Located in the northwest region of Argentina, Salta is a place that offers visitors breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you're into exploring nature's wonders or immersing yourself in the local culture, Salta has something for everyone. To make your vacation unforgettable, we've come up with a list of 10 must-do activities that will show you the best of this beautiful province. From hiking to tasting delicious empanadas, continue reading to discover these unique experiences that will make your Salta adventure truly unforgettable.
What You'll Learn
- Hike to the top of Cerro San Bernardo for panoramic views of Salta
- Explore the colorful architecture of the historic center
- Take a scenic drive through the beautiful Quebrada de Humahuaca
- Visit the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM) to see preserved Inca mummies
- Experience the vibrant culture at the lively Mercado Central
- Taste the local cuisine, including empanadas and locro
- Take a day trip to the impressive Salinas Grandes salt flats
- Learn about the region's rich history at the Museo Histórico del Norte
- Relax in the hot springs of Termas de Reyes
- Attend a traditional peña, a folk music and dance show, for a fun night out
Hike to the top of Cerro San Bernardo for panoramic views of Salta
If you're visiting the city of Salta in Argentina, the Cerro San Bernardo is a must-visit attraction. This hill, located in the center of the city, offers stunning panoramic views of Salta and its surroundings.
To reach the top of Cerro San Bernardo, you can choose between walking up the stairs or taking the cable car. The stairs have become a popular spot for exercise enthusiasts and tourists alike, as they provide a challenging workout while offering beautiful views of the city.
The 1,070 stairs leading up to the summit are divided into different sections, which are marked with milestones bearing the names of various saints. As you climb, you'll see greenery, sculptures, and viewpoints where you can rest and admire the scenery.
If you prefer a more relaxed ascent, the cable car is the way to go. The cable car takes you to the top of Cerro San Bernardo in just a few minutes, offering astonishing panoramic views of the city and the valley below.
Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Salta and its surroundings. From this vantage point, you can capture the stunning landscape of the cityscape, the mountains, and the lush green forests that surround it.
Whether you decide to hike to the top or take the cable car, a visit to Cerro San Bernardo is a must during your Salta trip. The breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings will leave a lasting impression that you will cherish long after your Argentina trip is over.
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Explore the colorful architecture of the historic center
The historic center of Salta, Argentina, is a must-see destination for anyone interested in exploring the colorful architecture of this charming city. The city’s stunning colonial architecture and vibrant colors transport visitors back in time, making it easy to imagine what life was like centuries ago in this part of South America.
The historic center is home to a wide range of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial, Baroque, and Neoclassical. One of the most famous landmarks is the Cathedral of Salta, which dates back to the 18th century and features a beautiful pink facade.
Other notable sites in the area include the Church of San Francisco, which is known for its distinctive bell tower, and the Convent of San Bernardo, a stunning example of Baroque architecture. The historic center is also home to several museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of High Mountain Archeology, both of which offer a fascinating insight into the region’s culture and history.
One of the best ways to explore the historic center is on foot. A walking tour allows visitors to take in the intricate details of the buildings, such as the ornate balconies and decorative facades. The narrow streets and cobblestone alleys add to the charm of the area and provide a sense of what life was like in Salta centuries ago.
Beyond the buildings, the historic center is also home to vibrant street art, which adds to the atmosphere of the area. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants where visitors can stop and enjoy the local cuisine, which is a blend of Spanish and South American flavors.
In conclusion, the historic center of Salta is a must-visit for anyone interested in exploring the colorful architecture of this charming city. With its mix of architectural styles, museums, and lively street art scene, there’s something for everyone in this historic district.
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Take a scenic drive through the beautiful Quebrada de Humahuaca
If you're planning a trip to the northern Argentine city of Salta, don't miss out on the beautiful Quebrada de Humahuaca. One of the most scenic drives in the region, this route is a must-see attraction for nature lovers and those interested in history and culture.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca is a narrow mountain valley that stretches for over 100 miles through the Andes. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its natural beauty and the abundance of archaeological remains that have been found here, dating back to pre-Columbian times.
The road itself is a winding route that takes you through a stunning landscape of towering cliffs, lush green valleys, and colorful rock formations. Along the way, you'll pass through traditional villages that have been inhabited for centuries, where you can stop and experience the local culture and cuisine.
