The Argentine North is an area with traditions and a lot of landscapes. Probably only one trip is not sufficient to know this area with so many destinations and tourist spots, surely you have to return more than once.

If you are planning a trip to northern Argentina surely this text will be of help, we will introduce the best places …

Quebrada de Las Flechas

If the plan is to see rock formations at the roadside one of the places we recommend is Quebrada de Las Flechas. These formations are over 20 meters high and is located on either side of National Route 40 in the province of Salta. You can walk this path at any time of year but we recommend avoiding the summer months as the route can be cut by river floods. You can visit this place in the 2 day tour in the Calchaqui Valley.

Salinas Grandes

The White Desert is located between the provinces of Jujuy and Salta and can be visited at any time of year. It is the third largest salt flat in South America and you see this place in the day tour from Salta.

Santiago del Estero

It is the oldest city in the country, nicknamed “Mother of Cities”. It has interesting historical buildings to explore their churches and more.

National Parks

In the North of Argentina they are protected areas as is the case of Baritú National Park, the National Park located further north of the country where you can see the Yungas forest. Another recommended parks is the Rey National Park and the Cardones National Park, where we can offer a great trekking.

Humahuaca

It is the point of arrival and departure of the famous Humahuaca which was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003. One of the ways of knowing the people of the Quebrada along with others is by taking a day tour.

Salta

One of the inescapable points North is the city of Salta, striking colonial style, its striking buildings and also the large number of rides inside and around. In addition, Salta is an ideal spot where to stay and we recommend to do a city tour.

Information to whoever wants to leave the country from the northern region of Argentina. Here you will find the characteristics of the steps toward border into Chile and Bolivia.

Borders to Chile 

Sico

For the route 51 can reach the crossing of Sico, 4093 meters above sea level and 297 km. of Salta City.
Comunicate Salta with the Chilean city of San Pedro de Atacama, which is 211 km. of the Sico border crossing.

Huaytiquina

Turning 30 km. Cauchari locality, taking Route 37 until Catua town. From Salta city is 302 km. and from here to San Pedro de Atacama is 163 km.
This step is in a state of semi-abandonment.

Socompa

For Cauchari, taking Route 27, near Caipe town, born a path heading northwest, after that, at 71 km. leads to this step which is 3876 meters above sea level.
Since this step to Antofagasta (Chile) there are 306 km.
There are only service for travelers in this Chilean city.

Jama (In Jujuy province)

This is the most commonly step used because it was recently completely asphalted. Communicate with Chile to Argentina through the Corridor Bioceánico Atlantico – Pacifico.
Extreme temperature in summer: -5 at night and 15 degrees during the day.
Extreme temperature in winter: -20 overnight and 5 degrees during the day.

Steps borders to Bolivia

Pocitos-Yacuiba

On Route 9, at 46 km. Salta until Güemes, and then take Route 34, heading north. It passes through the province of Jujuy and Salta to re-enter. Passing through Tartagal, Salvador Mazza, and thence to the Bolivian city of Yacuiba.
This step is 380 km. from Salta City.
Average summer temperature: 41 degrees.
Average winter temperature: 20 degrees.

Aguas Blancas

On Route 34 to the town of Pichanal. Here comes the route 50, leading to Aguas Blancas, which is 2 km. that an international bridge Argentina with Bolivia.
Average summer temperature: 43 degrees.
Average winter temperature: 20 degrees.

La Quiaca-Villazon (In Jujuy Province)

The city and the international bridge of La Quiaca, is almost at the point end of the country.
It connects the towns of La Quiaca, (18,000 inhabitants.), And the town of Villazon in Bolivia (24,000 inhabitants).
Average summer temperature: 30 degrees.
Average winter temperature: 18 degrees.

Northern Argentina is very well connected with Northern Chile. For this reason an important exchange of passengers from San Pedro de Atacama to Salta, and vice versa occurs.
Due to the large number of inquiries we have about schedules and features, we have put us in touch with the two companies offering this route to provide reliable information to plan the trip.
The following information was provided by the respective companies and assume responsibility for changes and / or modifications. We try to keep this as we report information.

The 2 companies going to Chile are Pullman and Geminis and the current price to San Pedro de Atacama round the ar$850 per person.

Pullman Bus

Address: Terminal Salta – Boletería 15
Tel: (0387) 4210606
FB: pullmansalta
Email[email protected]
Features: Buses Semi-cama
Include: Breakfast, lunch, snack and drinks. DVD, Air Conditioning, Bath, Oxygen, blankets and pillows.

