Maimará, multiplicity of tones
Maimará isn’t the most well known destination in the province of Jujuy, but in my opinion still worth a (short) visit. Just leave the main road through the Quebrada de Humahuaca and drive to the center of town.
Maimará is, at least during our first visit on a cloudy and gloomy day, a little bit dusty town with adobe houses in the same colour - reddish brown - as the surrounding mountains.
There are a couple of shops, a market and also street vendors. We hardly could find a café, but in ‘La Casa del Tata’, along the main road, the waitress did her utmost to make a nice ‘cafe cortado’, which we had together with a couple of ‘medias lunas’.
In the Turist Information Center a very helpful (and proud) staff member gave us a brochure with a small map and told us how to come as close as possible to ‘La Paleta del Pintor’. This ‘Painter’s Palette’ is by far the most interesting sight in/nearby Maimará and for me one of the most beautiful parts of the Humahuaca Gorge.
We walked along unpaved streets, passed the abandoned railway station and reached the Rio Grande through a narrow footpath nearby a collapsed bridge.
But the view of Painter’s Palette was magnificent: the wild streaming brown coloured water of the river in the foreground and the stunning multi-coloured patterns of the mountain in the background.
Another must see is the cemetery of Maimará, situated along the main road. This is one of the many hilltop cemeteries in the northwest of Argentina. (The custom of burying the dead on hilltops comes from both Incan and pre-Incan civilisations. The idea is to have a final resting place closer to God. Many villages in the Northwest of Argentina do have such a hillside cemetery.)
Although a cemetery isn’t very inviting to visit, we walked around and saw the curious architecture of vaults, sculptures and many crosses decorated with flowers. Some of them were plastic garlands, but others seemed to be dried, but still looked fresh.
When visiting the cemetery walk (at the outside) along the wall to a kind of lookout with great views over the valley with its plots of vegetables, flowers and orchards.