Salta, Argentina, often referred to as "La Linda" (The Beautiful), is a captivating city nestled in the Lerma Valley in the foothills of the Andes. Known for its colonial architecture, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, Salta offers a unique blend of urban charm and natural beauty. This lesser-known gem is an ideal destination for remote workers and digital nomads looking to experience authentic Argentine culture. From historic landmarks and bustling markets to breathtaking mountains and valleys, Salta promises a range of activities and sights to explore. Here’s a guide to some must-see spots and activities in this enchanting city.

1. Plaza 9 de Julio

Plaza 9 de Julio is the heart of Salta and a perfect starting point for exploring the city. Surrounded by historical buildings and vibrant cafes, this central square is a bustling hub of activity and a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. The plaza is lined with towering palm trees and beautifully landscaped gardens, providing a serene environment amidst the city's lively atmosphere.

One of the main attractions on Plaza 9 de Julio is the Salta Cathedral, a stunning example of colonial architecture with its pink façade and ornate interior. The cathedral dates back to the 19th century and houses the remains of General Martín Miguel de Güemes, a national hero.

Adjacent to the plaza is the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM), home to the famous Inca mummies discovered on the Llullaillaco volcano. This museum offers fascinating insights into the Inca civilization and the region's archaeological heritage. Another notable building is the Cabildo, a historic government building that now serves as a museum showcasing the history and culture of Salta.

Whether you're enjoying a coffee at one of the outdoor cafes, exploring the historical landmarks, or simply relaxing in the plaza, Plaza 9 de Julio is a must-visit destination that captures the essence of Salta.

2. Cerro San Bernardo

Cerro San Bernardo offers some of the best panoramic views of Salta and the surrounding valley. Accessible by a cable car (teleférico) from Parque San Martín or by hiking a scenic trail with over a thousand steps, reaching the summit of Cerro San Bernardo is an adventure in itself. The cable car ride provides a unique perspective of the city as you ascend, while the hike allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

At the summit, you’ll find beautifully landscaped gardens, walking paths, and several lookout points that offer breathtaking views of Salta and the Lerma Valley. The summit also features a small market where you can purchase local crafts and souvenirs. There is a cafe where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or snack while taking in the stunning vistas.

Cerro San Bernardo is a popular spot for both locals and visitors, providing a peaceful retreat from the city's hustle and bustle. Whether you're enjoying the scenic ride, hiking through the lush greenery, or simply relaxing at the top, a visit to Cerro San Bernardo is a must for anyone exploring Salta.

3. Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM)

The Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM) is one of Salta’s most fascinating cultural attractions. Located near Plaza 9 de Julio, this museum is dedicated to the archaeology of the Andes and is renowned for its well-preserved Inca mummies, known as the "Children of Llullaillaco."

Discovered in 1999 at the summit of the Llullaillaco volcano, these mummies are believed to be the remains of three Inca children who were part of a ritual sacrifice over 500 years ago. The cold, dry conditions of the high-altitude site kept the mummies in an exceptional state of preservation, providing invaluable insights into Inca culture and practices.

The museum’s exhibits include a wide range of artifacts from the Inca civilization and other pre-Columbian cultures, such as textiles, pottery, and ceremonial objects. The displays are thoughtfully curated and provide detailed information about the history and significance of each artifact.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, MAAM hosts temporary exhibitions and educational programs that delve into various aspects of Andean archaeology and culture. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an archaeology buff, or simply curious about ancient civilizations, a visit to the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña offers a captivating and educational experience.

4. Tren a las Nubes

The Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) is one of the most spectacular railway journeys in the world, offering a breathtaking ride through the Andes Mountains. Departing from Salta, the train travels along a historic route that climbs to over 4,200 meters (13,800 feet) above sea level, passing through stunning landscapes and engineering marvels such as viaducts, tunnels, and switchbacks.

The journey begins in the lush green valleys of Salta and ascends through dramatic mountain scenery, including the rugged Quebrada del Toro and the high-altitude plains of the Puna. The train’s final destination is the Polvorilla Viaduct, a remarkable structure that spans a deep canyon and provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Along the way, passengers can enjoy onboard services and commentary that provide insights into the history, culture, and geology of the region. The train also makes several stops at small villages and viewpoints, allowing passengers to explore the local culture and take in the breathtaking scenery.