Departures from Argentina

Salta: 07:00 hs. (Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays)
Jujuy: 08:45 hs. (Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays)
Purmamarca: 10:00 hs. (Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays)

Arrivals to Chile

San Pedro de Atacama: 16:00 hs.
Calama: 18:00 hs.
Antofagasta: 21:00 hs.
Iquique: 05:30 hs. (Bus change in Calama)
Arica: 06:00 hs.(Bus change in Calama)

Departures from Chile

Arica: 21:30 hs. (Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays)
Iquique: 23:10 hs. (Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays)
Antofagasta
: 05:00 hs. (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays)
Calama
: 08:00 hs. (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays)
San Pedro
: 09:30 hs. (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays)

Arrivals to Argentina

Purmamarca: 18:50 hs.
Jujuy: 19:50 hs.
Salta: 21:30 hs.

Buses Andino Géminis

Address: Terminal Salta – Boletería 16
Tel: (0387) 4311778
FB: busesgeminis
Features: Buses Semi-cama. Baño, TV, aire acondicionado, calefacción, mantas, oxígeno.
Include: Breakfast, light lunch, soft drinks and cookies. Special menu for vegetarians.

Departures from Argentina

From Salta: 07:00 hs. (Lunes, Jueves y Sábados)
From San Salvador de Jujuy: 08:30 hs. (Lunes, Jueves y Sábados)
From Purmamarca: 09:00 hs. (Lunes, Jueves y Sábados)

Returns to Argentina

From Arica: 21:30 hs. (Lunes, Jueves y Sábados)
From Calama: 07:30 hs. (Martes, Viernes y Domingo)
From San Pedro de Atacama: 08:30 hs. (Martes, Viernes y Domingo)

There is a moment in every trip when we have to face an ancient dilemma. Is it really necessary to return with souvenirs for everyone from the office? Does that friend who I hardly ever see deserve a fridge magnet from my last trip to Argentina?

Souvenirs are instantly associated with tourism. Let’s face it, we all love to mentally move (at least for a moment) to a distant place only by holding an object some one brought for us.

The Argentine Northwest is a great place for collecting a few material memories or craftworks reflecting the rich local culture through art, clothing or food.
The true challenge is finding a way to stand out from the rest and make our gifts from far away unforgettable for ourselves or a beloved one.

If you visit this region, think about getting a beautiful poncho or tapestry from Seclantás, made by local people who still use their old looms to create these true works of art. Keep an eye and make sure they don’t use vicuña fibres since this animal is a protected species.

Anything to eat or drink is usually a sure shot. The Argentine Northwest is full of delicious options: cane syrup from Tucumán or some tasty, frozen empanadas from Salta ready to bake after a short flightWines produced in the Calchaquí Valleys are worldwide famous and you can also find some homebrew beers like Me Echó La Burra in San Carlos. Sweets are a great treat here, too. Colaciones, glazed nuts, quesillo, dulce de leche, cayote or cuaresmillo and alfajores are only some of the delicious options you can find in any souvenir shop. The good thing about this particular region is that it is a journey for all the senses. For those interested in music, it is possible to find handmade quenas, sikus, charangos and guitars in Salta and throughout the Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy.

If you enjoy going for a walk while you find the perfect gift, the Mercado Artesanal in Salta city is a great way to visit a beautiful building from the 1800s and see what the city looks like outside of the centre at the same time. There is a fair on Balcarce street every Sunday afternoon where it is possible to find all kinds of local products and handcrafts and see what the nightlife area of the city looks like during the day. Local fairs are also found around the main squares in Purmamarca, Tilcara, Humahuaca and even Iruya.

Try to enjoy your trip to the fullest but don’t forget about those waiting for you back home. Next time you visit Northern Argentina, make sure you bring back a piece of it with you to enjoy forever… or until your next trip!

This table content useful information on distances and heights of the major cities of North Argentina.

