Take a train through the mountains, explore charming churches at altitude and try some of the country’s best white wine.
Snow-peaked Andean mountains border the western part of the picturesque Salta province. The region is full of historical intrigue, natural wonders and a charming capital city of colonial style. Trek through the varied terrain that includes salt flats, mountain jungles and arid valleys.
Note that the capital city of Salta was among the first to be settled by Spanish colonists in 1582. It is known as La Linda, which means “The Beautiful,” in reference to its valleys, mountains and parks.
Several key attractions in Salta are located around the grand statue and palm trees of the 9 de Julio Plaza. Marvel at the pink towers of the Salta Cathedral, the Cabildo that once held the town hall and the Alta Montana Archeological Museum, which has three frozen Inca mummies that were found at the top of the Llullaillaco volcano.
Ride the Train to the Clouds in the La Polvorilla part of the mountains to see spectacular scenery. The train runs twice a week in summer and takes up an entire day, returning to the city around midnight. It reaches the small town of San Antonio de los Cobres, which holds the charming mountain site of the San Antonio de los Cobres Church.
Travel south for 125 miles (200 kilometers) to reach the picturesque wine commune of Cafayate. Appreciate the orange glow of the Cafayate Church on the central Plaza de Cafayate. Many of the wineries around the town offer free guided tours and tastings of the white grape variety torrontés. Go into the caves and wander along the charming colonial halls of the Bodega Lavaque.
Note that the temperature in this region varies depending on altitude, although it’s generally warm with dry, cool winters. Chew coca leaves to prevent altitude sickness in the mountains.
Fly to the Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport, which is about 4 miles (6 kilometers) southwest of the capital city. Get a long-haul bus here from Buenos Aires in 20 hours or from any major city in the country. Taxis and buses are a cheap way of getting around the province.
Salta has excellent white wine, expansive salt flats and quaint mountain settlements.