The Tren a las Nubes is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Salta, offering an unforgettable journey through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Argentina. Whether you're a train enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique adventure, the Tren a las Nubes promises a memorable and awe-inspiring experience.

5. Quebrada de Humahuaca

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Quebrada de Humahuaca is a stunning valley located north of Salta, known for its dramatic landscapes and vibrant culture. The valley stretches for about 155 kilometers (96 miles) and is flanked by colorful hills and rock formations that create a spectacular backdrop.

One of the highlights of Quebrada de Humahuaca is the Hill of Seven Colors (Cerro de los Siete Colores) in the village of Purmamarca. This striking hill features bands of different colors created by various mineral deposits, and is best viewed in the early morning light. The village itself is charming, with adobe houses, a historic church, and a lively market selling local crafts and products.

Another notable site in the valley is the Pucará de Tilcara, an ancient pre-Inca fortress that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The archaeological site includes reconstructed stone buildings and pathways, providing insights into the history and culture of the region’s indigenous peoples.

The town of Humahuaca, located at the northern end of the valley, is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and vibrant cultural traditions. The town’s central square features a striking monument to independence hero General Manuel Belgrano and is surrounded by historic buildings and bustling markets.

Whether you're exploring the colorful hills, visiting ancient ruins, or experiencing the local culture, Quebrada de Humahuaca is a must-visit destination that showcases the natural beauty and cultural richness of northern Argentina.

6. Salinas Grandes

Salinas Grandes, one of the largest salt flats in the world, is a mesmerizing natural wonder located about a three-hour drive from Salta. Covering an area of approximately 3,200 square kilometers (1,235 square miles), the salt flats create a vast, otherworldly landscape that is both surreal and breathtaking.

Visitors to Salinas Grandes can explore the expansive white plains, which stretch as far as the eye can see and reflect the sky to create stunning mirror-like effects. The salt flats are particularly striking during the rainy season, when a thin layer of water covers the surface, creating perfect reflections of the surrounding mountains and clouds.

Guided tours are available, offering insights into the geological formation of the salt flats and the traditional methods of salt extraction used by local communities. Visitors can also learn about the unique ecosystem and the challenges of living and working in such a harsh environment.

For photography enthusiasts, Salinas Grandes provides endless opportunities to capture stunning images of the reflective salt flats, geometric salt patterns, and dramatic landscapes. Whether you’re exploring the salt flats on foot, taking a guided tour, or simply soaking in the surreal beauty, Salinas Grandes is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Salta.

7. Cafayate

Located in the Calchaquí Valley, about three hours south of Salta, Cafayate is a charming town known for its vineyards, scenic landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. The region is famous for its high-altitude wines, particularly Torrontés, a white grape variety that produces aromatic and flavorful wines.

Visitors to Cafayate can explore the numerous wineries and vineyards that dot the valley, many of which offer tours and tastings. The town’s wine route (Ruta del Vino) includes some of Argentina’s most renowned wineries, where you can learn about the winemaking process and sample a variety of local wines.

In addition to its wine culture, Cafayate boasts stunning natural beauty, with dramatic rock formations, colorful canyons, and lush vineyards. One of the most popular attractions is the Quebrada de las Conchas (Shells’ Gorge), a spectacular canyon with vividly colored rock formations and unique geological features such as the Amphitheater and the Devil’s Throat.

Cafayate’s charming town center is home to historic buildings, quaint shops, and lively markets, offering a taste of the local culture and traditions. The town’s central square, Plaza San Martín, is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, with cafes, restaurants, and artisan shops surrounding the plaza.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking to experience the charm of a small Argentine town, Cafayate offers a delightful and enriching experience that complements your visit to Salta.

8. El Tren de las Sierras

El Tren de las Sierras, a scenic train journey through the Sierra de CĂłrdoba mountains, offers a unique and picturesque way to explore the stunning landscapes of northern Argentina. Departing from the city of Salta, the train travels through dramatic mountain scenery, lush valleys, and quaint villages, providing passengers with breathtaking views and an immersive travel experience.

The train journey takes you through a series of tunnels, bridges, and viaducts, showcasing the engineering marvels that make this route possible. Along the way, the train makes several stops at small towns and scenic viewpoints, allowing passengers to explore the local culture, enjoy the natural beauty, and take memorable photographs.

One of the highlights of El Tren de las Sierras is the town of La Cumbre, known for its picturesque setting, charming architecture, and outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the town’s historic center, hike the surrounding trails, or simply relax and take in the stunning views of the Sierra de Córdoba.

