Discover why Salta is called 'La Linda' (the beautiful) on this 5-day tour of northwest Argentina. After arriving in Buenos Aires, you'll fly here and explore one of the best preserved colonial cities in South America. Then hit the road with an experienced guide and visit the giant salt flats and Humahuaca Gorge, as well as traditional Andean towns known for pre-Colombian history in the Jujuy Province. 

Highlights

  • Spend your first day exploring Buenos Aires followed by a steak
  • Ride Salta's scenic gondola and explore the exquisite colonial architecture
  • Visit a pre-Incan city of the XIII century en route to the the salt flats
  • Drive along a UNESCO-listed trade route once used by hunter-gatherers
  • Tap your foot to some live folk music on your last night of the trip

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore the City Buenos Aires
Day 2 Fly from Buenos Aires to Salta Salta
Day 3 Explore the Salt Flats - Purmamarca Purmamarca
Day 4 Explore the Humahuaca Gorge - Salta Salta
Day 5 Fly from Salta to Buenos Aires - Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore the City

The Obelisco, a central monument in Buenos Aires
The Obelisco, a central monument in Buenos Aires

Welcome to Argentina! Renowned as the "Paris of South America," and the "Queen of El Plata," the capital city of Buenos Aires is defined by passion. This is exemplified in the rich tango heritage and its citizens' limitless enthusiasm for fútbol (soccer), which is far and away the country's most popular sport. 

When you arrive at the airport, your driver will be waiting to take you in a private car to your hotel where you can relax after a long flight. But make no mistake: the city will beckon you. So after a quick recharge, be sure to venture out into the welcoming arms of Buenos Aires and explore. The best starting point would be the city center.

Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Obelisco, which might be the most famous icon of the city. This obelisk (which even Argentines admit is a little too reminiscent of the Washington Monument) is worth a visit for its location alone. It sits right in the middle of Avenida 9 de Julio, which boasts a whopping 16 lanes, making it the widest city street in the world.

  • Stop by the Teatro Colon, one of South America's premier opera houses. The horseshoe-shaped gallery features 2,487 seats and incredible acoustics. Even if you plan on taking a tour or catching a show here on another day, it's always breathtaking to pass by its exterior. The Colon's neoclassical facade has been the face of one of the most handsome buildings in Buenos Aires since its opening in 1908.

  • Stroll Puerto Madero, an upscale waterfront neighborhood adjacent to downtown. Puerto Madero may be the "new money" finance center of Buenos Aires, but it's also one of the most pleasant walking areas in a city famous for its walking areas. A romantic stroll involves walking over the canal on the Puente de Mujer ("Woman's Bridge") at sunset. 

  • Dine at an Argentine steakhouse or parilla. When night falls and dinnertime arrives, do like the locals and enjoy a thick, juicy steak (Argentina has some of the best beef in the world) drizzled with the nation's famous chimichurri (a garlic, herb, and vinegar sauce). Know that Buenos Aires is a culture that thrives after dark, and it's not uncommon for locals to have dinner well past nine in the evening, especially on weekends. 

Day 2: Fly from Buenos Aires to Salta

Salta's Pink Cathedral
Salta's Pink Cathedral

This morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Salta, one of Argentina's most impressive Spanish colonial cities. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. 

Take the rest of the day to get settled in and enjoy the town. Easy to explore on foot, the city's compact colonial center is lined with gorgeous neoclassical buildings, lively cafes, and bars teeming with a young and trendy crowd. 

Recommended activities include

  • Take the cable car up Cerro San Bernardo to enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the city and beyond

  • Appreciate the city's beautiful architecture by visiting the pink Salta Cathedral, consecrated in 1878, as well as the striking mauve and yellow Church of San Francisco, and baroque Town Hall building

  • Explore the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology, which sheds light on important archaeological discoveries in the Andes

  • Learn about the region's rich history by paying a visit to the Historical Museum of the North, which showcases items from local indigenous cultures as well as colonial times 

  • Stroll around the craft market where you can buy traditional products from rugs to pottery 

  • Enjoy a traditional Argentinian dinner at a cozy local restaurant

Day 3: Explore the Salt Flats - Purmamarca

The salt flats: a remote landscape like no other
The salt flats: a remote landscape like no other

After an early breakfast in Salta, it's time to depart for an exciting two-day excursion with a local guide. Since you'll be returning to Salta the next day, it is recommended that you leave your luggage at the hotel and just to pack an overnight pack for a lighter load.

You will travel along the same route as the famous Train to the Clouds, zigzagging via lonely roads between the blue sky and the high desert plains. Along the way, you will stop and visit historic ruins, scattered houses, small villages, and photogenic landscapes.

Your first destination is the small town of Campo Quijano and the impressive Quebrada del Toro where you will stop for a coffee break after some stunning viewpoints. From here, you will visit Santa Rosa de Tastil, a pre-Incan city of the XIII century, followed by San Antonio de los Cobres, one of the smallest villages in the region, en route to the surreal landscape of the Great Salt Flats.

Once you arrive here, take your time to absorb this natural phenomenon. These flat expanses of desert ground are covered with salt and other minerals and usually shine white under the sun. The salt flats will appeal to amateur and professional photographers alike, with constantly changing light and reflections that provide ample opportunities to test your creativity to the fullest.

Later in the afternoon, you will arrive at your comfortable hotel in Purmamarca, located at the base of Jujuy's famed seven-colored mountain.

Day 4: Explore the Humahuaca Gorge - Salta

Gorgeous contrasts on today's drive
Gorgeous contrasts on today's drive

Today you will depart your hotel after breakfast for a scenic tour along the Humahuaca Gorge, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This major cultural route traces the spectacular valley of the Rio Grande and shows substantial evidence of its use as a major trade route over the past 10,000 years. In fact, there are visible traces of prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities of the Inca Empire (15th to 16th centuries).

During the route, you'll visit places such as Maimará, Paleta del Pintor, Tilcara (and its famous Pucará de Tilcara), Trópico de Capricornio, Uquía (Pinturas Cuzqueñas) and finally, the small town of Humahuaca.

You will arrive back to Salta with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening in town. Perhaps you can visit a peña (a meeting place for musicians) and mix with the locals while eating empanadas and listening to folk music to celebrate your last night of the trip.

Day 5: Fly from Salta to Buenos Aires - Departure

One more stroll around Salta before departure
One more stroll around Salta before departure

After breakfast, say goodbye to the city of Salta and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, transfer to the international terminal for your return flight home. ¡Buen viaje!

Map

Map of Argentina's Salta & Jujuy Province – 5 Days
Map of Argentina's Salta & Jujuy Province – 5 Days