In the mountains of Argentina is Salta, founded in 1582 and known for its Spanish Colonial architecture and Andean heritage. More than half-a-million people call Salta home, and warmly welcome visitors.
There are a number of museums to keep your family entertained when visiting Salta, including the Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montana de Salta (MAAM, or Museum of High Altitude Archaeology). Within the museum, within a 19th-century building, the Mummies of Llullaillaco are housed along with exhibits of the Incan culture, among others. The museum’s state-of-the-art technology seamlessly blends history and modern times to tell stories in ways that will appeal to all ages. Across from the museum is the Museo de Arte , the city’s contemporary art museum.
For some thrills, book a ride on the Train to the Clouds. The railroad climbs to 14,000 feet above sea level and is one of the three highest railroads in the world. There are two options for the rail excursion — all train, which takes the better part of the day, or a bus and train combo, less time on the train and leaving more time to explore Salta.
A different perspective of Salta can be found on a ride on the Teleferico, or tram. A cable car climbs to a perch above the city, providing birds’ eye views. At the top you will also find well-maintained gardens and waterfalls to enjoy before riding back down to town.
The salt flats of Salinas Grandes are otherworldly, and you may feel like you are on another planet rather than here on Earth. En route, you will pass through more amazing landscapes and may even spot alpaca and vicuna along the way.
Back in town, there are plenty of churches and cathedrals to tour, including Cathedral of Salta, where you will find 16th-century statues of the Virgin Mary and the Cristo del Milagro. These statues washed ashore when the Spanish ship carrying them sank. Talk about finders, keepers! Another church to visit is Iglesia San Francisco, its vibrant colors likely the reason behind it being one of the city’s most famous landmarks and pictured on postcards sent around the world. In the center of Salta is Plaza 9 de Julio, as terrific for its people watching as it is for the outdoor cafés and museums that surround it.