Salta, Argentina - Polarsteps
Salta, Argentina, population: about 535,000. Salta sits in the Valle de Lerma and the metropolitan area has a population of about 620,000.
Salta was founded in 1582 and the original plan was for it to be a stopping point between Lima, Peru, and Buenas Aires, Argentina. In the early 1800s, there was the War of Independence between Peru and some Argentina cities, and Salta was right there in the middle of it all as an important military staging area. By the time the war ended, Salta was pretty much bankrupt and in complete disarray. That condition continued until the turn of the 20th century. An influx of immigrants from Italy, Spain, Syria, and Lebanon gave the city new life, reviving trade and agriculture throughout the area.
So, my impressions: Salta is a fairly big city with more than a half-million population, but the downtown area is a nice place to walk. The plaza is wide and surrounded by banks and restaurants, there are nice parks, and lots of very old historical buildings, some dating back to the 1700s and many built in the 1800s. It's a nice small city and I suggest anyone with an interest in history and visiting Argentina add Salta to their list of places to explore. And I have met a few local people who speak English. Oh, and if you're a pizza person, forget about Salta, they have no pizza culture whatsoever. But, they do have many coffee shops. Next to Salta is San Bernardo Hill, and there is a cable car that runs up to the top of the hill, there you'll find numerous viewpoints and a restaurant and gift shops, and craft shops. If you don't want to take a cable car you can walk up to the top via the road (the long way) or by switchbacking steps made of stone that wind their way up the front of the hill. It is quite a good hike, I did it with no water, so make sure you take a bottle of water with you. I like this town.
My South America Journey