Salta is the most popular tourist destination in Argentina’s northwest for good reason, with a pleasant climate all year and some incredible Andean landscapes nearby. But, this lovely colonial town retains a slower-paced rural vibe.
With its preserved cobblestone streets and Spanish architecture, certain parts of the city appear to be in time. Salta, in 1582, did not receive as many European immigrants as other parts of the country, so it retained many indigenous traditions and influences.
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1 Plaza 9 de Julio
Begin your exploration of Salta in the city’s main square, Plaza 9 de Julio, which features Spanish colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and cafes along the plaza’s edge. You will see the magnificent neoclassical Catedral Basilica de Salta, which is the city’s most recognizable landmark. The exterior of the church is light pink, and the interior is a brilliant gold, greens, and blues.
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2 Museo Arqueologia de Alta Montana
If you only visit one museum in the city, make it this one. The MAAM, which is to anthropology and the preservation of Andean culture, is best known for the mummified Inca children discovered by scientists in 1999 at the Llullaillaco Volcano. To keep the mummies well-preserved, the museum only displays one at a time (in an airtight glass case) and rotates them every 6 months.
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3 Museo Pajcha Arte Etnico
So, if you only visit two museums in Salta, this should be the second. It’s off the beaten path, and it’s not your typical museum. Museo Pajcha is a private collection with limited hours (you must ring the doorbell to enter! ), but it has an excellent exhibition of indigenous art, artefacts, and interesting information.
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4 Cerro San Bernardo
You must ascend this hill for spectacular panoramic views of the city. On a sunny day, it’s a great place to have a picnic or watch the sunset. Take advantage of the food vendors on the roof, where you can buy packets of chips and a beer or two, and a guy selling bottles of wine. The teleférico is a cable car that runs up and down the hill, but you should definitely walk at least one way.
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5 Artisan Markets
The city’s two artisan markets have all the traditional Argentine souvenirs you could ever want. Textiles, leather, indigenous handicrafts, and ceramics are all examples. The Mercado Artesanal is in a restored colonial millhouse outside the city centre. Before returning, have a drink at the cafe here while sitting outside.
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