Located in Northwest Argentina, this mountainous region offers a fantastic medley of romance and history. Aside from Andean peaks and world-class vineyards, the emerging city has captured the minds of tourists from around the world. Check out the city’s famous museums or head to the Salinas Grandes to witness more of Salta’s natural beauty. With so much to see and experience, it’s no surprise that Salta is becoming one of top travel destinations in Argentina.

Below you’ll find a 3-day itinerary as well as a 1-week option to make the most of your time in this beautiful region.

 

3-Day Salta Itinerary

Day 1: Explore the City

Morning: Kick off your week in Salta with a visit to the Quebrada de San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Gorge). Located about six miles from the city this nature reserve is home to the Yungas forest. This tropical cloud forest, located within the foothills of the Andes is the perfect place to go hiking. If you have some extra time or want to explore more of Salta’s natural wonder, check out our 4 Day Hiking Tour from Salta into the Clouds.

Afternoon: Feeling hungry? Mercado Municipal offers a variety of fantastic dining options, even vegetarian. Plus the market is a great place to taste and experience the culture of Northwest Argentina.

While most of the city will be enjoying their siestas, this is a great time to view Salta’s gems while avoiding the crowds. Take a look at some of our affordable half-day Salta Tours in order to make the most of your time in the city. You’ll witness centuries old, well-preserved colonial architecture, unforgettable city vistas from San Bernardo Hill, Salta’s most important museums and churches, and you will end the tour with a visit to one of Salta’s prized artisanal markets before returning to your hotel or hostel around 7 PM.

Experience Salta with Keteka

Evening: For dinner, what could be better than some local Argentinian parilla (barbeque). La Monumental is famous for their gigantic portions of meat while also catering to the needs of vegetarians with their unbeatable pastas and salads. You may be distracted by their medieval-style architecture but don’t forget about desert!

After being in Salta for only a day, you’ll probably have already heard about the city’s Peñas, or traditional folklore music halls. Locals congregate with guitars and alternate playing and singing while residents and tourists come together as a cheerful audience.

Traveler Tip: We recommend visiting La Casona de Molina, but you’ll want to get there around midnight if you want a set. Get a table, sit back, have a beer, and listen to the unbelievable performances from artists all over Northwest Argentina.

Round Trips City Tour (Salta), Salta

Day 2: Religion, Nature, and Folklore

Morning: After a night of drinking and frolecking to the sounds of Spanish folklore, you may need an extra hour of sleep. If you haven’t already, make sure to take a visit of the stunning cathedrals and churches. Perhaps on the way to lunch, you can marvel at the colonial architecture. We recommend starting at the Plaza 9 de Julio, where you can visit the impressive Catedral Basílica de Salta. Then, head over to the streets of Caseros 73 and Cordoba 33 in order to see, according the locals, the tallest bell tower in South America at the Iglesia de San Francisco.

Afternoon: If you haven’t already, sink your teeth into Salta’s empanada culture. While the best ones are undoubtedly up to debate, head over to the Patio de la Empanada in order to try a selection – we recommend the carne minced meat. Be careful, there is no such thing as just one empanada.

There is only one true way to work off those fried meat patties. An Andes Bicycling Tour is your escape from the hustle and bustle of Salta and into the stunning rainforest of Northwest Argentina. Bike through the picturesque vistas of San Lorenzo and witness beautiful waterfalls and rivers before returning to your hotel at 7PM.

If you’re not a strong biker, there are still plenty of things to do in Salta. There are several museums, but don’t miss is the Museum of High Altitude Archeology. Located in the main square, you’ll understand a bit more of the Inca culture and see one of three  Inca children corpses that was found on the top of mount Llullaillaco. The cost is 100 pesos (approx. 3 USD) and you can easily spend half a day there.

Evening: After a hard bike ride, relax at José Balcarce—a gorgeous restaurant located at Necochea 590. This upscale restaurant offers modern design juxtaposed with pre-Colombian dishes.

salta argentina mountain biking

Day 3: Day Trip to the Salt Flats

Full Day: Time to head out to the province of Jujuy to see the famous high altitude Salt Flats of Salinas Grandes. Take a day-trip to San Antonio de los Cobres and then to the Quebrada de Humahuaca—while visiting the Salinas Grandes on the way.

The Salt Flats are approximately 132 square miles and they are ideal for experimenting with photography due to the large area, vast horizon, and unique perspectives. On your way back we recommend checking out the village of Purmamarca with its colorful geography and culture this little town is postcard pretty.

Don’t want to go through the hassle of renting a car and driving?  Book a tour with a local guide. Your knowledgeable and professional guide will give you an unbeatable taste of the culture, history, and landscapes of Argentina.

Uyuni salt flats

 

1 Week Salta Itinerary

You can easily devote a week or more to Salta and its surrounding region. For your first three days, follow the above itinerary to get the best of what Salta has to offer before exploring further.

Day 4 & 5: Incan Ruin Trek

2 Full Days: If you’re a nature lover, the Cuesta del Obispo and El Torreon 2 Day Trek is downright breathtaking. You’ll hike along Incan ruins, condor habitats, and see a terrain so shocking you will have wished you invested in a better camera. Not many tourist come to this region and you’ll have the benefit of exploring it in solitude.

