Salta is a city at the base of the Andes known for its colonial architecture and scenic beauty. Museums are filled with thousand-year-old artifacts and locals play guitar in bars until dawn. Its nickname, Salta la Linda (“Salta the Beautiful”), speaks for itself.
The city sits 3,780 feet (1,152 meters) above sea level and is renowned for having good weather – warm and reasonably dry – year round. Walk the streets on foot to take in the architecture and exchange greetings with friendly locals. Taxis are also an affordable and convenient way to get around.
Climb the San Bernado Hill east of the town center for views of the city and surrounding mountains. There are 1,000 steps to the top, or a cable car that leaves from San Martin Park.
The central square is Plaza 9 de Julio. The tree-lined plaza is packed with locals at night, who spill out of bars and restaurants. Try local cuisine such as empanadas (pastry filled with meat or vegetables), and barbecued meats washed down with wine from nearby vineyards.
Churches showcase some of the best examples of the colonial style the city is famous for. Visit the Iglesia San Francisco with its 170-foot (52-meter) bell tower and red façade.
There are many examples of the Inca culture in the city’s museums, including the renowned Museum of High Altitude Archaeology. It houses the bodies of three Inca children who were killed as part of a ritual sacrifice 500 years ago. Their bodies were frozen and found in the late 1990s buried with gold and textiles.
For a day trip, take the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) up into the mountains. The journey runs twice a week and, although not cheap, takes in breathtaking scenery.
At night head to the peñas, traditional folk music halls. From midnight until dawn, locals entertain cheering crowds with music and song.