Central and Northern Argentina birding tour

October 3–16, 2024

Central and northwestern Argentina offer spectacular landscapes: Chaco woodlands, salt flats, Yungas cloud forest, semi-arid valleys, High Andes, and Puna Altiplano. This region is home to many endemic and localized birds, including Andean Condor, Black-legged Seriema, Tucuman Parrot, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, and Salinas Monjita, making it a prime destination for birdwatchers. Let the ABA and Seriema Nature Tours take you on an adventure to explore Argentina’s rich birdlife and enjoy the authentic culture and magnificent scenery of the Andes—as well as superb Malbec wines!

Day 1 3 Oct 2024 Arrive in Córdoba – Birding the Central Hills highlands
Day 2 4 Oct 2024 To Salinas Grandes, birding the Chaco woodlands
Day 3 5 Oct 2024 Salinas Grandes and dry Chaco scrub
Day 4 6 Oct 2024 To Tafí del Valle, birding from Chaco woods to Yungas cloud forest
Day 5 7 Oct 2024 Birding Tafí del Valle: Andean grasslands, ravines, montane forest
Day 6 8 Oct 2024 Tafí to “El Infiernillo” pass to Cafayate
Day 7 9 Oct 2024 Birding the endemic “Monte” scrub
Day 8 10 Oct 2024 Birding the Andes Mountain Range on the road to Cachi
Day 9 11 Oct 2024 Salta to Jujuy along the “Cornice Road”
Day 10 12 Oct 2024 Yungas Cloudforest at Calilegua National Park
Day 11 13 Oct 2024 Calilegua to Humahuaca Gorge UNESCO Heritage site
Day 12 14 Oct 2024 To the High Andean Altiplano and down to Yala
Day 13 15 Oct 2024 Montane Forest of Yala
Day 14 16 Oct 2024 Birding Yala, drive to the airport

Specialty birds:

Andean Condor, Torrent Duck, Black-legged Seriema, Red-faced Guan, Tucuman Parrot, Giant Hummingbird, Red-tailed Comet, Slender-tailed Woodstar, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, Salinas Monjita, Sandy Gallito, Rufous-throated Dipper, Sierran Meadowlark

Landscape, scenery, habitats:

The “Salinas Grandes” salt flats and surrounding Chaco woodlands, the Yungas cloud forests, and the stunning scenery of the High Andes.

Culture, history:

The colonial architecture of Salta and Jujuy, and the ancient cultures and traditions of UNESCO site Humahuaca Gorge.

Supported projects:

With our tour, we support several national parks and protected areas. Our accommodation choices reflect our commitment to wildlife conservation and local communities. We stay at lodges that support environmental initiatives and protect the habitats of various species. We also prefer small hotels and restaurants that are owned by local families, who benefit from our visits and share their culture and traditions with us.

Dates: October 3-16, 2024

Number of days and nights: 14 days / 13 nights

Start and end point:

  • Starting: 3 October 2024, Córdoba, Argentina (COR) (arrive before noon local time)
  • Finishing: 16 October 2024, Salta, Argentina (SLA) (depart after noon local time)

Group size:

  • Minimum number of participants: 5
  • Maximum number of participants: 10

Guides and ABA staff:

1 Argentinian lead guide and 1 ABA staff


  • Birds
  • General wildlife
  • Culture & history

Birding pace:

Medium – High

Photography opportunities:

Medium (it is not specifically a photography tour!)

Physical difficulty: 

Medium: In general, the pace of the tour is moderate. While we spend a lot of time on our feet, walks are not physically strenuous. Some days involve considerable walking while others require very little. Long drives can be expected when we move from one site to another, but we will generally go birding along the way. When possible, we will try to drive at midday in order to take advantage of early mornings and afternoons for birding. Early departures are typical in the warm areas, as we like to be out in the field when the birds are most active. When temperatures are high at midday will have a break during that time. Alternatively, you can go birding on your own, but the guide will retire until activities resume later in the afternoon. Additionally, there will be night outings in sites that are known for nocturnal species, but most of the evenings are free.

The tour starts in Córdoba at lower elevations, ascending from there to reach a maximum elevation of around 11,483 ft. (3,500 m) above Abra Pampa. We will be sleeping at elevations of 8,200 ft. (2,500 m) or lower and only one day we go up to 11483 ft. (3,500 m) during the morning, returning to a lower elevation on the same day. The ascent is gradual and usually allows acclimatization to higher elevations as we go on the tour. Few participants experience any issues, but it is still recommended to take precautions against altitude sickness.


Most of the hotels we use will be able to serve an early breakfast, but we may sometimes take a box breakfast. Lunch time will depend on the birding activity, but is normally served between 12.00 and 2 p.m. Some days could require a box lunch. Since restaurants in Argentina rarely open before 8 p.m. we will meet earlier to go over the checklist for the day and have dinner as soon as they start serving. Participants with special dietary requirements will find a variety of meals to choose from, although we cannot guarantee a wide choice when we stay in small cities or rural areas.