El Tren de las Sierras is a perfect way to experience the beauty and diversity of the Argentine countryside, offering a relaxing and enjoyable journey through some of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Whether you're a train enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, El Tren de las Sierras is a must-do activity in Salta.

9. Valle de Lerma

The Valle de Lerma, located in the foothills of the Andes, is a fertile and picturesque valley that offers a rich tapestry of cultural and natural attractions. Known for its lush landscapes, charming villages, and agricultural abundance, the valley is a perfect destination for those looking to explore the rural beauty of Salta.

One of the highlights of the Valle de Lerma is the town of Chicoana, renowned for its traditional gaucho culture and vibrant festivals. Visitors can experience the local way of life by attending a traditional rodeo, enjoying folk music and dance performances, and sampling regional cuisine such as empanadas and locro.

The valley is also home to several historic estancias (ranches), where visitors can learn about the region’s agricultural heritage, participate in horseback riding excursions, and enjoy the hospitality of the local gauchos. These estancias offer a unique opportunity to experience the rural charm and cultural richness of the Valle de Lerma.

For nature enthusiasts, the valley offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the scenic trails that wind through the lush landscapes and rolling hills. The valley’s rivers and streams provide excellent opportunities for fishing and water-based activities.

Whether you’re exploring the charming villages, experiencing the gaucho culture, or enjoying the natural beauty, the Valle de Lerma offers a delightful and enriching experience that showcases the best of rural Argentina.

10. San Antonio de los Cobres

San Antonio de los Cobres, a high-altitude town located in the Puna de Atacama region, is one of the highest towns in Argentina, situated at an elevation of over 3,700 meters (12,140 feet) above sea level. The town is a gateway to some of the most stunning and remote landscapes in the region, including the Salinas Grandes and the Quebrada del Toro.

San Antonio de los Cobres is known for its traditional Andean culture and its role as a mining town. Visitors can explore the town’s historic center, visit the local market, and learn about the region’s mining history and indigenous heritage.

One of the main attractions in San Antonio de los Cobres is the Viaducto La Polvorilla, a remarkable railway bridge that forms part of the Tren a las Nubes route. The viaduct is an engineering marvel and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

For those looking to explore the natural beauty of the region, San Antonio de los Cobres offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the high-altitude deserts and salt flats. The town’s high elevation and clear skies also make it an excellent destination for stargazing.

Whether you’re exploring the town’s cultural heritage, experiencing the dramatic landscapes, or embarking on an adventure in the high Andes, San Antonio de los Cobres offers a unique and unforgettable experience in Salta.

11. Parque Nacional Los Cardones

Parque Nacional Los Cardones, located in the CalchaquĂ­ Valley, is a stunning national park known for its unique landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. The park is named after the cardon cactus, a species of giant cactus that dominates the landscape and creates a striking and surreal environment.

The park’s diverse ecosystems range from high-altitude deserts to lush valleys, providing a habitat for a variety of wildlife, including guanacos, foxes, and numerous bird species. The park’s trails offer excellent opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography, allowing visitors to explore the unique landscapes and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

One of the highlights of Parque Nacional Los Cardones is the Recta del Tin Tin, a perfectly straight road that stretches for 18 kilometers (11 miles) through the park. The road was originally built by the Incas and offers stunning views of the surrounding cacti and mountains.

The park also features several archaeological sites, including ancient petroglyphs and ruins, providing insights into the region’s pre-Columbian history and culture. Whether you’re hiking through the cactus forests, exploring the archaeological sites, or simply enjoying the stunning vistas, Parque Nacional Los Cardones offers a unique and enriching experience in Salta.

Exploring Salta, Argentina offers a captivating mix of history, culture, natural beauty, and adventure. Whether you’re strolling through the historic streets of Plaza 9 de Julio, hiking to the summit of Cerro San Bernardo, or embarking on a scenic train journey through the Andes, Salta promises a memorable and fulfilling experience. For remote workers and digital nomads, the city's welcoming atmosphere and diverse attractions make it an ideal destination to balance productivity with adventure. Pack your bags and get ready to discover the hidden gems of Salta.

Stay inspired and explore more hidden gems and exciting activities for your travels at Le Remote Magazine.

#Salta #Argentina #TravelTips #DigitalNomads #RemoteWork #ExploreSouthAmerica

Jun 12, 2024
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