From as early as the eighth century through the mid-17th century, a community of some 5,000 indigenous Calchaquí people lived within a walled city in northwestern Argentina. The Quilmes Ruins are well preserved, thanks in part to the hot, dry climate — the area gets an average 360 days of sun per year.
The ancient city of Quilmes reached its peak during the 17th century until 1666, when the tribe was conquered by the Spanish and the survivors were taken prisoner and relocated to the province of Buenos Aires. Climb to the peak of the ruins and you can look down over the layout of the walled city, a few areas of which have been partially reconstructed.
While it’s possible to visit the Quilmes Ruins on your own, it’s much better to take along a guide who can offer up some historical perspective and highlight the significance of various structures in the ruins. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, as the ruins offer hardly any shade, and the sun can get intense.