City Tours are a great way to quickly get your bearings in a city and identify places that merit more detailed exploration. The City Tour of Salta takes three hours and covers Salta’s most attractive landmarks. The tour begins in the center of the city and expands outward in a circular route. The guides use the landmarks as props in their narration of Salta’s history. It is a very interesting story indeed.
Salta was essentially founded as a pit stop on the road between the two Spanish colonial capitals of Lima in what is now Peru, and Buenos Aires in modern day Argentina. The founder of the city, a visionary by the name of Lerma, overstepped his mandate and instead of establishing a sleepy re-supply town created a regional powerhouse. Salta soon became a center of trade in its own right and its founding families amassed huge fortunes evident in the gold covered cathedrals and mansions studding the small city. The independence of Argentina and rerouting of trade from the Pacific coast however ended Salta’s boom days. Time seemingly stopped as Salta turned into a sleepy backwater town until recently, when the locals realized the pristine condition of their colonial architecture could be a tourism gold mine.
The first portion of the Salta City Tour takes you by the following monuments and landmarks: The 1885 Basilica Cathedral where the remains of revolutionary hero General Güemes rest. The Cultural Center of the Americas. The Historical Museum of the North in the old Cabildo. The church of San Francisco. The convent of San Bernardo. And the monument to General Güemes.
The tour then departs the city center and takes you into the foothills around Salta which are now posh suburbs. There is a 15 minute stop at the top of San Bernardo hill from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. If you want to come back later you can reach the summit of San Bernardo hill by cable car from the park below. The next stop is the monument to the Battle of Salta Monument and then the February 20th Park. Then the tour heads towards the outskirts to visit the village of San Lorenzo, which was chosen as a summer retreat by the wealthy families of Salta due to its magnificent subtropical micro-climate.
The last stop on the way back to your hotel is the Artisan Market where native craftsmen from the entire province come to sell their wares. You can get all your souvenir shopping done in one shot and focus on sightseeing during the rest of your trip. Try the candied walnuts, they are delicious and make great presents.
Reservations for the Salta City Tour can be made here