The Best Wineries in Cafayate + 9 More Great Things to Do

The Best Wineries in Cafayate + 9 More Great Things to Do

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Before heading to Argentina, I had only ever heard of Mendoza, Argentina’s most popular wine region. This popular wine region in South America is on most wine aficionado’s bucket list. But if you are headed to Mendoza on a wine getaway or in the Salta province, consider adding Cafayate to your Argentina travel itinerary.

Located in Argentina’s north, Cafayate is quickly becoming a wine destination in South America. Unique to most other wine regions in Argentina, Cafayate is primarily known for its white wine variety of torrontes. With an elevation of 1,683 meters, the warm days and cool evenings make it the perfect weather for crisp white wines.

We spent a long weekend chasing all of the best wineries in Cafayate that we could find without breaking the bank and within walking (or biking) distance from the town center. We also aimed to steer clear of wineries where the wine could be purchased in the local supermarket.

But outside of searching for the best wineries in Cafayate, we also explored the town and nearby area for the best things to do in Cafayate. From finding the best places to eat to exploring nearby natural wonders, there was plenty of things to do in Cafayate to keep us busy!

Our trip to Cafayate was nothing short of spectacular, and we hope with our pick of the best wineries in Cafayate and other amazing things to do in Cafayate your time here will be too!

Note: We dropped our phone in the river during our trip to Cafayate and most photos were lost! Apologies for the lack of photos!

Best Wineries in Cafayate

If you are in Cafayate, my guess is you are here primarily for the wine. But with so many wineries even in this small town finding the best wineries in Cafayate can be overwhelming.

We enjoy visiting small boutique wineries as opposed to large mass production wineries. If I can find the bottle at the supermarket or liquor store, I’m probably not going to visit the winery. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t drink the wine, but why would I visit a winery when I can just buy the same wine at home!

So our goal is to find the best wineries in Cafayate that you cannot find in the supermarket. And without further adieu, here is our list of the best wineries in Cafayate and why we think they are so great!

Bodega El Porvenir de Cafayate | Best Overall Experience

Topping the list of the best wineries in Cafayate is Bodega El Porvenir de Cafayate. Located just inside the city, it is an easy visit without a car. A local family-owned winery, Porvenir prides itself on being a boutique and premium experience. With tours offered at 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, and 17 there is ample opportunity to enjoy a visit. While reservations are not required, if visiting during the high season, it is recommended.

Highly recommended, the wines are phenomenal. The white wines are fresh and aromatic with hints of peach and apricot. The best found in the area. The reds are round and full. The aged wines have the perfect balance of oak flavors mixed with other aromas such as chocolate, vanilla, and black and red fruits.

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Finca Las Nubes | Best Vineyard Setting

The views from the garden of Finca Las Nubes, one of the best wineries in Cayafate

To visit Finca Las Nubes you need a car, a bike, or the stamina to walk five and a half kilometers out of the city. Finca Las Nubes is located just on the outskirts of the city at the foothills of the surrounding mountains. It is just a short distance from the entrance Cascadas de Rio Colorado and therefore a pleasant way to end the strenuous hike to the waterfalls (more info below). The winery overlooks acres and acres of beautiful vineyards which can be viewed from a lovely garden which makes it one of the best wineries to visit in Cafayate.

Finca Las Nubes offers a tour that includes a tour of the vineyard and wine production facilities as well as a tasting. The tasting includes four different wines from their young wine line and feels a bit rushed. Instead, we recommend grabbing a bottle (or two) and enjoying them in the garden for a relaxed afternoon.

Finca Las Nubes specializes in the torrentes for which Cafayate is known in Argentina. It was light and crisp just as you would want it on a hot summer’s day. Skip the rosé as this varietal should be left to the French. The red wines tasted fine, but were not our favorites in Cafayate and definitely not in Argentina as a whole.

