After a stressful escape from San Pedro de Atacama, Salta Argentina was just what Lavi and I needed. A few nights in Salta, with its sweeping views and charming old streets, passed too quickly and quite easily.
Salta is a city meant to be savored. The friendly streets are perfect for wandering, and are lined with charming old buildings dotted with fascinating doors and ornate fixtures, sprinkled in with colorful churches. It is a slow-paced strolling photographer’s dream.
We tossed out any idea of a schedule, and filled our days wandering the sidewalks, photographing, and imbibing inordinately inexpensive wine, usually beginning our vast vino guzzling at lunchtime.
The food and wine are both crazy cheap (a godsend coming from overpriced San Pedro de Atacama), with options for every taste (from vegetarian like me to an adventurous omnivore like Lavi). Salta is definitely soft on your budget, and a welcome relief from more high priced hotspots elsewhere in Argentina and in Chile. It gives leeway for luxury, even on a backpacker’s budget like ours.
One day we broke up our carb consumption (oh, the bread!) with a quick climb up Cerro San Bernardo to see the viewpoint (info on that hike here). While there’s a teleferico/cable car to the top, we decided to be both cheap and healthy and take the (very numerous) stairs.
If you’re Catholic (or maybe more importantly – if you’re not and wondering WTF the religious icons on the path are all about), there are 14 heavily-graffitied Stations of the Cross along the way. These stations are part of a path for the faithful, with each station being an opportunity to get down and pray and repent. It’s most popular to do during Lent and on Good Friday. I didn’t take part, but it was interesting to see, and I silently thanked my too-long Catholic Wednesday night education for providing me with at least a bit of useable information. [none of my photos of the Stations turned out – you’ll just have to see them for yourself!]
As someone who isn’t in prime shape, the stairs kicked my butt but I was thankful to have done it once I reached the top! I felt like all that physical exertion made up for the extra calories I’d been consuming. After the climb, I was definitely ready for some more wine… and carbs, all the carbs.
Aside from the bread, wine, and photography opps – Salta Argentina is also the perfect stopover city to other destinations. While we arrived from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, we effortlessly made our way down to Cafayate (on one of the most beautiful bus rides of my life), and later I journeyed back through Salta to the border of Bolivia and onto Tupiza quite easily.
Necessary Details for Salta Argentina
Get Around Salta Argentina
We walked EVERYWHERE. Never once did we need to take a cab.
Where to Stay in Salta Argentina
We stayed at Posada de Huayruro for $25 a night for a private twin room with private bathroom. The bonuses were that it is close to bus station (about a ten minute safe walk even in the dark), and they serve a little breakfast for free (basically cookies or stale bread with jam). The downsides? The first night they put us in a room with a door with a glass panel – creepy and not very safe. The second day we were moved to a better room.
Transport to and from Salta Argentina
If heading north to Bolivia, Salta’s main bus station has several departures throughout the day to the border town Argentinian border town La Quiaca, which you will cross over into Bolivia’s Villazon, and buy your onward ticket there. More information on schedules and prices here.
Salta is very well connected to the rest of Argentina, including Cafayate, which departures every few hours. Contact the bus station or check out this website for up to date information for wherever you want to go.
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