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The Argentinean Andes, history and tradition

The Argentinean Andes, history and tradition

Salta boasts a touch of elegance that is unmistakable symbol of a sumptuous past that is still alive in its large old manors and flowery patios. Among the big Argentine cities, this is the city where the Spanish influence is best preserved.

9 reasons to visit the Andean Region


1) Salta capital city 

Visitors can find in the city not only an architectural attraction but also a historical lineage with several options to relax and spend some pleasant days in an irresistible atmosphere. Immerse yourself in ancient customs and gastronomy.  


2) Humahuaca Canyon 

Even if Nature was extremely generous with this spot, the relevance of this place is not only the landscape but also the historical meaning. This astonishing gorge is the only access to the Andean plateau which is 5000 meters above sea level and it has witnessed dramatic events connected to the primitive inhabitants, the Incas, the Spanish conquerors and the liberators. The whole region transmits that legacy and you will be delighted to see it with your own eyes. 


3) Calchaquíes Valleys 

Among the first settlers it was narrated a legend saying that the giant cactus called ¨cardones¨ (today condensed in a National Park) were the privileged lookouts that kept safe and guarded the Inca Empire. It is necessary to go through them to reach the Calchaquies Valleys. 

Landscape changes as long as you move forward, always with the naughty mountain formations standing behind, sometimes reminding you of the moon landscape. Forgotten towns and sites along the valley are found here and there, many of them with well- preserved ancient churches and adobe houses. Like in many other sites of this region one of the main attractions is to observe how their particular lifestyle works together with their intact identity.   


4) Cafayate

The tour to Cafayate is another place that well deserves a visit while you are in Salta. The Quebrada del Rio Las Conchas and its weird rocky formations is the first outstanding site you will need to cross until reaching the picturesque town of Cafayate. Cafayate is a place full of colours and distinctive flavours where the high altitude vineyards produce the typical ¨Torrontés¨ wine, as well as the Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon ones. 

In Cafayate the sky is crystal-clear, the sun is bright and the nights are star filled like the ones you will see in nowhere else. Here you will feel grateful to get in touch with the local people and their anecdotes, their ancient customs and their native heritage: the hand woven workshops, the handmade moulded earthenware and the sense of belonging. 


5) Salt mines in the high plateau (Puna)

From the colorful Purmamarca at the foot of the famous Seven Colors Hill, you reach the Salt Mines after ascending 2.000 mts by a twisting route in no more than 20km. 

When reaching the Salt Mines at 4.000 meters above sea level, the first impression is that you arrived to a flat white desert that seems to be a huge Prehistoric sea. The tiny town has very few inhabitants that were able to adapt to the most severe weather conditions with an only possible source of income: selling handicraft souvenirs, made of salt of course!  


6) Archeological Heritage: the Llullaillaco children

The Llullaillaco children are one of the greatest testimonies of the Inca culture, an incredible wonder that amazes everyone visiting this museum in Salta city. They can be seen in the High Mountain Archeological Museum, located in Salta downtown among colonial buildings. This local Museum is considered one of the most prestigious institutions in this matter, both national and worldwide.

The children were sacrificed 500 years ago in the summit of the legendary Llullaillaco volcano which rises up to 6.700 meters above sea level. Their tombs were the highest that the human race has ever built.    


7) Wine route 

The wine route at Salta is framed by the landscape of the Calchaquies Valley, by the local culture, the gastronomy and the history. It is a route that invites to taste the exquisite height vineyards of the province, to learn at the Theme Museum, to buy at the handicraft markets and to amaze with the Andean landscape. 

The outing, from one to three days, is absolutely pleasant in any season, but specially from February to April. The journey to the vineyards is the beginning of the emotion and along the way you cross imposing areas, such as Los Cardones National Park or the Quebrada de las Conchas Reserve. The beauty of the Calchaquies Valley makes it to be a compulsory stop to enjoy the Wine Route in Salta.   


8) The high plateau of the Andes Range 

Charming towns allow the travellers to discover ¨cardones¨ and mountain landscapes. It is only necessary to get immerse in the quiet rhythm of Salta to admire the Andean culture in its maximum expression. 

The landscape of the immense altiplano is guarded by the snowed peaks and volcanoes. Vast salt basins, ponds full of vicunas and flamingos are all mingled with the desert landscape and millennial cultures. 

The pre hispanic footprints with its adobe towns and ancient churches welcome the visitors all year round, especially in Autumn and Spring when the colors and weather are normally optimum.  

The peace feeling when facing the silent landscape is immediate. When walking among tall ¨cardones¨, blue ponds and sunny steppes you should follow the quiet rhythm of the region, always necessary to adapt the body to the place conditions, as arid as attractive.


9) Local gastronomy

Getting involved in the cultural ambience and the flavorful Northern gastronomy is an opportunity to be reached at every corner of the province.

There are classic meals that everyone know and want to try, such as the Salta ¨empanadas¨ (pastry filled with knife cut meat) and potatoes seasoned with valley pepper. They are small and juicy, ideal as a starter of any banquet. 

There are dishes that are only possible to be found here because the ingredients are extremely local, as well as the Torrontes white wine.

The ¨humita en chala, the ¨cayote¨ jam, the goat roasted in a spike, lamb, quesillo, charqui, Andean potatoes… all these are paired with ¨chicha¨ (corn beverage) and ¨aloja¨ (carob tree beverage) to make a toast for such a culinary festival. It is worth to bring home some cane syrup and spices but there are some other things that are only possible to be enjoyed on site, such as a great ¨locro¨ on a cold evening.  


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