The lively city of Salta, Argentina, may not come to mind as a destination of choice when compared to other Argentina travel destinations; however, its well-preserved colonial architecture, array of museums, and rich culture and history make it worthy of a spot in your Argentina travel itinerary. While Buenos Aires is known for its European feel, Salta blends Andean and European cultures into one, making it a fascinating place to experience. This is why locals refer to Salta as Salta la Linda, meaning Salta the Beautiful.
Salta is often used as a base for setting out on one of the many Argentina tours available in the region. The surrounding landscapes offer a variety of outdoor activities including mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking. Many travel to Cafayate, a town located in the central zone of the Calchaqui Valley within the province of Salta, is known for its red fertile soils and its wine tasting tours. Also nearby is the Tren a Las Nubes, the highest elevation train in Argentina at 13,850 feet (4,220 meters). However, the city itself should not be overlooked as it provides a myriad of sights and attractions for travelers to explore during their stay.
Plaza 9 de Julio
The heart of Salta is Plaza 9 de Julio and within a few hours you’ll come to see why the city is a great stop for your Argentina Travel. The plaza is richly planted with foliage such as palm and orange trees and is surrounded by colonial-style buildings. The plaza has been revamped to accommodate plenty of pedestrians and along one side of the plaza there are cafes where you can relax and take in the city’s unique vibe.
Salta’s colonial charm is reason enough to spend some time in the city. Take a walk through the streets near Plaza 9 de Julio and admire the architecture of the many surrounding buildings. Be sure to stop at El Cabildo; built in 1783, this building is a jewel of colonial-era architecture in Salta. El Cabildo is without a doubt one of the most outstanding legacies of the city with which the whole community identifies and is one of only a few buildings of this style that remains intact in all of Argentina. Also nearby are the impressive Church of Saint Francis, Province State Theatre, and The Colonial Hotel. This bustling Plaza is the perfect place to begin your Salta tour.
Cable Car up the Saint Bernardo Hill
You can cross “take a ride in a cable car” off your bucket list when visiting Salta. A ride to the top of Saint Bernardo Hill is the perfect way to get a better feel for the city and enjoy some spectacular views. For those who have the energy or just want to enjoy a brisk walk, you can make your way up the hill on foot, which takes about 25 minutes. After taking in some great views over the city, travelers can either enjoy a relaxing cable car ride back or rent a mountain bike for a more exhilarating return.
High Mountain Archeological Museum
In 1999, a major archeological discovery occurred at the 22,000-foot (6,700 meter) summit of Mount Llullaillaco, a volcano 300 miles west of Salta near the Chilean Border. The frozen bodies of three Incan children were discovered and to the amazement of many were among the best preserved mummies ever found, with their internal organs intact, blood present in their heart and lungs, and skin and facial features fairly unscathed.
The children were used as part of Capacocha, a religious ritual. It was considered an honor to be chosen as the sacrifice. Only beautiful and physically fit children were chosen and it was believed that the children did not die, but that they joined their ancestors and watched over the villages like angels.
The High Mountain Archeological Museum was created to exhibit the Inca children now known as The Maiden, the boy, and the girl of lightning – so called because she had been struck by lightning after she died as evidence from the burns on her arm and face. This museum is a must-see Salta attraction and provides a look into the history and customs of the region.
Visit these top Salta attractions during your stay to experience the culture and history of this unique region. Learn more about Salta and the many other great Argentina destinations by contacting one of our expert travel advisors today.