Distances from Salta City
Town
Route Nº
Km.
Miles
masl
Buenos Aires
34
1660
1031
0
Aeropuerto Salta
51
9
6
1145
Aeropuerto Jujuy
34
90
56
Vaqueros (Salta)
9
8
5
1200
La Caldera (Salta)
9
23
14
1455
Embalse Campo Alegre (Salta)
9
27
17
1300
Embalse Las Lomitas (Salta)
51
27
17
1500
Campo Quijano (Salta)
51
30
19
1520
Cerrillos (Salta)
68
15
9
1190
La Merced (Salta)
68
24
15
1248
La Viña (Salta)
68
88
55
1572
San Lorenzo (Salta)
10
6
1400
Cafayate (Salta)
68
186
116
1660
El Carril (Salta)
68
37
23
1170
Chicoana (Salta)
68
47
29
1270
Colalao del Valle (Tucumán)
68
217
135
Coronel Moldes (Salta)
68
62
39
1104
El Alisal (Salta)
51
45
28
1811
Embalse Cabra Corral (Salta)
47
84
52
1042
Embarcación (Salta)
34
270
168
Guachipas (Salta)
68
97
60
1120
Güemes (Salta)
9
52
32
733
Humahuaca (Jujuy)
9
245
152
2939
ing. Maury (Salta)
51
65
40
2359
Iruya (Salta)
315
196
2730
J.V. Gonzáles (Salta)
16
250
155
378
La Quiaca (Jujuy)
9
411
255
Lesser (Salta)
RP 115
20
12
1480
Los Yacones (Salta)
RP 115
28
17
1572
Metan (Salta)
9
134
83
858
Molinos (Salta)
33/40
210
130
2020
Oran (Salta)
34
286
178
326
Payogasta (Salta)
33
147
91
2410
Pichanal (Salta)
34
250
155
306
Piedra del Molino (Salta)
33
93
58
3400
Posta de Yatasto (Salta)
9
147
91
796
Purmamarca (Jujuy)
9
154
96
Rosario de la Frontera (Salta)
9
173
107
791
Rosario de Lerma (Salta)
68
29
18
1334
S.A. de los Cobres (Salta)
51
168
104
3775
S.M. de Tucumán
Por 68
420
261
S.M. de Tucumán
Por 9
311
193
S.S. de Jujuy
Por 9
92
57
1552
S.S. de Jujuy
Por 34
124
77
1552
San Carlos (Salta)
68
212
132
1710
Santa Rosa de Tastil (Salta)
51
103
64
3110
Seclantas (Salta)
33/40
184
114
2060
Tafi del Valle (Tucumán)
68
306
190
Tartagal (Salta)
34
365
227
502
Termas de Reyes (Jujuy)
9
111
69
Tilcara (Jujuy)
9
176
109
Aguas Blancas (Salta)
50
327
203
Alemania (Salta)
68
105
65
1175
Amaicha del Valle (Tucumán)
68
248
154
Ampascachi (Salta)
68
65
40
1112
Angastaco (Salta)
68
258
160
1990
Animana (Salta)
68
200
124
1695
Cachi (Salta)
RP 33
160
99
2280

In general, northern of Argentina, is a tropical zone, so the weather is usually warm. But when there countless regions with special characteristics, this suffers many variations.
There is a huge weather  range from the cold desert of the Andes and the puna, until the subtropical heat of the jungle.
The orientation of the mountainous cords plays an important role in the distribution of rainfall.

There are 4 regions with diferent climate:

East region or Chaco Salteño

Is the area known as “El Chaco salteño.” It has a semi-arid climate with dry season (winter), with an average annual rainfall of 500 mm. and average temperatures in the range of 20 ° C, having recorded temperatures of up to 47 ° C in summer and -5 ° C in winter, marked by extreme temperature variations

West Region or Puna

Is the area bounded by the Altiplano or Puna. It is characterized by sudden temperature fluctuations and low rainfall, which mostly did not exceed 200 mm per year, and average annual temperatures in the range of 10 ° C, which correspond to the arid Andean.

North and South or the Valleys

The area of valleys, canyons and hills. It has a more benign climate, which makes them concentrate on the main agricultural activities and the bulk of the population.
Here the average annual rainfall reaches the 1000 mm.
Overall, the average summer temperatures exceeding 20 C and in winter, the averages are lower than 14 ° C.

These are the characteristics of the weather in Salta City, according to the season:

Summer: Hot and sunny at midday and afternoon, with pleasant mornings and evenings. The daylight lasts until close to 21 hours. In this seasson dominated by rains, which usually begin at dusk.

Fall: Pleasant during the day, with fresh cold nights. Begin to scarce the rainfalls.

Winter: Weather pleasant in the early afternoon. It begins to put fresh throughout the day and cold at night. In this seasson does not rain, so the hills take a brown and the atmosphere is very dry.