If you’re looking for a more challenging trek you may consider the Humahuaca Gorge to Yunga Valley 4 day hike. With incredible views of snow-capped mountains, you’ll cover over 40 km of grueling terrain as you make your way through up through the clouds.

These treks are perfect off-the-beaten experiences that will give you a authentic taste of Northern Argentina. A number of companies offer treks with food and lodging included. We recommend booking in advance to ensure availability.

hiking in salta argentina

Day 6: A Experience Above the Clouds

Morning & Afternoon: After some challenging hiking, you’ll want some time for rest and relaxation. The Train to the Clouds Experience offers amazing and contrasting landscapes, making it the perfect escape. It’s a complete breathtaking experience, you’ll feel the thinning air as you approach the city. As one of the highest altitude trains in the world, you will embark on a truly unique tour through Northwest Argentina. You can book a tour either online or through most hotels and hostels in the city.  

Evening: After a busy day, we suggest venturing out to Viejo Jack for supper. While it is slightly further away from most tourist traps yet popular with the local Salteños, Viejo Jack offers an authentic and calm setting away from the tourist crowds.

Day 7: Calchaqui Valley

Finish off your week in the Salta region in with a visit to Calchaqui Valley. A perfect day trip destination from Salta, especially if your moving around with a car. Drive through some beautiful scenic views on your way to the sleepy town of Cachi. La Cuesta del Obispo is an incredible maze that has an amazing view at its highest point, get your selfie (carefully) with the giant cacti in the Parque Nacional Los Cardones, and then take a moment to admire the straight line called La Recta de Tin Tin. If you want to explore the area more, check out our two day tour.

If you have a early departure, relax and take in the last final sights of Salta and binge at all the local Argentinian markets such as the Balcarce Crafts Street Market. Catch up on souvenirs and talk to some of the local Salteños on your last day. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to grab one last empanada before your departure.

Round Trips Round to the Calchaqui Valley, Cafayate

With an Extra Day or 2

The perfect mix of heritage: Cafayate
Along route 68, you’ll drive through Quebrada de las Conchas, and find an incredible hidden Amphitheatre in this national reserve. This reserve is an UNESCO World Heritage site famed for its red rocks. You’ll also find a number of other sites with odd names such as The Devil’s Throat and The Priest. Cafayate is also known for its wine, the altitude leads to intense and concentrated wines. Argentina is best known for its Malbec, so that’s always a good choice but make sure you also try the famed fruity Torrontés.

Juramento river Canyon
If your looking for the best mix of adventure and nature, the Juramento River Canyon is the best place for it. Just south of the city, you’ll find increible geologic formations and even  dinosaur footprints. You can zipline through the canyon or dive right in and go white-water rafting in class 2 and 3 rapids. Sounds like an adventure right?

Lodging

You have a number of options in and around the city for all kinds of budgets. For you solo and budget friendly travelers, average price is around 6 USD per night per person for a bed in a dorm. Hotel and Boutique hotels are popping up everywhere and have price ranges between 50-180 USD per night for 2 people. You may also want to consider cabañas or camping if you prefer a more rustic experience. In terms of lodging we recommend these hotels:

Kkala Boutique Hotel: Located at Las Higueras 104, Tres Cerritos, this upscale hotel specializes in a friendly staff coupled with a mixture of antique and modern décor. Rooms start at 1,030 pesos.

Bloomers Bed and Brunch: Located at Vicente López 129, this small inn is situated in a Colonial-style just three blocks from Salta’s main plaza. Prices start at 400 pesos.

Legado Mitico Salta: Located at Bartolomé Mitre 647, the Legado Mitico Salta  is set in a 1930s house in Salta’s historical center about 1,500 feet from 9 de Julio Square (Salta’s main plaza). The Hotel has themed rooms in a celebration of local culture. Rooms begin at 1,250 pesos.

 

What To Eat During your Trip to Salta

Whether Salta is your first destination in Argentina or your last, there are a couple of words in spanish that your going to here quite often; parilla, dulce de leche, and empanadas. A typical breakfast will include a medialuna, or a croissant, sometimes filled with dulce de leche and definitely covered with a delicious sticky glaze. Don’t forget your cafe con leche, or coffee with milk.

The northern region of Argentina has a special empanada known as the Salteña empanada, which is filled with beef or chicken, hard-boiled egg, spices, and other ingredients and finally cooked in the oven. You’ll also always find a place eat beef straight from the parilla. Make sure your plate includes a chorizo sausage, Bife de chorizo (Sirloin steak) and Provoleta (Thick disc of semi firm cheese). Hungry yet?

Salta, Argentina

 

Overall, the northwest region of Argentina is one of the most unexplored areas in the country. Most people enjoy the vibrate energy of the capital city Buenos Aires or head straight down south the explore the wild Patagonia. However this northern region of the country has plenty of beautiful and adventurous things to see.  You’ll find fertile valleys, red-rock canyons, tropical jungles and humid sub-andean sierras. Salta is just one of the provinces that is rich in culture, food, and adventure for any traveler.

planning a trip to Salta