Salta is the capital of the province of Salta, up in the mountains in northern Argentina. Salta is typically visited as a launching point for the nature and small towns in the region, but has its own charms and sights worth seeing too.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Salta enjoys 4 distinct seasons and is known for having very pleasant weather. Summers are warm with frequent thunderstorms and cloudy weather. Daytime highs are around 26 to 28°C (79 to 82°F) with mild, pleasant nights at around 15 or 16°C (59 or 61°F). Fall brings pleasant weather during the day with cool nights. In winter, conditions are dry with mild days followed by cold nights. Frosts are common although snowfall is rare.
- 1 Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport (SLA IATA) (5 km south of the city centre).
- Aerolíneas Argentinas office, Caseros 475, ☏ . The airport is served by Aerolineas Argentinas, Flybondi, JetSmart with flights to Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Puerto Iguazu, and Rosario. Bolivia de Aviaion operates to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Copa Airlines operates to Panama City, and LATAM oeprates to Lima.
Bus 8A runs between the airport and the bus terminal downtown (the airport bus stop is inconveniently located about a half-kilometer from the terminal – walk along the street that the cars are taking to leave the airport, and you'll get to it).
Taxis are reliable and use the meter. Drivers wait just outside of arrivals. A trip between the city center and the airport runs approximately AR$250-300 by the meter (June 2019).
There are connections to all major cities in Argentina. The 2 bus station is just one block from Parque San Martín, or 8 blocks from the main plaza. A taxi to the main tourist office in Calle Buenos Aires will cost AR$10-12. Agree on the price before leaving the bus terminal and get the meter docket from the driver.
- Buenos Aires 19 hours, around AR$400 (Jul 2011).
- Puerto Iguazú 24 hours, AR$611 (cama, FlechaBus, Jun 2012)
- La Quiaca 7 hours - (company: Balut (6 each day), FlechaBus and Andesmar AR$150 per person, two a day, one at 07:15, one at 00:30 (Feb 2013)
- Tucuman 4 hours - AR$120 FlechaBus (Feb 2012)
- Cafayate 4 hours - AR$75, six per day 06:50, 10:30, 13:00, 17:00, 19:30, 21:00 FlechaBus (Feb 2013)
- Cordoba 13 hours - AR$188/202 (semi-cama/cama) (Jan 2012) Semi-cama ARS350 (13 hours) Andesmar.
- Formosa 13 hours advertised but took 16 hours The FlechaBus is semi-cama (sleep in aircraft cattle-class seats), AR$181 (Oct 2009. The bus stops at every town along the road. You will receive a packet of two biscuits on departure and unless you know the system you will not get a chance to buy food on the trip so buy something before boarding the bus. There is a toilet on board and is reasonably clean for the whole journey. The bus departs Formosa at 17:10 daily.
- Mendoza 18 hours - about AR$2100 semi-cama (December 2017)
- From Jujuy it's possible to take a combi (shared taxi) for AR$10. Take care. "Combis" are not legal transportation.
While intercity trains are slowly making a comeback in Argentina, they have not reached Salta yet. Trenes Argentinos operates a limited commuter service from the nearby city of General Güemes and westwards to Campo Quijano via Rosario de Lerma.
- 3 Salta railway station (Estación Salta), Ameghino 650.
Taxis are available. Remis are not cheaper.
SAETA offers bus service; as of Jan. 2019, fares are about $15, varying slightly by time of day. A transit card is required for the buses, but if you don't have one, you can just get on and ask another passenger if you can give them the cash and swipe their card. This is common in Salta and the driver and passengers will be unfazed. Unlike many cities in Argentina, SUBE cards do not work here.
- 1 Cabildo Histórico de Salta (on Plaza 9 de Julio). The old town hall of 1783. Now houses the Museo Histórico del Norte. Interesting exhibits showcasing the history of the region from prehistoric times to the mid 20th century. Spanish text only. AR$50.
- 2 Cerro San Bernardo (San Bernardo Hill). 1,458m (above sea level, 258m above the city) hill just east of the city centre. From Parque San Martin, a cable car goes to the summit, offering spectacular views of the city and its surroundings (AR$500 per person return, AR$250 one way; prices as of January 2020). Alternatively you can walk up, taking the 1,070 steps leaving from the statue of Güemes a little bit north of the cable car station. Taxis are also an option and should be about ARS10. From the hill the view of the city is great but the bonus is the landscaping which has made it a tranquil setting. A vast water feature has been built with many interesting features. A meal or a beer is available at the top at reasonable rates. A good way to fill in a couple of hours when it is clear.
- 3 MAAM museum, Mitre 77 (Plaza 9 de Julio), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11:00-19:30; guided tours at 12:00 and 18:00. The Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña exhibits the discovery of the three Inca "Llullaillaco Children" found frozen at the peak of Mount Llullaillaco. ARS130 (ARS40 for university students and children under 12).
