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What Argentinians call “the north” usually refers to the province of Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán, located in the northwest of the country. Salta and Jujuy are the two main destinations of the region since both feature incredible natural landscapes, a wide history and a very powerful local culture focused on the care and worshiping of Pachamama (the “Mother Earth”). Salta, founded in 1582, is the starting point to explore northern Argentina. From this city, nicknamed “la linda” (the beauty), travelers hit the road towards the stunning Calchaquíes Valley and the city of Cafayate, hometown of Torrontés wine.
The province of Jujuy, located at the north of Salta, features the Humahuca Gorge, declared World Heritage by UNESCO and the Great Salt Flats, a white paradise that all should visit once in their life! Both provinces served as an obliged route that connected the viceroyalty of Perú and the Río de la Plata (Buenos Aires), and many battles have been fought here in order to achieve Argentina’s independence. The original culture of the area is still palpable in archeological remains, craft markets, and the personality of the people of the north which is definitely the other reason to visit northern Argentina.
In the Valleys you can find different landscapes and beautiful villages that rise up next to rock formations and multicolored hills. This circuit in a circle can be initiated by the national route 68 (with destination to Cafayate) or by the provincial route 33 (towards Cachi). The “Vuelta a los Valles” is an unforgettable trip, through a region forged by pre-Inca and colonial history, in a fantastic geography.
Cafayate is in Salta and is located in the Calchaquies valleys.There are several vineyards in the area and in the city there is the Museum of the Vine and Wine, where the production process is explained, you can also visit the Regional and Archaeological Museum Rodolfo Bravo, with objects from excavations of the region.
The main square in Salta is Plaza 9 de Julio and it is one of the most beautiful in the whole country. Benches, fountains and gazebos invite those who pass by to stay for a while. The environment is also very interesting since it is surrounded by the Cathedral and the Cabildo. In addition, in the summer months the smell of its orange trees perfume the whole air. Very nice ride.
Address: Caseros 500, Salta. Days and hours: Open 24 hours. Price: Free.
The Cathedral of Salta was built in the 19th century in front of Plaza 9 de Julio. This cathedral, which outshines passersby due to its imposing façade, houses the remains of General Güemes, the hero who fought for Argentine independence and who was Governor of Salta.
Address: España 558, Salta. Days and hours: Opens every day from 06:30 to 12:15 and from 16:30 to 20:15. Price: Free.
The Cabildo is a National Historic Monument and its construction was completed in 1780. It was modified over the years, but it continues to be one of the best examples of colonial architecture due to its tower, arches and balconies. Today, the building is home to the Museo Histórico del Norte and the Museo Colonial (both closed on Mondays). The Historical Museum has more than 2,000 works, including archaeological pieces, historical coins, cars, colonial furniture, sacred art and other varieties.
Address: Caseros 549, Salta. Days and hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. / Tuesday to Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. / Saturdays from: 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Price: Free.
This museum was created in 2005, with the aim of preserving the Inca mummies discovered in the Llullaillaco Volcano during 1999. These mummies of three children who were sacrificed during religious rites approximately 500 years ago, are preserved in excellent condition. . Through the heritage it preserves, it works to protect the ancestral culture, reinforcing the identity of the original peoples.
Address: Bartolomé Mitre 77, Salta. Days and hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:30. Monday closed. Price: USD 2.-
It is a Catholic temple and convent of the Franciscan order that, due to its architectural beauty and historical importance, constitutes one of the main tourist attractions in the city of Salta.
Address: Córdoba 33, Salta. Days and hours: Tuesday to Friday: from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday: from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mass hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Price: Free.
The San Bernardo Convent of the City of Salta is a Catholic temple located east of the downtown area of the City of Salta. This building is one of the oldest in the city and was built at the end of the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th century, as expressed in 1626 by Gómez de los Ríos and the Governor Alonso de la Rivera. Although visits are not allowed, you can admire the sumptuous door of this 16th century convent, which was carved by the Indians out of carob wood.
Address: Caseros 444, Salta. Days and hours: It is not possible to visit the inside. Price: It is not possible to visit the inside.
In the heart of the city of Salta is the building where the Royal Treasury of the Municipality of Salta del Tucumán worked towards the end of the 18th century, and where Martín Miguel de Güemes lived with his family. It was declared a National Historic Monument in 1971.
Address: España 730, Salta. Days and times: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Price: USD 1,3.-
The Cerro San Bernardo is a hill that is located in the city of Salta. It is a very good point to get a panoramic view of the city, since Salta can be seen from 883 feet high. A good and fun option is to take the cable rail to its top.