Spring: Weather pleasant during the day; fresh cold nights.

 

MAXIMUM
MINIMUM
AVERAGE
RAINFALL (MM)
JANUARY
27ºC
16ºC
21ºC
183
FEBRUARY
26ºC
16ºC
20ºC
163
MARCH
24ºC
14ºC
19ºC
119
APRIL
22ºC
11ºC
16ºC
36
MAY
21ºC
7ºC
13ºC
8
JUNE
19ºC
3ºC
10ºC
3
JULY
20ºC
3ºC
10ºC
3
AUGUST
22ºC
4ºC
12ºC
5
SEPTEMBER
23ºC
7ºC
15ºC
8
OCTOBER
26ºC
11ºC
19ºC
25
NOVEMBER
27ºC
14ºC
21ºC
66
DECEMBER
28ºC
15ºC
21ºC
137

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The Argentine Northwest is a region characterized by its numerous species and natural beauty. National parks are protected areas within a specific legal framework created to preserve the native animals and plant life so that future generations can enjoy them.
Let’s learn more about the national parks located in both Salta and Jujuy provinces. These beautiful areas are a great plan for nature and outdoor enthusiasts and even when some of them prove difficult to access, others offer campsites and good facilities for visitors.

Los Cardones National Park

This park is located in Salta and is the most visited even when sometimes people don’t know they are crossing it. With 64000 hectares, it was created in 1961 in order to protect the dry mountain ranges in the area that were so important to the pre hispanic cultures who fed their animals there. Even though the park doesn’t have adequate infrastructure to receive visitors, the administrative offices are located in Payogasta and they can provide further information about the reserve.
People cross this national park when they travel from Salta to Cachi and one of the most recognizable segments is the Recta del Tin Tin, a 19 kilometer straight route built over an old Inca road.
Plant life is mainly dominated by the Echinopsis atacamensis, a kind of big cactus known as cardón by the locals. Apart from these giants, dinosaur prints and cave paintings can be found within the limits of the park. Considering the dryness of the environment and the difficulties for life to sprout, a big variety of animals live here, including armadillos, mountain cats, foxes, pumas and condors.

El Rey National Park

This park is located some 200 kilometers from Salta, in the Anta department. It is one of the most biodiverse regions in the country and includes both yungas (mountain forests) and dry plains. This 44000+ hectares of tropical rainforest receive up to 2000 millimeters of rain every year, making it one of the most humid regions in Northern Argentina.
Due to its changing altitude, this national park offers a variety of landscapes; forests, jungles and even meadows are still home for several peoples who descend from our ancestors. Archaeological remains have been found here, including pottery with animal designs and stone axes.
Many endangered species are protected in this reserve, including pumas, tapirs, monkeys, foxes and other felines, parrots and hummingbirds. Plant life also sprouts without difficulty, the most important species found here are quebracho, molle, tipa, guayabo and even a flower documented only within the park: Aphelandra lilacina.
For those who are interested in visiting El Rey, the entrance is free and they offer a campsite with restrooms and cooking area.

Baritú National Park

This is one of the most isolated and, therefore, least visited national parks in Argentina. For this reason, this is one of the best conserved reserves and the animals remain practically intact. The predominant environment covering the hills are the mountain jungles known as yungas where truly tropical atmospheres can be found.
These 70000 green hectares are located in the Santa Victoria region in Salta and can only be reached from Bolivia or by plane.
Several specimens of trees can be found here, including cebiles, guayabos, jacaranda, palo santo and palm trees. As the terrain starts climbing up, the jungle slowly becomes a cedar mountain forest. Among animals, tapirs, jaguars, pumas, armadillos, foxes and several birds including condors and eagles can be found within the reserve.
Even though there is no public transportation that reaches the park, it is not impossible to visit. It is advised to do so between April and December and the entrance is free of charge.

Calilegua National Park

 

Created in 1979 to protect the jungly hills of Southwestern Jujuy, the 76000 hectare reserve is the largest in the Argentine Northwest. The weather is pretty hot and humid (it may rain over 1300 millimeters per year) and the park acts as a transition between the dry plains in the East and the humid mountain jungles.
Among the protected species we can find jaguars, pumas, foxes, capybaras, ferrets, condors, toucans and magpies. It is estimated that Calilegua houses over 50% of Argentina’s birds.

Keep discovering the Argentine Northwest and help taking care of its characteristic natural richness and beauty.

