Argentina’s largest northernmost city is well known for amazing day trips to the desert and a lookout boasting views of the Andes and the City itself. The picture os of the stunning mountain highway on a day trip I took North of the city.
I visited Salta after a loooong bus trip ex Buenos Aires. About 24 hours, but the buses in Argentina are comfortable – even if the drivers are nuts, not unlike the rest of South America.
Whilst on this point, an observation I have made in South America generally (especially Bolivia & Peru) is people in the streets generally walk around like they’re high on valium. They do not walk on the right, nor the left and are always slow and seemingly completely oblivious to anyone else on the footpath. But get them behind the wheel of a car and they turn into speed demon maniacs. Always wanting to overtake – even on blind corners and hitting the horn at every opportunity to hurry another vehicle up. I just don’t get this mentality – can anyone explain? It really is weird.
Anyway, back to Salta.
The traffic here is nuts too. The city is laid out in a grid system but rarely do any of the intersections have traffic lights. Sit on a corner near the centro one day and just watch all the action of the game of chicken. Panel shops must do really well here. It is probably the most crazy driving to be seen in South America.
After you’ve had enough watching the dodgem cars, the highlight of this town for me was the walk up to the lookout called the Teleférico. You can get the cable car, but for some exercise and a really nice walk up, take the stairs. They are a little hard to find, but walk past the hospital near the base of the cable car, and follow the bottom of the mountain around. Walk through a residential area but keep following the closest streets to the mountain and you will soon find a small park with an entrance to the stairway. Many locals use this as an exercise run up and down.
Salta is also the gateway to many little towns steeped in history including Cafayate the wine growing region, San Lorenzo (a lazy hour or so on a push bike), Purmamarca and Humahuarca. You can read about these places on my separate posts.
From Salta, I took the bus into Chile to the small but now thriving tourist desert town of San Pedro de Atacama.