Address: Cerro San Bernardo. Days and times: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Price: 2.50USD (200ARS)
La Casona del Molino is the most authentic place to enjoy a spontaneous club, where guests can play guitars for themselves.
Address: Cnel, Luis Burela 1, Salta. Days and times: Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 15:00 and from 21:00 to 04:00. Closed Monday. Price: Free entry but you pay for the food.
La Vieja Estación is a folkloric place with an organized show. It is highly recommended for its excellent atmosphere and regional food.
Address: Balcarce 875, Salta. Days and times: Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Price: Free entry but you pay for the food.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca is the perfect combination of the spectacular landscape and archaeological heritage. It was declared Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity in 2003 by UNESCO, for being a combination of wonderful landscapes and possessing a rich ancient culture. The Quebrada de Humahuaca served as a route for the Incas, it was an obligatory passage for expeditions and colonizers and an important commercial route in the viceroyalty stage. The name “Humahuaca” comes from the name of the Omaguaca, the ethnic group that inhabited the region. Today in the region the millenary traditions of the original cultures are very much alive in the local community. Its fauna includes guanacos, vicuñas, condors, eagles, foxes, viscachas and ferrets.
This town with the Cerro Siete Colores is one of the most famous postcards in Argentina. The town preserves the colonial architecture and the customs and traditions of the people of the Quebrada de Humahuaca. The town of Purmamarca is located at 2324 meters above sea level. With a walk, you can go through the town of Purmamarca to discover its streets and old buildings. In the main square, the famous fair of crafts works every day. There are several hotels of different categories, restaurants of typical food with live music and trails to do in the day. We recommend doing the “Sendero de los Colorados” from the village.
Las Salinas Grandes in the province of Jujuy is the third largest salt flat in South America. It offers a unique landscape in the Argentine Puna. An immense white plain that reaches the horizon. To reach the Salinas Grandes you must cross the impressive Cuesta de Lipán, the highest point on the road is 4170 meters above sea level. The route is asphalted and is in very good condition. There is no public transport to the Salinas Grandes, you can go on an excursion or rent a car. In the salt flat, there are areas with water from which the workers extract the salt that is then sold. To visit the salt flats it is recommended to wear sunglasses and bring water to drink with you.
Surface area: 212 km2 / Altitude: 4096 meters above sea level
The San Miguel Market is the “oldest shopping mall in the city”, selling fruits, vegetables, and regional foods. It occupies a city center block and is located 6 blocks from Salta’s main square. It is a historic building founded in 1865 by Don Saturnino San Miguel y Moldes, hence its name, and his descendants kept it until 1961 when the province expropriated it to transfer it to the capital city. Enjoy the regional cuisine of the Northwest by taking a gastronomic tour through San Miguel Market, the crib of local goods, cuisines, and spices – perfect for any foodie!
Address: San Martin 678
Days and hours: Monday to Saturday 7:00 to 21:00 hs
Price: Free entry
Córdoba 46, Salta – Tel: (0387) 4321-1921 Regional food
Doña Salta offers delicious northern empanadas. They also prepare excellent homemade stews, humitas and tamales. A great place to try regional food!
Caseros 444, Salta. – Tel: (0387) 421-5124. Meat / Pasta / Fish
El Solar del Convento is a restaurant specializing in red meat that never fails. As in any other restaurant in Salta, service can be slow, so it is important to be patient before going to eat. They always give a refreshing welcome drink. They also offer chicken with different sauces, pasta and fish.
Virrey Toledo 145, Salta – Tel: (0387) 421-7568. Grill
Old Jack is authentic and popular. Its regular diners choose it for its barbecues and for its excellent pasta dishes. The plates are huge – they can always be shared – but you can order individual portions (which are still gigantic) for 70% of the price.
Belgrano 770, Salta – Tel: (0387) 422-4466. Gourmet
The perfect balance between ancient dishes and modern flavors, this gourmet restaurant is located in a beautiful old house. It is ideal for a special night.
Maipú 791, Salta – Tel: (0387) 430-6067. Coffee Shop / Restaurant
This is a cafe and restaurant with an excellent atmosphere. It offers good food and its special detail is that the mate is free from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Santiago Del Estero 686, Salta. – Tel: (0387) 486-3291. Tapas
“World of tapas” is the second name of this little place. Intimate and delicious, it offers exquisite, original and tasty food. It has a personal, distinctive touch and a very friendly service. Good dishes, and a very warm place.