- 4 Iglesia San Francisco, on the corner of Caseros and Córdoba. Beautiful 1796 church with remarkable tower.
- Museo Antropológico, Avenida Ejército del Norte. Offers a very interesting insight into various indigenous cultures, which have flourished throughout the centuries in this part of Argentina.
- 5 Pajcha, 20 de Febrero 831 (10 blocks north of the main plaza.), ☏ . A fantastic museum in Salta and definitely worth a look.It is called "Pajcha" and is a collection of traditional art, textiles, icons and jewelry from all over South and Central America. It is fascinating. For only AR$10 you get entry to the private museum and for an additional AR$15 you get a personalised guided tour from one of the directors. The enthusiasm is palpable and fantastic learning from a knowledgeable source. They know everything because they had personally collected everything in the museum. tours also English. AR$10.
- 6 Museo El Tribuno Guillermo Pajarito Velarde, Pueyrredon 106, ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 10:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00; Sa 10:00-14:00. Wonderful small house-museum that is a tribute to Velarde (1895-1965), who was a lawyer and banker, but more important a Bohemian patron of arts, especially tango, when it was still not accepted by society in Salta. The guide does a great job of presenting the colorful tales. She only speaks Spanish, but if you do not understand Spanish, she will just ask one of the other guests to translate to English. AR$5.
- Horse Riding: It can last from a couple of hours to several days. There are several options which include snacks, accommodation in country houses or camps, and typical foods. This service was created to show you the real “Gaucho” life.
- Cycling: Bicycle rides around the city or through a mountain track, perfectly designed for adventurers.
- Motorcycling: Motorcycle rides with several option according to each particular need, always in the company of a qualified guide for each ride. It is an international high-quality product that brings together two passions: motorcycling and sightseeing.
- Trekking: There are several options: short strolls around our bordering mountains or several days in the region, with different degrees of difficulty.
- Mountain climbing: The region offers a great variety of mountains and volcanoes with elevations between 3,500 and 6,740 m). Require previous experience, equipment, and logistics.
- Tren a las Nubes, Train to the clouds. As the name tells, it is a day trip by train up in the mountains to La Povorilla at 4220 m over the sea level. Runs from April to November, two times a week (Wednesday and Saturday) with extra services during the high season (Easter & winter holiday). Cost USD120 (USD140 high season). Book by phone (0800-888-NUBES), online, or a couple of days before at any city excursion office. The trip takes a whole day, leaving Salta at 07:15 and returning between 23:00 and 00:00. The dining car on the train and the bar car are a bit expensive but you are allowed to bring your own food. A breakfast and afternoon snack is included. Coca leaf tea helps prevent altitude sickness and coca leaves are provided by the train staff. There are nurses on board and oxygen for those who suffer ill effects from the altitude. The trip is long and the seats are somewhat cramped for leg space but generally the services and staff are excellent. The experience is fantastic as the scenery is rugged and variable with a feast for the eyes at every turn. The engineering of the track was a masterpiece in its day and continues to impress decades later.
There are several travel agencies that can help you with your trip around the region. They are about 4 to 5 blocks south of the main square, around Buenos Aires Road. Tours usually last all day from 07:00-21:00 and stop at a restaurant for lunch. Depending on the itinerary, they cost AR$1000-2000 with discounts for two or three day combinations. Shop around as prices differ considerably between operators, even if they are actually consolidated into the same tour. Tours are sold as bilingual (Spanish and English) although some guides will drift towards Spanish especially if most of the participants are fluent.
- Balcarce Arts and Crafts Fair. Each Sunday the main nightclubbing street, Balcarce, is closed to traffic all day for a very good arts and crafts fair featuring the work of local artists and craftsmen of all types.
- 1 El Rincon del Carpincho, Alvarado 556. A very small craft shop a little away from the main tourist area but the prices are significantly lower than the prices you will pay around Plaza 9 de Julio. Hand crafted leather and knives as well as leather goods.
- El Buen Gusto Empanadas, O'Higgins St 575, ☏ . Go very local with this hidden gem for empanadas. A very traditional small, simple restaurant, that offers the best empanadas in Salta. You should call in advance to order the food (before 21:00) since they cook a limited number of empanadas.
- La Céfira, 481 Cordoba. They serve very nice pastas and sauces. Good value for the price.
- By Doña Lola. Traditional Salteñan food in a very nicely restored old house which also contains a small museum of local artifacts.
- 1 Doña Salta, Córdoba 46 (2 min walk from Plaza 9 de Julio), ☏ . The meat and wine are top-shelf. Excellent service and a Spanish ambiance.