Food is a very serious deal in Argentina, and specially in the provinces of the Northwest. A mixture of colours and flavors from both pre hispanic cultures and Iberian cuisine that will make eating a key experience during your trip.
We invite you to try some of these delicious options!

Empanadas

A lot has been said and written about which Argentinian province has the best empanadas. From the broad (sometimes TOO broad) variety of flavours in Buenos Aires, the ones they cook in Santiago del Estero, up to the ones from Tucuman (us conservatives say NO to raisins in the empanadas) and even the fried empanadas from Jujuy. However, it is widely agreed that the best Argentinian empanadas can be found in Salta.
Every empanada lover and taster has a favorite place for eating this delicious baked dough stuffed with beaf, chicken or cheese (the three flavors recognized by the empanadas fundamentalists).
You will find empanadas everywhere in Salta since every restaurant includes them in the menu as starters or as their specialty, some places deliver them anywhere and even people sell them in the streets as a way of living.

Humitas

This delicious corn based dish is cooked all over the region and is served wrapped in its own husks. It consists of a tasty mix of mashed corn, spices and a melted piece of either cow or goat cheese in the center. You will find that humitas are usually offered in sweet or salty versions and some people even add sugar on them.

Tamales

This spherical version of the humita is also served in a corn husk and is very common throughout South America. Unlike the humita, this is not a veggie friendly dish. The stuffing consists on corn flour (instead of fresh and mashed corn), meat, vegetables and spices.

Locro

You will hear a lot about this kind of stew around the patriotic dates (May 25th or July 9th) and you should not leave Salta without having a big bowl on a cold day.
This casserole mainly consists of pumpkin, beans, corn or potatoes and has a pre hispanic origins. Apart from the veggie base, different types of meat can be added; dry meat, beef, pork, sausage and a touch of spring onion. It is cooked over several hours before enjoying a plate full of calories to defeat the winter temperatures!

Dessert

After finishing your meal, it’s time to enjoy some of the sweet alternatives the Northern cuisine has to offer.
The ‘turrón salteño’ looks like a cake but it isn’t. This combination of several layers of dough, dulce de leche, nuts and a cream cover is a delicacy and a true craftwork. ‘Colaciones’ are little cookie-like pieces covered in dulce de leche and caramelized sugar, perfect for a quick snack in between meals or after dinner.
Another typical dessert is quesillo (a flat type of cheese made from either cow or goat) with sugar cane sweet or ‘cayote’ (a sort of pumpkin).

When visiting a new city, it’s always a great idea to see it from a nice viewpoint. Luckily, Salta has a beautiful natural balcony: San Bernardo hill. Located to the east of the city, this little green jungly mountain allows us to enjoy a stunning view from the top, almost 300 meters above Salta.

This hill is part of the Cordillera Oriental, a pre-Andes chain of mountains and an area that was part of the seabed 400 million years ago. As time went by, earthquake activity started to elevate the floor and created the mountains we see nowadays. In fact, it’s still possible to find marine fossils, such as trilobites, from that time.

There are three ways to get to the top of the hill, one for every taste and budget. If you happen to have a car, there is a 2km pavement road that climbs the hill and is easily accessible from the Portezuelo neighborhood, right next to the bus terminal. Salta also has a cable car that, even when it’s not the best plan for a claustrophobic person, takes you to the top of the hill in about 8 minutes and it’s a great way to enjoy the peculiar view above the buildings built next to it. The service costs $55 each way (children under 5 for free!) and you can buy them individually, which is great because it allows you to combine with a descent on foot. The cable car is open everyday from 10am to 7pm.

The best alternative, however, is to walk up each of the 1070 steps that take you from the Güemes Monument (right next to the Anthropology Museum) to the top. This is an ideal 30-45 minute plan to get to the top enjoying the view from within the regional vegetation that covers the hill. The stairs also contain 14 stations of a Via Crucis, a religious parade celebrated every first Sunday in May, reflecting the heavy Catholic heritage of the city.

Once you made it to the top, you can enjoy the awesome view of the city and the whole valley from the balconies and terraces built with stone from the area. The mountains to the West are the pre-Andes and they also offer a nice view during the sunset. There is a nice cafè and a handcrafts fair which offers great deals if you want to go back home with some souvenirs.
The City Tour includes a visit to this viewpoint and is a great opportunity to enjoy the city and its surroundings.
San Bernardo hill has always inspired musicians, poets and artists and is a fundamental part of Salta’s life.