Shivani passes through the northeast region of Argentina to find out some of the must-see places while studying abroad in Buenos Aires. From salt flats to forests and mountains, she got to experience various Argentinian landscapes over her spring break. Take a gander at some of Shivani's recommendations and check out the priceless sights she caught along the way!
With friends in Argentina.
Last week, I visited the northeast regions of Argentina during spring break. It was one of the most incredible trips I have ever taken. Every day was jam-packed with new adventures, sights, and eventful happenings. I was shocked at how insanely beautiful and majestic everything I encountered was. I left wondering why I had not heard about any of the places I visited before.
If you are planning on studying in Buenos Aires, or anywhere in or near Argentina in general, I highly recommend taking a trip to the north. Everyone talks about places such as the Patagonia region, Iguazu Falls, and other incredible places in Argentina and I cannot lie—they were one in a lifetime experiences as well. Argentina includes every landscape you can think of—from desert to rainforests to glaciers to cities—it really has it all. I have had a one-of-a-kind experience in every place I visited here so far because every part is vastly different from the next. It really is worth trying to visit all places. Do not turn a blind eye on all the parts of the country you can travel to. So, take a week out of your study abroad experience to visit the northeast as well as other parts of the country because you won’t regret it.
Here are a few places you should check out in the Salta and Jujuy provinces of Argentina:
1. The Town of Salta
A view of Salta from the mountain.
You only need a maximum of a day or two in the town. The town itself is pretty cute—it has some cool architecture and roads, a few museums to look into, and great empanadas anywhere you go. Something I recommend checking out is the cable car ride up and down the mountain. You can either hike up (takes about 45-ish minutes) or take the cable car up to see the whole view of the town and valley. Rides run until about 7:30PM. Also, there is an archaeology museum that is quite famous there where they have preserved a few bodies of sacrificed Incan children. I know that sounds super creepy, and seeing the exhibit was definitely very uncomfortable and unsettling, but at the same time quite interesting to learn about and see.
2. The San Lorenzo Forest
A creek in the San Lorenzo forest.
San Lorenzo is about 20-ish minutes away from the town of Salta and it holds a few trails through the forest with creeks/waterfalls. This place has a very different climate than the surrounding areas which are all desert; the area is humid and lush with trees, plants, and fungi. The hike here will probably take a few hours if you would also like to sit for a while and enjoy the rushing water and nature around you.
A panorama of Purmamarca.
This is a super small town north of Salta. There are multiple hikes you can take right from the town to see the surrounding mountains, the hill of seven colors, and other sites. I would say you should stay here about two days if you want to see the surrounding area and really take it in. There are lots of people to ask about the nearby trails and lots of food and souvenir places.
4. The Salt Flats
Argentina's salt flats.
During one of the days in Purmamarca, I suggest traveling to the salt flats which are about 30 minutes away by car. All of these places are in the mountains, so the altitude is much higher and you probably will feel lightheaded or breathless at times. For reference, the highest point on the road to the salt flats is about 14,000 feet above sea level.
Visiting Humahuaca is worth a day trip.
This place is even smaller than Purmamarca and does not have as many places to stay and eat compared to the other towns nearby like Tilcara. You could definitely make visiting the Quebrada of Humahuaca a day trip. Due to the conditions during flood season, you will not be able to drive all the way out so keep in mind what season you are visiting in. Also, the road there is pretty rough, so I suggest obtaining a type of vehicle that can bear those dirt roads.
Empanadas from a cafe nearby our hostel.
Tilcara is definitely a more hip and happening town compared to the others. Although it still isn’t very large, there is more nightlife, restaurants, and a slightly younger crowd that lives there. There are Inca ruins and a few hikes in the area that are worth your time for sure. I would suggest spending a day or two here.
On Route 68 to Cafayate.
Cafayate is known for Torrontes, its famous white wine. There are several vineyards and wineries to look into while in this area, as well as hiking trails. The road from Salta to Cafayate is absolutely mesmerizing and an incredible trip filled with stops, sights, and trails. Everywhere you look, there will be another mesmerizing view filled with mountains, red rocks, and cacti. I would suggest staying two or three days here at least.
Above I listed the places I visited during spring break, but there are many more places to look into also. It is almost overwhelming how many hidden gems there are in the northern region. I will honestly never be able to get over how many phenomenal things I have experienced over the week. Every day was so different and so eventful, I sounded like a broken record after a while repeating how blessed I felt just being present in all of those places. I really cannot describe in words how amazing this trip has been and I hope you can have a similar experience as mine.
Shivani Pandya is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2019, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Bioinformatics major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester.
Shivani's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.