Salta & the Northwest once lay in the heartland of the Inca Empire and their influence remains woven in amongst the Spanish colonial architecture, strong gaucho culture and kaleidoscopic landscapes of this extraordinarily contrasting region.
When to travel
March to November
Time from Buenos Aires
By air: 2.30 hrs
More on Salta and the Northwest
The northwest of Argentina has a host of different habitats, from thick rain forests to mountain deserts and all sorts in between. The scenery changes so often and so contrastingly, travelling round the region is much the attraction as the destinations.
Gaucho and indigenous cultures mix seamlessly in the northwest. This is perhaps best seen in the gaucho bars known as Peñas, where gauchos meet to play the local folk music that is heavily influenced by the region’s indigenous roots.
For the origins of these influences, the museum of high altitude archeology (MAAM) offers a fascinating, though at times spine chilling, glimpse into the Inca culture – much of which was destroyed by the Spanish invaders. The Incan arts and crafts exist today in the ponchos, rugs and alpaca shawls and sweaters still crafted today with the same handmade techniques.
The province of Salta has a burgeoning reputation for its unique wines cultivated at the highest altitudes in the world. The town of Cafayate nestled among the Calchaquí valleys is the hotbed of the region’s wine production with its lauded Torrontes and Malbec wines.
From fly-fishing for Dorado alongside the pumas and anteaters to riding among vampire bats and monkeys in the cloud forests until hiking with llamas, guanacos, and condors in the Andean foothills the northwest has a wealth of indigenous, exotic wildlife.
Traces of the complex Inca civilisation are preserved in the arid climate of the Quilmes and Tilcara Inca ruins.
The northwest region of Argentina has some of the most striking and varied landscape on the planet. Ochre red canyons, immeasurable salt flats, scenic deserts, towering cacti, indigo rivers, mighty Andean peaks, and seas of cultivated maize, tobacco and olives.