Weather will generally be warm to cool, and probably hot at midday. It is generally humid in the Yungas cloud forest, but dry and windy in the high Andes. Warm field clothing (for cold weather) will be appropriate for the higher tracts of the Andes, where temperatures can go down to below freezing in the morning and night. Expect a range of temperatures between 32 to 95° F (0 to 35°C). A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are recommended for sun protection, as the sun is strong in this area. Be sure to have one pair of good hiking boots or comfortable walking shoes and a second pair to change into. Dress will be casual throughout. Please limit baggage to one piece of luggage and one carry-on bag if possible, as some of the vehicles have limited luggage space.


  • $6,000 per person in double occupancy (twin or double)
  • $750 single supplement


  • 13 hotel nights
  • 3 meals per day from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 14
  • All in-country private transportation to and from sites visited and transportation from airport to hotel and day 1 and from hotel to airport on day 14
  • All guiding fees for tour leaders and local guides
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • All activities as described in the itinerary

Not included:

  • Transportation to and from Argentina (we start in Córdoba COR and end in Salta SLA)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Purchases of a personal nature, including (but not limited to) laundry service, room service, phone calls, toiletries, souvenirs etc.
  • No insurance is included. We strongly recommend you get your own travel, cancellation, and medical insurance
  • Extensions of the trip due to circumstances out of our control
  • Any tips you would like to offer tour leaders, guides, drivers, porters, wait staff, housekeeping, etc. for outstanding service

Terms and conditions:


Booking and secure payment:

10/03/2024: Arrive in Córdoba – Birding the Central Hills highlands.

The tour starts at midday at Córdoba international airport, Argentina. The airport is served by some international airlines. Alternatively, you can fly via Buenos Aires and catch a connecting flight to Córdoba.

Upon meeting the guide and boarding the bus, the tour starts driving towards “Pampa de Achala”, a grassy plateau in the vicinity of Quebrada del Condorito National Park, where we´ll look for the highland endemics of Córdoba Central Hills. Later descend to the Punilla Valley for birding in “Chaco” type woods.

Top birds to look out for today: Andean Condor, Rufous-banded Miner, Olrog’s Cinclodes, Cordoba Cinclodes, Least Shrike-tyrant, Stripe-capped Sparrow, Band-tailed Sierra-Finch, Sierran Meadowlark.

10/04/2024: To Salinas Grandes, birding the Chaco woodlands

In the morning, we go birding in the Sierran Chaco habitats around the hotel. After lunch, we continue our journey to the North, deeper in the Chaco woods of Central Argentina and in the vicinity of the “Salinas Grandes”, one of the largest saltflats in the country.

Top birds to look out for today: Andean Tinamou, Spot-winged Falconet, Red-tailed Comet, Black-bodied Woodpecker, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Lark-like Brushrunner, Little thornbird, Great Antshrike, Chiguanco Thrush, Black-and-chestnut Warbling-Finch, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, Golden-billed Saltator.

10/05/2024: Salinas Grandes and dry Chaco scrub

Today we bird the dry Chaco woodland habitats surrounding the saltflats, as well as the scrub habitats in the proximity of the saltflats.

Top birds to look out for today: Brushland Tinamou, Crested Hornero, Sharp-billed Canastero, Salinas Monjita, Crested Gallito, Black-crested Finch, Chaco Sparrow.

10/06/2024: To Tafí del Valle, birding from Chaco woods to Yungas cloud forest 

After some early birding around the hotel, our journey continues driving across the Chaco woodlands towards the province of Tucumán, where we start ascending the Aconquija mountain range. The humid Yungas cloud forest will be the main habitat, where we can find a completely new set of birds before arriving at our hotel near Tafí del Valle (6,550 ft. / 2,000 m).

Top birds to look out for today: Mitred Parakeet, Chaco Earthcreeper, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, Chaco Puffbird, Slaty Elaenia, White-throated Tyrannulet, Brown-capped Whitestart, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Many-coloured Chaco-finch.

10/07/2024: Birding Tafí del Valle: Andean grasslands, ravines, montane forest.

Today we will go birding above and below Tafí del Valle, in high Andean grasslands, ravines, and montane forest habitats.

Top birds to look out for today: Rufous-throated Dipper, Torrent Duck, Moreno’s Ground-Dove, Buff-breasted Earthcreeper, Scribble-tailed Canastero, Azara’s Spinetail, White-browed Tapaculo, Two-banded Warbler, Yellow-striped Brush-Finch, Tucuman Mountain-finch, Common Brush-Finch.

10/08/2024: Tafí to “El Infiernillo” pass to Cafayate.

After breakfast we leave Tafi and continue our ascend to “El Infiernillo” pass (9,980 ft. / 3,042 m) birding on the way, to later descend into the dry Calchaqui Valleys, where a completely new biome will be waiting for us: the endemic “Monte” semidesert.

Top birds to look out for today: Ornate Tinamou, Andean Hillstar, Rock Earthcreeper, Plain-colored seedeater, Greenish Yellow-Finch, Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch, Ringed Warbling-Finch, Band-tailed Sierra-Finch.

