Tucumán - 5.5 hours, 4 daily departures $164 with Aconquija (Dec 2013) **the route is sometimes closed during the rainy season
Hire a Guide
You may take a private guided tour through Shell Gorge to Cafayate or take the two day small group tour through the Calchaqui Valley via Cachi. There are also minibus day tours for the drive through the gorge with various stops at the colored rock formations such as the Devil's Throat, Amphitheatre and Obelisk.
The town may be explored on foot and there are several places which hire bicycles to explore the vicinity.
Near the main square there are also taxis which can take you to the further lying vineyards if you are not inclined to hire a bicycle. Although the taxis are not metered the prices charged are generally reasonable.
If you want to do any day trips by car, you have to hire in Salta and drive now. No hire places in Cafayate.
The many vineyards (bodegas) of the region, the Quebrada de Cafayate.
Prior to setting out on any tours it is advisable to check opening and closing times with your hostel or inquire at the tourist information hut located on the main square. Like many attractions in Argentina the wineries too often have irregular opening and closing times and are given to cancelling tours at short notice. Tours generally are for a nominal fee (normally A$10 per person) that can be recouped against any wine purchases made afterwards.
The Museum of Wine is a museum dedicated to illustrating the relationship between the region and the wine industry. It is well designed and maintained but the subject matter is not very interesting and at A$30 per person you may consider skipping it.
About a kilometre from the main square is the Cabras da Cafayate - a goat cheese farm that offers tasting and tours and is worth the visit if you tire of the vineyards.
Ride back into Shell Gorge and stop at the sand dunes - huge white bluffs for some great photos. Ride up to the ravine and take a hike deep into a cloud forest gorge - this is local Indian land so go with one of the guides waiting at the entrance. Drive 45 minutes south into Tucuman province and visit the Quilmes Ruins, a pre-colombian city conquered by both Inca and Spanish conquistadores.
Hire a bike and tour the nearby bodegas. Cafayate can boast some stunning natural scenery that is best taken in slowly whilst enjoying the different wineries of the region.
Wine. Simply put, by travelling into wine country it would be remiss of any traveler to neglect to sample some of the local product. The most well known of the regions wines are the Torrontes (white) and Malbec (red) wines.
Traditional empanadas, tamales and humitas are easy to find and delicious. Be sure to try ice cream made from local wines - Ruta Nac. 40 between C.Q de Nino and Cordoba has a few ice cream shops. Remind that in the restaurants on main square, tax is not included in the price that is on the menu.
Accommodation is generally no problem in Cafayate, there are a multitude of cheap small hostels as well as more expensive and more luxurious hotels.