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I just got back from 6 days in Salta. It was some of the most spectacular scenery I ever saw. 4 days of driving around the different canyons and gorges and every day the scenery was different. I could have easily stayed another couple of days and seen more.
Salta city is very cute and worth spending a day walking around in. Try to squeeze in a visit to MAAM (Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montaña) to see the artifacts and 500-year old mummy of a young Incan girl which is amazingly well preserved and lifelike. There is some debate about whether or not this should be on public display and I can see both sides of the argument, but it´s an incredible experience none the less. The museum shop is also the best shopping I found in Salta, high quality craftsmanship using traditional methods and a great selection of prints, handicrafts and weaving.

There are tons of tour companies in Salta. Be sure to book with one that does small groups so you are in a 4×4 or minivan. There are some places the big busses can´t go (and obviously, it´s less pleasant). I arranged some of my tours beforehand and went with Nordic Travel.  The English guides were great and they were very flexible about stopping for picture taking as we went along. There are lots of excursions available, I did 4 one-day trips (in order of favorites):

  • Tren de los Nubes with Salines Grandes – the salt flats are incredible. 25 square miles of blinding white salt. The trip to get out there is also breath taking and follows the path of the currently benched Tren de los Nubes. It´s an 11 hour tour but totally worth it. Originally I was disappointed he train wasn´t working but I now think it´s much better to do by car.  You see 90% of the same scenery and you can make stops.
  • Humuacha – more details on this and the other tours later, I´m tired
  • Cachi
  • Cafayate

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