Spain 83, Salta. – Tel: (0387) 421-4378. French / Regional
It is rare to be in Salta and not eat “regional dishes” but if you are a lover of good food, this place is highly recommended. Ma Cuisine offers a fusion of French and Argentine food. Fish, meat and some pasta with seafood can comfort you when you are a little tired of the gaucho style. They serve very kindly, the place is small, very nice and cozy.
Buenos Aires 276, Jujuy, Humahuaca. – Tel: (388) 435-9910 Latin/Fusion
The traditional food of the region in an authentic and relaxed atmosphere, delicious home cooking from the north of Argentina. Options for vegetarians and vegans
Belgrano St, Purmamarca. – Tel: (0381) 644-7191 Southamerican / Argentina
Excellent place for dinner in Purmamarca. With personalized attention by the staff and the owners themselves. The menu is brief but varied, with excellent wine options.
Lavalle 351, Jujuy, Tilcara. – Tel: (0388) 495-5237 Argentine
Gourmet food with regional ingredients, all this with a complete wine list, some candles and an austere but warm atmosphere. It has options for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free.
The climate allows people to visit Salta and Jujuy throughout the year. Therefore, any time is a good time to visit it. From December to March, the average temperature is 20ºC. June and July are the coldest months of the year with an average of 13º; the rest of the months the temperature averages 18ºC. During the summer months there is usually more rainfall than during the rest of the year. However, it is very nice to visit this area in January and February due to the carnival celebrations.
In Salta city there are several ATMs located in banks. Please note that each bank has a different fee that will charge you to use their system, plus your bank fee. We recommend bringing a couple of US dollars and exchanging them, so you have some cash to move around and then pay with Credit cards or use an ATM whenever you run out of money. In the small towns of Salta and Jujuy it is posssible that the ATMs do not work or have no money, so we recommend having cash with you.
In restaurants, it’s customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Note that tips can’t be added to credit-card bills, so carry cash for this purpose. Estimate around USD 10/15 per person for the guide, for a full day tour and half of it for the driver. Tip hotel porters for handling bags. Calculate an amount of currency equal to about $1.00 for every two bags. Same amount is calculated for drivers if they help you with your suitcases. If you are happy with the housekeeping you may want to consider tipping the maid between US$0.50 – $1.00 per night. You might also tip the concierge staff if you have used them to arrange dinner reservations, transportation or leisure activities. In Argentina we don’t regularly tip taxi drivers.
We estimate around USD 50/100 per day, per person for daily expenses like eating, shopping and transportation, depending on how much money you want to spend on these.
Locro, empanadas, humita and tamale, and the dessert Quesillo with membrillo
During the months of March to September, the daytime temperature is pleasant but at night it is necessary to bundle up as temperatures drop considerably. During the summer months, it is usually cool at night, so it is advisable to include a light coat in your luggage. Anyway, and in general terms, it is always recommended to dress “in layers.” That is to say, muscular, T-shirt, sweater and jacket; since the temperatures are quite contrasting during the day. Do not forget to include sunglasses and sunscreen, especially when hiking.
Remember that tickets are paid in pesos Argentines and are not included in the tours. Since credit cards are not accepted, we recommend always carrying change in local currency.
San Lorenzo Salta
Villa San Lorenzo, where green becomes jungle, is only 10 minutes from Salta Capital and is the perfect place to connect with yourself and with nature in Salta. It is nestled in the jungle of the Yungas and its landscape is an invitation to enjoy nature, tranquility and outdoor activities. At the top you reach the Quebrada de San Lorenzo, the San Lorenzo River with its crystal clear waters, the even more jungle vegetation, ferns, vines and orchids are a must see.
Cerro San Bernardo Salta
From the Cerro San Bernardo, a hill that is located in the city of Salta, you can get an incredible view of the sunset over the city. This is because Salta can be seen from about 883 feet high. Super recommended for fans of sunsets.
Mercado de artesanos
The “Mercado de Artesanos” is a local market in Salta and many things can be found here. Like good and cheap silver, red and black “ponchos” – that of Gral. Güemes, the local hero who wore it, and beautiful indigenous ceramics.
Address: San Martín 2555, Salta
Virgin of the Hill, Salta
After the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to a lady of the community, María Livia Galliano de Obeid, a chapel was installed in Tres Cerritos where the Catholic faithful attend. Since then, an infinite movement of men and women from all walks of life, arriving in buses and cars from far away parts of the country, has marched towards the sanctuary to participate in a day of meditation and prayer. However, what most attracts the attention of tourists and curious people is that -to this day- María Livia puts her hand on the shoulder of each person who climbs the hill and there are those who immediately faint afterwards. Upon recovering, they confess to having felt the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary, thanks to the intersection of the woman.
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