Argentina travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Salta is a special place for me because I have been here many times on my 7 trips to South America, sometimes by default. But I always have fun here. It is the main
city in the north of Argentina and is an easy place to get to from the south and east and also the prime place to head north to Bolivia or west to Chile from.
have arrived in Salta from San Miguel de Tucuman, Corrientes, Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Puerto Iguazu. The city has a nice feel about it and is a great place to enjoy
a few days or even a week. There is great shopping and food, nice plaza, great nightlife, clubs and bars. The weather in Salta is quite warm and
it's a good place to get used to being above sea level before going higher into the Andes. The altitude is only 1200 meters.
Cerro San Bernardo (Hill)
On my first trip to
Salta I stayed at a great hostel just near the main street of San Martin. I met some other travelers there and one day we climbed up the 1070
steps to the top of Cerro San Bernardo hill and saw amazing views over Salta and the mountains and Lerma Valley. The 1070 steps begin behind
the Guemes man on a horse monument, you can also get up and down on the cable car. Once you reach the top you will be at 1454 meters, the views
are amazing in a panorama in all directions and it's quiet compared to the city below. At the top there is a nice area of waterfalls, streams,
bridges, staircases and walkways with lots of trees and plants which is really pretty. There is also a couple of monuments Monumento to San Bernardo
and Cristo Redentor as well as 3 lookout platforms and the cable car station. We took the cable car down which takes 10 minutes, you get
spectacular views of the city and surrounding area. On the right-hand side soon after the cable car leaves you will see the Cristo Redentor
monument. The cable car brings you down to the station at Parque San Martin. The Cerro San Bernardo experience is fantastic and fun, so much
fun that on my 4th trip here in 2010 I climbed these steps again as well as walked all the way down again instead of catching the cable car!
Parque San Martin (Park)
There is a lot going on in the park, food for sale like fruit, superpanchos, hamburgers, empanadas,
popcorn and ice cream. There is a pond where the locals hire little paddle boats for the family to cruise around in.
Walking around the city I saw amazing shops and walking areas full of people and activity and lots of yummy food to eat everywhere. Also the cathedral
and churches are nice. The pink cathedral is called Catedral Basilica next to the plaza. There is also Iglesia San Francisco and when it is lit up at
night it looks fantastic, as well as Iglesia La Merced and Iglesia La Vina. The Plaza 9 de Julio area has statues, monuments and fountain, it's great
to just wander around and enjoy it. Other sights around the city include the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology (M.A.A.M.) and Convento San Bernardo.
There are some other good things to see in Salta just out of the central city like the huge Batalla de Salta monument and parks surrounding it near
the military base. A 20min bus ride from the city is Quebrada de San Lorenzo for bush and nature walks.
Train into the Clouds
It is also possible to take a train into the clouds, known as Tren a las Nubes
, it climbs
to an altitude of 4200 meters above sea. It runs 434kms, the round trip takes nearly 15hrs and takes you through many tunnels and over many bridges as
well as spirals and zig-zags.
One of the great things about Salta is the nightlife on Calle Balcarce, there are lots of bars and clubs, restaurants, live music, shows and
places to dance. On a Friday and Saturday night this area is really pumping and is open until dawn, a great place to meet people!
Chinos Restaurant / Superpanchos
Salta has some tasty restaurants and superpancho stands but my favourite restaurant is called Chino's, it's an all you can eat 3 course buffet. It
has it all, hot food, salads and deserts, all for 25 pesos, it used to be 15 pesos. I'm sure the price is more now! I have been there many times, you can't lose! If you love to
eat superpanchos (long hotdogs with ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise), there are several stands on Calle San Martin open all night like Hugo's Panchos, indulge!
Salta has many hostels and hotels in various parts of the city. I would recommend staying near the center of the city like around Calle San Martin
or in some of the streets off of it. There are lots of internet cafes, laundrys, banks and ATM machines in the center.
Which Direction to Take
left Salta in 4 different directions, to La Quiaca
and Salvador Mazza to cross into Bolivia, to Paso de Jama
3 times to enter into Chile and to Buenos Aires
which costs over $100USD in a direct bus.