We were at the passport and customs office at 07.40 ready for opening at 08.00. San Pedro is not a big place, but several trucks an a bus load of Australians all wanted to head for the Argentinian border some 100 miles away and wanted documents stamped. Things moved reasonably quickly and we were soon on our way. The first 10km of road is flat but then climbs swiftly from 2400m to well over 4000m. After a brief shallow stretch, giving the engine a chance to cool, we were climbing again- this time to a high plateau and reaching 4839m (over 15700 ft) at the highest point.
We passed high altitude salt lakes, with flamingoes, before descending slightly to Argentine immigration control where we were well photographed by all the police.
We stayed above 4000m for a long time, passing more salt lakes, before descending a long series of hairpin bends to reach the gorge at the bottom. We had lost 2500m of altitude and were still at 2300!
The colours in the gorge were like a painter's palette and each bend seemed more breathtaking than the previous one. After a lovely salad lunch at Pucamara we descended once more to our overnight stay at San Salvador de Jujuy.
A quick turn around to wipe the car, shower and do laundry before seeing the cathedral and museum followed by a great llama stew and local wine.