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Bodega Domingo Hermanos | Best on a Budget

Bodega Domingo Hermanos is the brother winery to Bodega Domingo Molino. Located just on the outskirts of the main town square, Bodega Domingo Hermanos is an easy visit for those without a car.

And not only are they conveniently located, but those on a budget will find Bodega Domingo Hermanos the best winery in Cafayate! While the wines here were not our favorite, the value is unbeatable. For only ARS $50 per person, the bodega offers a sampling of four wines plus a sampling of their homemade goat cheese. It doesn’t get much better than that in all of the wine regions in Argentina! Plus, the view sitting off the back overlooking the small vineyard can’t be beaten especially considering you are in the middle of a city.

On a smaller budget? Bodega Domingo Hermanos also offers a free tasting just at the counter. While not the best ambiance, it is a cost-saving way to taste some of the local wines.

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Bodega Nanni | Best for Organic Wine

A cluster of grapes along a vine at the vineyard
A cluster of grapes ready for picking

One of the best wineries in Cafayate to visit is Bodega Nanni. As the only organic winery in town, Bodega Nanni is at the forefront of modern progress in Cafayate.

Located in the city center, it is another easy way to taste the local wines without a car. The bodega offers a tour of the facilities prior to the tasting if preferred (or you can skip the tour as we did). The tasting itself, however, is not very comfortable. You stand around a table just inside the tasting room to enjoy the wine. Additionally, the pours are small and the wines, in our opinion, average. Despite this, if you are looking to try a few wineries in the area within walking distance, I would still give it a go. Who knows, you may like it!

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Bodega El Tránsito | Best Last Resort

Ok, so Bodega El Transito may not be the best of the best wineries in Cafayate, but one of the great things about Bodega El Transito is the location. Another winery located in the city, Bodega El Transito makes the list not because of the ambiance or friendliness, but because of location and the fact that they do make quality wines.

We enjoyed the wines from Bodega El Transito more than most of the other wineries that we visited, but if you are looking for a warm, welcoming experience, you will be disappointed. Barely an acknowledgment, no explanation of the wines, and a feeling of being rushed, all made this potential star feel a bit average.

But with that being said, if you are without a car and are simply looking to taste wine without “learning” too much, then the quality of wine at Bodega El Transito will make a visit worth it.

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Other Things to Do in Cafayate

You may be wondering what to do in Cafayate besides visiting wineries. There are plenty of things to do in Cafayate to keep yourself occupied for a long weekend. Whether you enjoy sampling local cuisine, nature walks or exploring nearby stunning landscapes, you won’t be bored in this charming Argentinian town.

So without further adieu, here is our list of the best things to do in Cafayate besides drinking wine.

Visit One of the Breweries in Cafayate

Sick of hunting down the best wineries in Cafayate? Or maybe you made your partner come to Cafayate on a wine expedition and they are not an avid wine drinker like yourself? Whatever your “excuse” maybe, trying one of the two breweries in town should be on your list of things to do in Cafayate.

Bierhaus Cafayate

Bierhaus Cafayate is a great alternative offering unbeatable happy hours with a beer only costing between $40-$60 pesos each. The local’s beers are delicious and refreshingly cool after being out in the hot sun all afternoon. Plus, it is located right on the main square which is great for people watching!

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La Cerveceria “La Cayateña”

Seeing as how delicious the beers were at Bierhaus Cafayate, we decided to try the other local brewery. While La Ceveceria “La Cayetana” serves up decent beers, the service is not as great as Bierhaus Cafayate. But if you love beer, we recommend you check them out. Or, if you crave a beer earlier than 7:00 pm as these guys are even open for brunch!

But do be wary of their posted hours of operations. We walked by the restaurant several times a day to find that it was closed.

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Treat Yourself by Dining at Bad Brothers Wine Experience

If you are looking for a reasonably priced dining experience in Cafayate, look no further than Bad Brothers Wine Experience. Combining the tapas-like feel of Spain with the local Argentinian cuisine, you will not be disappointed.