One of the highlights of the drive is the town of Purmamarca, famous for its Cerro de los Siete Colores ("Hill of Seven Colors"). This striking geological formation is composed of sedimentary rocks in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white, and it's a popular spot for photographers and artists.
Another top destination is Tilcara, a picturesque town with a rich history that dates back to the Inca Empire. Here, you can visit the Pucará de Tilcara, a hilltop fortress that was built by the Incas to defend against invading tribes.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca is also home to a number of indigenous communities, such as the Quechua, who have preserved their traditions and way of life for generations. Visitors can learn about their customs and participate in cultural experiences, such as a traditional coca leaf reading or a llama trek.
Overall, a drive through the Quebrada de Humahuaca is a truly unforgettable experience that combines natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure. So don't miss out on this amazing attraction when you visit Salta!
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Visit the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM) to see preserved Inca mummies
The city of Salta, located in northern Argentina, is home to numerous historical and cultural attractions. One such attraction that draws visitors from all over the world is the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM), where visitors can see preserved Inca mummies.
The MAAM is a museum dedicated to preserving the culture and history of the Andean people who lived in the high mountain regions of South America. The museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts, including textiles, ceramics, and metal objects, all of which offer insights into the daily life, beliefs, and practices of the Andean people.
However, the main attraction of the MAAM is undoubtedly the three Inca mummies that are on display. These three mummies, nicknamed "The Children of Llullaillaco," were discovered in 1999, in a remote and exceptionally well-preserved mountaintop tomb located at an altitude of 22,000 feet. The mummies, which date back to the 15th century, are believed to have been human sacrifices, offered to the gods to ensure good harvests and other blessings.
The mummies have been incredibly well-preserved due to the extremely cold conditions of their resting place, and visitors to the MAAM can see them behind glass cases, dressed in their intricate and elaborate clothing. The mummies' expressions and poses offer a haunting glimpse into the lives and beliefs of the Inca people.
Visitors to the MAAM can learn about the Inca people's beliefs and practices through informative displays and exhibits that accompany the mummies. The museum also provides audio guides that explain the significance of the artifacts on display in both Spanish and English.
The MAAM is an essential stop for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Andean people, and the Inca mummies are undoubtedly the star attraction. A visit to this museum will undoubtedly offer a fascinating and educational experience for anyone interested in learning about the rich and complex cultures of South America.
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Experience the vibrant culture at the lively Mercado Central
Located in the heart of Salta, Argentina, the Mercado Central is an absolute treat for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of this bustling city. This open-air market boasts a lively atmosphere, with the sounds of live music and the aromas of delicious food filling the air.
One of the main draws of Mercado Central is the wide variety of fresh, locally sourced produce available for purchase. From ripe fruits and vegetables to spices and herbs, visitors can take in the bright colors and intoxicating scents of the market's many fresh food stands. In addition to produce, the market offers a range of artisanal goods, including handcrafted clothing and jewelry, making it the perfect place to shop for unique souvenirs to take home.
For those looking to take a break from shopping, Mercado Central also boasts an array of food vendors offering traditional Argentine cuisine. From empanadas to grilled meats, visitors can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the market's lively atmosphere. Don't forget to wash it all down with a refreshing local beer or glass of wine!
But Mercado Central is much more than just a marketplace – it's also a hub of cultural activity. The market regularly hosts live music performances and cultural events, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the unique traditions and customs of Salta. And for those looking to learn more about the city's history and culture, the market is located just a short walk from several museums and historic sites.
Whether you're a foodie looking to sample the best of Argentine cuisine, a shopper in search of unique souvenirs, or simply someone eager to experience the lively energy of Salta's cultural scene, Mercado Central is a must-visit destination. So, don't miss your chance to explore this vibrant hub of activity during your next trip to Salta!
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Taste the local cuisine, including empanadas and locro
When visiting the Argentine province of Salta, one must pay close attention to the cuisine. The region is famous for its delicious food, including empanadas and locro.
Empanadas are Argentinean stuffed pastries that are popular in Salta. They are made with various fillings, including beef, chicken, or even vegetables. The crust is then sealed, and they are baked in the oven. Empanadas can be served as a quick snack or as a meal. They are a perfect way to taste the local cuisine while in Salta.