10/09/2024: Birding the endemic “Monte” scrub

In the morning we will go birding the Monte habitats near Cafayate, looking for endemics and specialties of the area. Our tour continues due North in the afternoon as we drive through the vineyards of Cafayate to later enter the ravine “Quebrada de las Conchas”, with stunning views of vertical walls and rock formations. We will stay overnight near Coronel Moldes for two nights (4,035 ft. / 1,230 m).

Top birds to look out for today: Black-legged Seriema, Burrowing Parrot, Black-winged Ground-Dove, Sparkling Violetear, White-winged Black-Tyrant, White-tipped Plantcutter,  Sandy Gallito, White-throated Cacholote, Plain-colored Seedeater.

10/10/2024: Birding the Andes Mountain Range on the road to Cachi.

Today, we take a full day trip climbing the Andes Mountain Range ascending along the road to Cachi, known as “Cuesta del Obispo” (Bishop’s slope), where we pass through a succession of habitats from Yungas cloud forests to cacti scrubland and high Andean grasslands.

Top birds to look out for today: Andean Swift, Giant Hummingbird, Slender-billed Miner, Maquis Canastero, Azara’s Spinetail, Zimmer’s Tapaculo, Two-banded Warbler, Plain-colored seedeater, Rufous-bellied Saltator.

10/11/2024: Salta to Jujuy along the “Cornice Road”

Our journey continues driving further North along the Lerma Valley on the “Camino de Cornisa”, a paved yet narrow road that winds through Yungas Cloudforest habitats and past a couple lakes that are home to a varied set of wildfowl. In the afternoon we arrive in Ledesma, in the vicinity of Calilegua National Park, which we will visit tomorrow.

Top birds to look out for today: Dusky-legged Guan, Mitred parakeet, Blue-crowned Trogon, Great-rufous Woodcreeper, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Mountain Wren, Spotted Nightingale-Thrush, Rusty-browed Warbling-Finch, Crested Oropendola.

10/12/2024: Yungas Cloudforest at Calilegua National Park

Today we go birding at Calilegua National Park, the largest park in the Yungas ecozone. It covers over 180,300 acres (73,000 hectares) and hosts a great diversity of flora and fauna, including over 360 species of birds. 

Top birds to look out for today: Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Golden-collared Macaw, Speckled Hummingbird, Blue-capped Puffleg, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Giant Antbird, Sclater’s Tyrannulet, White-throated Antpitta, Glossy-Black Thrush.

10/13/2024: Calilegua to Humahuaca Gorge UNESCO Heritage site.

After early birding near the hotel, our trip continues towards Humahuaca Gorge, a narrow and arid valley with an altitude that ranges from 65,620 to 13,124 ft. (2,000 to 4,000 m). Proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 2003, it boasts a stunning landscape of mountains and hills with different colors and shapes, a rich diversity of cultures, traditions, and biodiversity. We stay overnight in the village of Tilcara, at an altitude of 8,087 ft. (2,465 m).

Top birds to look out for today: Mountain Caracara, Mountain Parakeet, White-winged Negrito, Brown-backed Mockingbird, Black-hooded Sierra-finch, Black Siskin.

10/14/2024: To the High Andean Altiplano and down to Yala

Our day will take us to the highest part of our tour as we drive further north along the Humahuaca valley towards Abra Pampa, reaching a top altitude of 11,483 ft. (3,500m)*. The morning will be mostly driving through Puna habitats and highland lakes of the Altiplano, where most birds can be seen from the bus or walking a short distance. In the afternoon, we descend down the valley towards the proximity of Yala, at an altitude of 4,921 ft. (1,500 m), where we’ll spend the next two nights. 

* Participants with concerns about high altitude who prefer to opt out of this morning’s activity can explore Tilcara instead. There is an archaeological site and other attractions. You can meet the group later when we come back from Abra Pampa.

Top birds to look out for today: Puna Rhea, Chilean and Andean Flamingos, Andean Coot, Puna Teal, Puna Ibis, Andean Avocet, Puna Plover, Rufous-banded & Puna Miners, Puna Yellow-Finch.

10/15/2024: Montane Forest of Yala

We will spend the day birding in Potrero de Yala, a stunning park with lush montane forests. The Yala River runs through the park, creating rapids and waterfalls where we can find Torrent Duck and Rufous-throated Dipper, among many other birds.

Top birds to look out for today: Red-faced Guan, Tucuman Parrot, Torrent Duck, Rufous-throated Dipper, Slender-tailed Woodstar, Spotted-breasted Thornbird, Buff-banded Tyrannulet, Slaty Elaenia, Rusty Flower-Piercer, Black-backed Grosbeak, Yungas Sparrow, Fulvous-headed Brush-finch.

10/16/2024: Birding Yala, drive to the airport

After morning birding near the hotel, we drive for 2.5 hours to the International Airport of Salta (SLA) where the tour ends in time for midday flights. You can catch daily flights to Buenos Aires with Aerolineas Argentinas.