San Antonio de los Cobres (3750m) is a dusty, windy, cold mining town with nothing to attract visitors. It is, however, at the crossroads of several highland roads and it is the biggest town between Salta and the border to Chile. But there is really nothing to see. We had booked our accomodation til Cachi, but due to the uncertain conditions on Abra del Acay everything else was open, no booking.
We arrived after 6 hours driving in Cobres, quite tired but full of impressions. We checked the first hostal - fully booked, we checked the (only) hotel - fully booked, we checked the second hostal - fully booked, we checked the next hostal, guess what - fully booked, we checked the Tourist Information and I think you already know the answer - not a single bed in Cobres was available! If I understood them right, there was a feria in town?! Bad luck!
Ok you might think, lets go quickly to the next village! Not in the Argentinian Altiplano. According to the Tourist Office we could go to Salta (4-5hours, down to the lowlands), to Susques (4 hours), back to Cachi/La Poma (4-6 hours) to Tolar Grande (5 hours, it was on my itinery for the next day) or to the Quebrada de Humahuaca (4-5 hours, down to the foothills). Most of the roads would have been dust tracks.