off the beaten trail, cute tea house with amazing pastas and pastries.
Club/Bar – Jagger – Av. Pres. Arturo Illia
Late night club, all hour’s bar with great draft beers. OK snacks and food.
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN CATAMARCA
30 minutes from the city, a 5 hour round trip (medium intensity) hike into some amazing waterfalls.
A 45 minute drive into the clouds! Stop for a tea at the Casa de Te at the top!
Take a drive into the countryside, just 50km from town! Don't miss the short hike to La Virgen.
Trekking Catamarca Tours
See what this group is up to when you are visiting!
YOGA IN CATAMARCA
Acro Yoga - Suasti Bienestar y Movimento Esquiú 969
Acro Yoga on Tuesday and Friday! Suggested donation, 50-100 pesos per class
Classic Yoga - Casa Abierto
Class schedule varies, 100 pesos per class!
CULTURE IN CATAMARCA
Free walking tours – Free Tours Catamarca
Walk Catamarca, tour in Spanish. Right in El Centro in the main square.
Museo de la Virgen del valle – Republica 449
New museum in El Centro.
Museo Arqueologico Adan Quiroga – Sarmiento 450
Museum in El Centro, featuring a branch of the Incas, the Diaguitas.