The menu changes regularly at Bad Brothers Wine Experience so it is unlikely that your meal will be the same as mine. What I can guarantee is that you will love it! Unfortunately for us, we lost all our photos from dinner when Eddie dropped our phone in a creek in the area so you cannot see Bad Brothers in all its glory.

Bad Brothers prepared the meal to perfection and the location was perfect. We sat in a small courtyard under the night sky sipping on delicious wine. How much better could life be?!? We ordered five small plates plus dessert and shared two bottles of wine. We had more than enough food for the two of us and too much wine, but we were living it up on vacation!

Book yourself a reservation in advance as they do fill up especially during the high season. If you book early (around 19:00 – 20:00) you are bound to get a table as the Argentinians like to dine a bit later!

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Hike the Cascadas de Rio Colorado

SPOILER ALERT: There are no photos to evidence this amazing hike as we forgot our camera in the car and dropped our phone in the river on the hike!

Hiking the Cascadas de Rio colorado was one of the highlights of Cafayate. Approximately six kilometers south of the city on road 25 de Mayo lies the entrance to the cascadas. Upon arrival, the locals told us the requirement to have a guide to visit the cascadas. This is not entirely accurate. Having a guide, while not required, is advised as the trail is not marked at all. It is required, however, for you to register your name and passport number at the entrance for safety reasons. Additionally, there is no fee to enter the trail. There is a donation box to help keep the area clean and safe.

If you do choose to hike to the cascada without a guide, be prepared. MapsMe has a route, but even following the route can be difficult. We found ourselves lost a few times requiring us to backtrack. Luckily there was a guide leading two other tourists which we were able to follow for a portion of the trail.

Another handy tip….take plenty of water and sunscreen as the hike takes between two and three hours. Plus, the hike is not in the shade as the trees are low and bushy. The sun beats down on you as you climb higher and higher up and over the ridge towards the waterfall.

Lastly, be careful with your belongings. On the other side of the ridge, you must cross the creek on multiple occasions to follow the path. Hold on to your things specifically your phone. We forgot to take our camera on the hike and used our phone as a camera and as a map. At one point when Eddie crossed the creek, our phone met its demise. Quickly sinking and flowing downstream, we lost all our photos from the hike as well as our map. Luckily, we were almost back to the starting point and met a few other hikers who could point us in the right direction for the exit.

Sample the Argentinian Street Food of Empanadas

Eating a oozy baked ham and cheese empanada
Check out that cheese string!

Empanadas are as synonymous with Argentina as wine. And no trip to Argentina is complete without sampling at least one (or many) empanadas.

For a sit-down meal, we recommend eating at La Casa de Empanadas. While you may not find your standard empanada fillings at La Casa de Empanadas, the empanadas here are delicious. Choose from 12 different types of empanadas or sample them all!

If you are looking to sample more empanadas, check out the empanadas from the ladies on the street just in front of La Casa de Empanadas. These empanadas are more traditional flavors, but still have the same great taste! Grab a few freshly baked empanadas and head over to the park to enjoy one of Argentina’s best street foods!

Grab Some Goat Cheese from Cafayate Goats

Located some 2 kilometers out of town is Cafayate Goats. Specializing in goat cheese, you can visit this working farm for a tour of the cheese-making facility or skip the tour and buy delicious cheese to enjoy with one of your most recent purchases you were sure to make at one of the best wineries in Cafayate.

Explore the Quebrada de las Conchas

Pablo van Go conquering the Quebrada de las Conchas, the reddish rocks found just outside of Cafayate, Argentina is one of the best things to do in Cafayate.
Heading out to see Quebrada de las Conchas is one of the best things to do in Cafayate!

