Salta is one of the largest cities in northern Argentina, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way as you wander the streets and colonial squares that make up the central city. In fact, all those green spaces provide plenty of spots to wait out the heat of the sun before heading back into your day.
Salteños are passionate about their unique northern identity, and about their prowess at creating staples of the Argentine diet: empanadas, milanesas and medialunas. Our extensive testing can’t prove them wrong. Life here is muy tranquilo, more relaxed than in the capital and running at its own pace.
It makes the perfect entry or exit stop for travellers moving between Argentina and Chile or Bolivia. It’s also close enough to the Paraguayan border to be worth considering if heading in that direction.
The easiest way to orientate yourself is to base your directions on the reasonably central Plaza 9 de Julio. From here Mitre runs north, with Balcarce one block over; Alberti and Buenso Aires run south parallel to Florida; and Espana and Caseros run west to east. These streets are likely to pop up on most directions you get!
There are dozens of tour offices and car rental agencies on Buenos Aires, so this is a convenient place to organise day-tours or take advantage of the adventure sports in the surrounding mountains.
Salta has a growing art community, showcased by vibrant and ever-changing exhibitions at MAC in Plaza 9 de Julio — make sure you don’t miss the upstairs. The Museo de Bellas Artes also has great permanent exhibitions and a good variety of temporary exhibitions.
Cloudhead, an art and community project, is based in nearby San Lorenzo.
A 15 minute bus ride from central Salta lies San Lorenzo; a quiet town with access to the nearby national park. San Lorenzo is popular with Salteños with many cabinas and small rental properties. There is a small but excellent selection of ice-cream shops and cafes, but save any serious shopping for the city.