Welcome to Salta and Jujuy
Sophisticated Salta (city town) is a favorite, engaging active minds with its outstanding museums, cafes and the live music folklórica of its vibrant peñas (folk-music clubs). It offers the facilities of a larger city, and aside from the morning gridlock, retains the comfortable pace of a smaller town that happens to have preserved more colonial architecture than most Argentines destinations.
Found in 1582, it’s now the most touristic spot in northwest Argentina. The best way to explore it, is by renting a car in Salta city and hit the road to the wild northwest.
Some of the most interesting attractions of the place are:
125 miles (200 kilometers) south of Salta you will find the town of Cafayate, the unofficial capital of the Calchaquíes Valley. The town is also at the heart of a large wine-producing region, which comes second after Mendoza. Cafayate is a peaceful destination centered round a main square. There’re a handful of attractions but what impress visitors the most are the welcoming guesthouses,
Cachi is a tiny town, extremely colorful and the scenery is magnificent. The town is 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Cafayate, along Ruta 40. You could make a round trip from Salta to Cafayate and then return via Cachi, taking the scenic Cuesta del Obispo route.
Cafayate wineries are within easy reach of the town, with many clustered around the junction of Ruta 40 and Ruta 68. This wine region is famous for growing the Torrontés grape, usually used for the preparation of white wines. All of wineries offer lunch, dinner and great wine tasting. There are also bikes tours to go from one to the other (if you are a good rider)
Quebrada De Humahuaca
Stretching north from Jujuy taking the Ruta 9 cuts its way through the magnificent Quebrada de Humahuaca. This mountain valley route runs for around 96 miles (155 kilometers) alongside the Río Grande. Historically, this is an old trade route known as the Camino Inca and has been used for some 10,000 years. Spreading out at intervals along the trail are Inca-influenced towns and villages, namely Humahuaca, Purmamarca and Tilcara. Adding to its scenic qualities is the Andean Plateau, which borders the north and west, and the sub-Andean hills towards the east.
It is often the first stop along the Quebrada de Humahuaca route and is famous for the Cerro de los Siete Colores (The Seven Colored Hill). It’s a traditional busy town with tour buses and backpackers that come to admire the colorful hill. The hill is a result of thousands of years of geological activity and erosion.
In the town center is Plaza 9 de Julio, around which a market sets up on a daily basis. Here, you can shop for Bolivian-style woven blankets, alpaca wool clothing (many with indigenous designs), hats, scarfs and ceramic bowls. Purmamarca has its own pace so don’t be surprised if the stands are unattended during the hours of siesta.
Another 28 miles (45 kilometers) north is the sleepy town of Humahuaca. Largely inhabited by Quechan people, this is the place to spot women dressed in wide-brimmed hats and colorful ponchos and men in typical gaucho attire, with its narrow cobblestone streets and low-rise buildings, and being surrounded by mountains and fields of cactus, Humahuaca feels like it should be part of a cowboy movie.
One of the greatest depressions in the province with an exposed surface over 12,000 hectares of salt, 126km from Purmamarca. Its infinite vastness dazzles visitors with its white color.
Outdoor Activities in Salta
One of the most thrilling excursions in this region is the Tren a las Nubes (The Train to the Clouds). Departing from Salta, the train travels for 135 miles (217 kilometers) to La Polvorilla Viaduct at La Puna. It reaches a height of 13,845 feet (4,220 meters) above sea level,making it one of the world’s highest train journeys. The train crosses 29 bridges, through 21 tunnels and over numerous viaducts, and you’ll experience unrivalled views of the Andes. It’s a 16-hour round trip White-water rafting.
Río Juramento, is close to Cabra Corral Dam and about 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of Salta city. Rapids here reach grade III levels and are suitable for intermediate level kayakers and Rafting.
Written by LARM Argentina