Located just north of Cafayate towards Salta is the beautiful Quebrada de las Conchas. The quebrada de la conchas is the name for the dramatic landscape surrounding this area made of reddish-colored rock formations. While there are many sights to see along the drive such as the garganta del diablo, the mirador tres cruces, or the anfiteatro, the best part was simply driving and admiring the landscape. Based on our experience, boatloads of tourists fill these sights, so it is hard to appreciate the beauty when ten different people block your photo/view.

Alternatively, if you are overlanding like us, spend a night camped amongst the red cliffs. With lots of space, you are likely to find yourselves alone at sunset with the beauty of the quebrada de las conchas all to yourself. Just be careful during the wet season as this area is prone to flooding.

Not by car? Schedule a tour to visit the quebrada de las conchas or alternatively hire a bike. Take the bus up to the garganata del diablo and then enjoy the mostly downhill 50-kilometer bike ride back into Cafayate.

Eat Tortilla Rellenas

ummy, cheesy tortilla rellenas grilling on the streets of Cafayate
Freshly grilled tortilla rellenas is one of the best things to eat in Cayafate

Tortilla rellenas were quite possibly my favorite street food in Cafayate. On the corner of Av. Gral. Güemes Sur and Colón and Hurtado, a vendor waits for you starting around 17:00 each day. Tortillas grilled to perfection and stuffed with cheese, ham, and cheese or salami and cheese sit waiting for your indulgence. At only 30 pesos a pop (less than USD$1), you cannot go wrong. The first day we decided to split a tortilla rellena and realized quickly what a mistake we had made. Going forward, we ordered to soak up all the wine consumed during the day in preparation for the night festivities of more drinking and eating!

Taste Wine Icecream

If you like wine and ice cream you are in for a treat. At Heladería Miranda Creador del Helado de Vino, you guessed it, you can treat yourself to wine-flavored ice cream.

Choose from one of two wine flavors a cabernet (red) or a torrontes (white). You may even find Heladería Miranda Creador del Helado de Vino to be one of the best wineries in Cafayate!

And if wine ice cream isn’t for you, Heladería Miranda Creador del Helado de Vino also serves traditional flavors of ice cream.

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Relax in the Town Square

One of my favorite things to do in Cafayate was simply relaxing in the town square. It is the perfect place to sit watching the city pass by enjoying fresh empanadas from the ladies down the street. Or perhaps enjoy local meat and cheese from the small market on Belgrano Street just near the town square. Sit back and relax enjoying the beautiful views this quaint town has to offer.

Where to Stay in Cafayate

Hostal La Montaña

Centrally located with clean, air-conditioned rooms, the Hostal La Montaña is a simple hostel in Cafayate best suited for those on a budget. Breakfast is included in the cost of the room and the hotel staff is friendly and helpful. Prices start at USD $66 for a two-night stay.

Cabañas Yamasu Huasi

The two cabana hotel of Cabanas Yamasu Huasi is the perfect accommodation for couples looking to explore Cafayate. Conveniently located, the simple yet adequate rooms provide everything needed for a lovely stay. Complete with a continental breakfast outside your door each morning, a swimming pool to cool off in the afternoons, and views of the nearby mountains, you cannot go wrong with booking a room at Cabanas Yaamasu Huasi. Prices start at USD $160 for a two-night stay.

Adobe Charm

Situated within the 1200 acre privately owned Cafayate vineyards of La Estancia, Adobe Charm is the perfect vacation rental for families or groups of friends looking for a luxurious getaway. Only 4 kilometers from the center of town, this two-bedroom home is complete with stunning vineyard and mountain views, a swimming pool, an outdoor fire pit, and more. A stay at Adobe Charm will sure to make your trip to Cafayate memorable. Prices start at USD $580 for a two-night stay.

Hopefully, our time spent in Cafayate will give you a few ideas of what to do in Cafayate and the best wineries in Cafayate to explore. We would love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Looking for other wine regions in South America to explore? Check out Valle de Choapa in Chile or the up-and-coming wine region of Tarija in Bolivia!

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