Unfortunately, the northwest is often left aside when making travel arrangements for Argentina, although there are so many extraordinary things to discover! In this article I give you the 7 best things to do in Salta and Jujuy – to plan your road trip or day trips from Salta.
However you decide to go – I recommend a rental car for exploring this region. This will open up more options, as you can see more in less time and can be much more independent. The rental is worth it when you are a party of 2 or more!
1) Historic City of SaltaThe old town of Salta is one of the finest in the country and is one of the few built in the colonial style. A walk or sightseeing tour of the city center, followed by a café con leche at one of the many cafés on the Plaza 9 de Julio is definitely a MUST.
For accommodation in Salta I highly recommend the Coloria Hostel: great location, inviting common area (with garden & pool), nice staff and breakfast is also included. You can choose between dorms and private rooms.
2) Cerro San Bernardo & Park San Martin in SaltaYou can admire what is probably the best view of the city from the Cerro San Bernardo. You can easily take the cable car up from downtown (7 € for a return trip) – at the top, next to the viewing terraces, there is a small park with fountains and a café.
The Telerfico “valley station” is next to the Parque San Martin, the green lung of the city with a small lake, fountain and boats.
3) Nightlife in the Calle BalcarceAs a student city Salta is particularly known for its nightlife, which happens on a single street: Calle Balcarce. Within walking distance from downtown, there’s a lot going on, especially on the weekends.
It’s best if you pre-game at one of the fine restaurants or pubs before you dance the night away in a club, as the parties only really get started around 2am.
4) Quebreda de CafayateThe Quebreda de las Conchas, also known as Quebreda de Cafayate, is a part of the Qualchaquies Valley with its red mountains and is by far one of the best things to do in Salta (region). The geological formations near Cafayate are especially impressive, along route 68 you’ll find multiple panoramic view spots to admire them from, for example: the Devil’s Throat, the 3 Crosses, the Monk, the Obelisk and the Natural Amphitheater. I suggest a tour in the late afternoon as you get to see the sunset…or a combination tour with the wineries!
When you have a bit more time, I’d recommend a stay in the small, relaxing village Cafayate for 1-2 nights. I myself stayed at the Hostal Benjamin and received not only warm hospitality, but also help and support with the planning and organization of my stay.
5) Wineries in CafayateWhat Mendoza is to red wine, Cafayate is in terms of white wine in Argentina – the Torrontés Riojano is the most important Argentinian white wine and is mostly grown in the region. Around Cafayate there are many wineries that gladly welcome visitors and even offer tours including a wine tasting.
My personal tip is the Finca las Nubes, a small but idyllic winery just outside Cafayate. During the day you can join tours, taste (and buy) wine, and also enjoy a great view of the wine and Cafayate!
6) Purmamarca & the Hill of Seven ColorsThe Hill of Seven Colors is located right on the edge of the town Purmamaraca in the Jujuy region and is one of the most popular things to see in Northern Argentina. The colors are best viewed in the morning hours. This is only one of many colorful hills in the Quebreda de Humahuaca.
Instead of a day trip from Salta you should consider spending at least one night in Purmamarca. I stayed the 2 nights in the small village. In the evening when the day-trippers are gone, the place is really enjoyable – that’s when you should try the delicious regional cuisine in the restaurants!
In terms of accommodation, I can recommend the Hotel Killari, next to beautiful rooms and a good location (right next to the Hill of Seven Colors) it also has the best value for the price (breakfast & WiFi included).
7) Argentina’s best cuisineAfter weeks of steak, pizza and pasta, it was a great to discover the traditional Argentinean cuisine, which comes directly from the region. In Tucuman, Salta and Cafayate I ate the best empanadas (even here, there are still differences between Tucumanas and Salteñas!). However, you should also try Tamales, Humitas and especially Locro!
If you pass by Tucuman, you can make a culinary stopover in the restaurant “El Portal” to eat some really good traditional food. In Tucuman you can also easily rent a well-priced higher-class hotel room, such as at the Bicentenario Hotel – perfect after a long journey from Mendoza or Buenos Aires!
More tips? No problem!
In my guide “Backpacking in Argentina” you’ll find even more attractions, personal dining and accommodation advice, and practical information to help you plan your trip in this region and the rest of the country. With it, you can save yourself a lot of time and nerves in the preparation!
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More amazing things to do in Salta and Jujuy?
Do you agree with this list or is something missing? Let me know in the comments!
Disclaimer: All opinions, recommendations and views are my own. This post contains Affiliate Links for services and products I’m using on my travels – therefore I can highly recommend using them. By using these links you won’t pay any additional fees!
This post is also available in: German