Another popular dish in Salta is Locro. It is a thick stew made with corn, meat, and vegetables, and it is typically consumed during the winter months. The dish is known for being hearty and filling, a perfect meal for a cold day. Salta's Locro is unique because of the addition of a type of maize that is only grown in the region.
In addition to these dishes, Salta has many other delicacies that are unique to the region. One such dish is humita, which is a type of tamale. It is made with maize, cheese, and spices and is steamed in a wrapper made of the corn husk.
Another dish that is famous in Salta is Tamales de cordero, which are lamb tamales. They are made with lamb, cornmeal, and spices and are also steamed in the same type of wrapper as the humita.
Finally, one cannot leave Salta without trying its famous wine. The region is home to some of the best wineries in Argentina, producing wines that are unique and flavorful.
In conclusion, Salta's cuisine is something that should not be missed while visiting the province. From empanadas to locro to unique dishes like humita and Tamales de cordero, Salta's cuisine is sure to excite your taste buds. Be sure to pair the food with some of the region's famous wines to complete the experience.
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Take a day trip to the impressive Salinas Grandes salt flats
If you're planning a trip to Argentina, be sure to include a day trip to the incredible Salinas Grandes salt flats. Located in the northwest region of the country, these vast salt flats are a must-see sight for any traveler.
The Salinas Grandes salt flats cover an area of approximately 8,000 square kilometers, and are situated at an elevation of over 3,400 meters above sea level. The salt flats are an otherworldly landscape, with a stark beauty that is both impressive and haunting.
One of the best ways to experience the Salinas Grandes is to take a guided tour. There are a number of tour operators in the region that offer different options, from half-day tours to full-day excursions. Depending on your schedule, you can choose the option that best fits your needs.
The tour starts with a scenic drive through the rugged mountain terrain that surrounds the salt flats. You'll see jagged peaks, deep valleys, and winding roads that offer breathtaking views of the landscape. Along the way, your guide will tell you about the geological history of the area, as well as the cultural significance of the salt flats.
Once you arrive at the Salinas Grandes, you'll be amazed by the sheer scale of the place. The salt flats stretch out in all directions, with a blindingly white surface that looks like snow. The bright sun reflecting off the salt can be intense, so be sure to bring sunglasses or a hat to protect your eyes.
Taking a walk on the salt flats is an unforgettable experience. You'll feel like you're walking on another planet, as the salt crunches underfoot and the air feels thin and crisp. The vast expanse of white, punctuated by occasional mounds of salt and the distant mountains, makes for a surreal and beautiful view.
In addition to walking on the salt, you can also take part in other activities on the tour. Some tours include a visit to a salt processing plant, where you can see how the salt is harvested and prepared for consumption. Other tours offer the chance to take part in traditional activities like weaving or cooking, giving you a deeper understanding of the local culture.
Whether you're a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply a curious traveler, the Salinas Grandes salt flats are an incredible destination. With their stark beauty and unique landscape, they offer an unforgettable day trip that is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Argentina.
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Learn about the region's rich history at the Museo Histórico del Norte
Located in the heart of the city of Salta in northwest Argentina, the Museo Histórico del Norte is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the rich and fascinating history of this region.
The museum is housed in a beautifully restored colonial building that dates back to the 18th century. Its impressive collection showcases the cultural and historical heritage of Salta and its surrounding areas, providing visitors with a unique insight into the region's past.
One of the most interesting sections of the museum is dedicated to the indigenous peoples who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Spanish. The exhibits here include artifacts and relics of the original inhabitants of the region, such as tools, weapons, and pottery. Visitors can learn about the daily life, customs, and beliefs of these communities, gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical roots of this region.
The museum's collection also includes a stunning array of colonial-era art and architecture. This period saw the arrival of the Spanish, who brought with them a unique aesthetic that blended native and European styles. Visitors can explore several galleries of religious art, including beautiful paintings, sculptures, and engravings.
Another highlight of the museum is the section dedicated to the Independence Wars, which played a crucial role in shaping the region's history. Visitors can learn about the various battles and events that led to the region's independence from Spain, as well as the key figures who led the fight for freedom.
In addition to its permanent collection, the Museo Histórico del Norte also hosts several temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions focus on a wide range of topics related to the history and culture of the region, providing visitors with fresh insights and perspectives on this fascinating area.