- 2 El Palacio Pizza y Empanadas, 117 Caseros. The cheesy sign above the entrance should come down, this place is well above the standard of that nasty sign. The only thing missing is the view of rolling greens hills from the windows, as you are served this wonderful Argentinian food. Two flavorful Saltinian empanadas, a litre of Salta's finest beer, a basket full of fresh bread, tin full of olive oil, a slightly overdone veal steak, gorgeous green salad, AR$47. Fabuloso.
- 3 El Solar del Convento, Caseros 444 (Half a block east of the main square), ☏ . Serves champagne while you choose from the menu. Inexpensive yet elegant dining with excellent steaks and wines.
- Viejo Jack I Parrilla, Av Virrey Toledo 145, ☏ . Incredible food, low prices, and friendly service. Portions are huge--main (meat) courses are designed to shared. Try the picana, you won't be sorry.
- 4 Fili Helados, General Güemes 297 ((Av. Sarmiento y Gral. Guemes)), ☏ . Delicious ice cream, sorbet, and other frozen treats.
- Cafe Van Gogh, Espana 502 (northeast corner of the main square, 20 m from the church), ☏ . Americano breakfast with coffee, scrambled eggs with cheese, toasts, croissants, ham, juice and fruit salad for only AR$120; or a 3-course menu of the day plus a soft drink for AR$180. Open everyday, good service. Their Wifi is faster than your hostel's.
Nightlife is centred on the north end of Balcarce St, in the train station zone.
The local beer "Salta" is comparable in quality to other Argentine beers and is similarly priced. A 1-L bottle at a restaurant on Plaza 9 de Julio will set you back AR$13-15 and you will get a small serving of chips and or peanuts.
A bottle of local whisky at a supermarket will cost about AR$25 and is equal to reasonable Scotch whisky. All Scotch whisky is cheap at the supermercado.
- Hotel Pachá Anexo, Avda Entre Rios 454, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Upbeat hostel in the heart of Salta and by the entertainment zone. Complete breakfast included in all categories, and infusion drinks.
- Hostel 7 Duendes, San Juán 189, ☏ . Nice, helpful staff with free Internet and a basic breakfast. Cosy backgarden and a friendly atmosphere will welcome you right next to Parque San Martín, close to the centre and the bus terminal. AR$25 per night per person.
- 1 Hotel Florida, Urquiza 718 (Between Florida and 20 de Febrero), ☏ . Down the block from the central market and four blocks from the central square. One of the best values in town. Speedy Wi-Fi (only reaches to the 2nd floor), friendly staff, strong hot showers. Many rooms have balconies, all have cable TV. Breakfast is simple and small, but brought to the room. From AR$85.
- Hotel Marilian, Buenos Aires 176, ☏ , Reservas@hotelmarilian.com. Hotel with outdoor pool and buffet breakfast. $44.
- Las Rejas B&B, General Güemes 569, ☏ , email@example.com. Central, 2 blocks from the main square and the cathedral. Offers hostel accommodation as well as B&B. Very friendly, many amenities including travel desk. Free Internet.
- Terra Oculta, Córdoba 361, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Popular backpackers spot and a good place to meet fellow travellers. It has all the usually services and there is a weekly barbeque and a bar. Wi-Fi and a computer for Internet. Small breakfast included. Dorm AR$45, double AR$100.
- 2 Hostal Prisamata, Bartolomé Mitre 833, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 3 Hotel Colonial, Zuviría 6, ☏ . At the heart of the city, in front of "9 de Julio" square, is one of Salta's most traditional hotels. The best option for travellers looking for a pleasant stay in the best location of the city at a good price. Breakfast and Wi-Fi included.
- 4 Hotel Posada del Sol, Alvaredo 646, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Simple and clean. AR$280.
- 5 Wilson Hotel. In the center of the city, 3 blocks from the "July 9" main square. The rooms can offer plenty of space and can be made up according to guests' requests within minutes.
- 1 5asec laundry, Mitre 401, ☏ . M–Sa 08:00–22:00, Su 09:00–21:00. Centrally located dry cleaning place that will wash a load of clothes for you. Same-day service if you bring it early. AR$175 for a load.
- Bolivia, Calle Mariano Boedo No 34, ☏ . M–F 08:30–18:00.
Salta is the base for many great trips throughout the province. There are plenty tour agencies offering excursions in the region. Especially good are the 4WD trips to the beautiful Valles Calchaquíes, as well as rafting trips to the Río Juramento.
San Lorenzo This is a charming town approx 20 minutes outside Salta. It has lots of accommodation, restaurants and its own attractions. Well worth a look if you only have a day, or even better, stay there and enjoy the wonderful hospitality only a small town can offer. Bus 7E goes there.