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Hornocal Mountains

14 rainbow peaks in northwest Argentina, near the border with Bolivia


Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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Hornocal Mountain, also known as Serranía de Hornocal, boasts one of the most beautiful landscapes in northwest Argentina. Located near the town of Humahuaca in the province of Jujuy, Hornocal is called the natural wonder of 14 colorful mountains (Mirador del Cerro de los 14 Colores). The surreal landscape with the bright red and orange hues is one of the most photographed in Argentina!

The unique Mesozoic geologic formation, called Yacoraite, stretches along the Andes from Salta to Humahuaca and then through the Bolivian Altiplano range to Peru. Limestone rocks, formed about 600 million years ago, bear traces of various mineral sediments that can be seen in layers exposed by erosion. Dinosaur remains have been found in the Yacoraite fossils. Quebrada de Humahuaca region was also crossed by an ancient Inca caravan road, which allowed the area to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

The best time to visit the Hornocal Mountains is the dry season from April through October, however, the subtropical climate in northern Argentina makes a visit possible all year round. The Hornocal Mountains can be accessed by 4WD car, as the road is steep and unpaved. Located 16 mi (25 km) from the city of Humahuaca, the range has a high altitude of 15,620 ft (4,761 m). Tours to Hornocal are available from Buenos Aires. A taxi ride to Hornocal can also be hired in Salta.

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