Founded in 1582, Salta is the capital of Salta Province and a favorite tourist spot in northwest Argentina. The city is renowned for its colonial architecture and folk music clubs. It is surrounded by superb natural areas, such as the cloud forests of Reserva del Huaico.
This day trip involves a stunning journey by rail into the La Polvorilla Mountains.
Sample the Gaucho lifestyle with trips including camping and outdoor dining.
Museums like the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña and the Museum of Fine arts in Salta hold some excellent collections.
Free walking tours will help you understand the historic center of Salta. Just remember to tip the guide.
Salta is famous for outdoor activities and extreme sports such as rafting, climbing, trekking, rappel, and paragliding.
The Andes have been one of archaeology's greatest regions, giving up countless treasures from thousands of years of history - much of which remains little known around the world. Well, you can put that right by visiting this superb museum. The Inca exhibition is comprehensive and illuminating in general, but the stars of the show are the three mummified children found at a ritual site on the Llullaillaco volcano. However, they are far from the only haunting artifacts to see here.
Salta's iconic cathedral was rebuilt in the 1850s following a major earthquake, and the designers used an attractive shade of pink for the exterior, lending it a lightness of touch that other cathedrals lack. Inside, you will find a shrine to General Martín Miguel de Güemes, a hero of the independence struggle, along with some sumptuous stained glass windows. But be sure to pass by in the evening, when the illuminated cathedral cuts a magnificent figure.
Salta's old town hall has been converted into this fantastic historical museum. The pre-Columbian sections provide a vivid introduction to northern Argentina's deep history, including a look at the area's links with the Inca Empire, while the colonial and post-independence eras are well represented in the artistic stakes as well. Located very close to the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña, the building is a work of art in itself, dating all the way back to 1717.
Salta's major marketplace is the ideal spot to stock up on provoleta cheese, alfajores biscuits or ready-made empanadas to munch on as you see the sights. Located on the Av San Martin in the downtown neighborhood, it's a bustling place where you can also pick up fresh produce, flowers, electrical essentials, and even clothes. It's all here, and available for negotiable prices in many cases, so don't be afraid to haggle.
The city's premier moving attraction, the "train to the clouds" is one of the most spectacular rail journeys on earth, and it begins from Salta's train station. In total, the journey up Quebrada del Toro ascends an impressive 4,220 meters, through rainbow-colored rocks, across dramatic valleys and - usually - close to a curious llama or two. The trip takes eight hours in total, leaves early, and tickets are always in demand - so book ahead to avoid any disappointment.
Salta is nearly 4,000 feet above sea level and has a subtropical highland climate with warm, sunny spring, fall, and summer seasons. Winters are mild and wet, with 80% of rainfall occurring between December and March.
Salta Airport (SLA) is just three miles to the south of the city with connections to major Argentinian cities such as Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Rosario. There are also regular flights from Rio de Janiero. A taxi into town costs AR$35 or you can take the 8A bus for AR$5.35.
There are no long distance trains to Salta, only a commuter service from the nearby town of General Güemes.
Salta is connected to Buenos Aires by the RN34 and RN9. The RN9 and RN157 connects with Cordoba and Mendoza is connected by the RN38.
Salta has good bus connections with all major Argentinian cities. The 20-hour trip from Buenos Aires will cost around AR$1,324.
Hotel Colonial is conveniently located on Zuviría in the city center, while the Altalaluna Boutique Hotel & Spa is located just outside the city, close to the vineyards.
Centro - this is the historic center of Salta, with many fine colonial buildings and lots of bars, clubs, and restaurants.
San Martín - west of downtown, this area has a more modern feel. There are many local restaurants and some good shopping.
Cerro San Bernardo - this is to the east of the city and is reached by a cable car. It has great views of Salta and pleasant streets around the base.
Local bus services are frequent, with fares from AR$3.25.
Taxis cost AR$25 for the meter drop and AR$30 per mile
Salta has good paved roads and few traffic problems. If you are venturing into the mountains, however, you may want to rent a 4x4. Car rental is available from AR$900.
The area around Plaza 9 de Julio has many craft shops and fashion boutiques, while the city's main shopping mall is Alto Noa on Avenida Virrey Toledo.
A quart of milk in Salta costs AR$16, while a loaf of bread is AR$20.
El Patio de la Empanada on Av. San Martin esquina Esteco is a good place to try authentic local food like empanadas and humitas. Mains are around AR$100. Doña Salta on Cordoba by Plaza 9 de Julio has good steak and wine, and dinner for two will cost around AR$320.