Overall, a visit to the Museo Histórico del Norte is a must-attend for anyone with an interest in the history and culture of northwest Argentina. With its impressive collection of artifacts, art, and architecture, this museum offers a unique glimpse into the region's rich past, making it a highlight of any trip to Salta.
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Relax in the hot springs of Termas de Reyes
Located in the northwestern province of Salta in Argentina, Termas de Reyes offers visitors a chance to unwind and relax in natural hot springs. With its stunning countryside views and therapeutic waters, it's a perfect getaway for those looking for some much-needed rest and relaxation.
The hot springs are located at the heart of the picturesque Yungas forest, surrounded by towering mountains. The site boasts large pools of natural hot water, rich in minerals that are good for the body. The temperature of the pools varies, with the hottest pool being just over 40°C.
At Termas de Reyes, visitors can indulge in a variety of thermal treatments, including hydro-massage, hot water jets, and underwater massage. The treatments are all designed to help relieve stress, muscle tension, and joint pain, leaving visitors feeling energized and rejuvenated. They also provide a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends in a relaxed environment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In addition to the thermal treatments, visitors to Termas de Reyes can participate in several activities such as hiking and mountain biking. The natural surroundings offer stunning sceneries and incredible views of the Salta countryside. After a full day of activities, visitors can relax and unwind in the hot springs while taking in the stunning views.
Overall, if you're looking for a peaceful escape from the city hustle, you must visit Termas de Reyes. The therapeutic hot springs and breathtaking scenery provide the perfect haven for some much-needed rest and relaxation. So, plan a trip and give yourself the gift of a peaceful vacation in the midst of nature's wonders.
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Attend a traditional peña, a folk music and dance show, for a fun night out
If you're looking for a fun night out in Salta, attending a traditional peña is a must-do activity. A peña is a folk music and dance show that typically takes place in a casual setting, such as a bar or restaurant. These shows are a great way to experience the unique musical culture of Salta and Argentina, and to see locals come together to dance, sing, and have a good time.
The music and dance styles featured in a peña vary but typically include genres like zamba, chacarera, cumbia, and huayno. Zamba is a slow, graceful dance in which partners move in a circular pattern; chacarera, on the other hand, is a faster dance that involves stomping and clapping. Cumbia is a more modern, upbeat dance that originated in Colombia and has since spread throughout Latin America, while huayno is a traditional Andean dance that often features the use of traditional instruments like the charango and quena.
One of the most famous peñas in Salta is La Casona del Molino, which has been hosting shows for over 30 years. Located in a historic building that dates back to the 18th century, La Casona del Molino offers a unique and intimate atmosphere for visitors to enjoy traditional music and dance while sipping on local wines or beers.
Other popular peñas in Salta include Peña Balderrama and El Arriero, each with their own unique style and ambiance. Peña Balderrama is known for its lively, energetic performances and its welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere, while El Arriero is more laid-back and relaxed, offering a great opportunity to simply sit back and enjoy the music.
While you don't need to be an expert dancer to attend a peña, it's worth noting that these shows can be quite lively and energetic. Visitors are encouraged to join in on the dancing, but if you prefer to simply sit back and enjoy the music, that's perfectly acceptable too.
If you're looking for a fun and unique night out in Salta, attending a traditional peña is definitely worth considering. With their lively music, energetic dancing, and welcoming atmosphere, these shows offer a great way to experience the rich cultural heritage of this beautiful part of Argentina.
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Frequently asked questions
Answer: Some must-see attractions in Salta include the Cathedral of Salta, San Francisco Church, San Bernardo Hill, the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM), and the Train to the Clouds.
Answer: There are plenty of outdoor activities to do in Salta such as hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, white-water rafting, and zip-lining. The nearby national parks like Los Cardones and the Salinas Grandes salt flats offer stunning scenic views that can be explored on foot or by car.
Answer: Salta is known for its traditional Andean cuisine such as empanadas and locro. Some of the best places to eat in Salta include El Charrua for its mouth-watering grilled meats, La Criollita for its delicious tamales, and La Casona del Molino for its legendary empanadas.
Answer: Yes, Salta is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. However, there are some areas that might be dangerous at night, so it's best to avoid those areas. As with any foreign travel, common sense and caution are recommended, and always keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas.