Argentina – Salta and Purmamarca
When an Argentinian tell you that Córdoba, Salta, Jujuy or other place is very beautiful be sure to ask what he thinks by it. Often they mean an entire province with many beautiful places. It is no problem for Argentinians to cover large distances by car. In case of Salta one can firmly state that the province as well the city are both beautiful.
Hernando de Lerma founded the city of „Ciudad de Lerma en el Salta“ in 1582. The reason for founding it was to suppor trade betweeni Santigo del Estero and Peru. Today, Salta is one of the most beautiful places with well-preserved colonial architecture, and many churches scattered across the city. Anywhere you go from the paved main square of Plaza 9 de Julio, you will see historic buildings. . Catedral Basilica de Salta was founded in the 19th century. Every year on September 15, thousands upon thousands come here to pray to the patrons of Salta. Iglesia San Francisco is another church of significance situated close to the main train station. Cabildo Historico is another important structure. Outside the main square, there is Convento San Bernardo, a structure founded in the early 17th century. The city features many museums to see. The city looks beautiful during the day but even more beautiful at night. Historic structures bathe in beautiful light, and churches are worth seeing too. The atmosphere is vibrant. For the city is frequented by tourists, it is very safe at night here. Moreover, it is always pleasant warm temperature here.
Apart from the city itself, there are many interesting places around. Let's see San Lorenzo with its eco reservation. However, it is rather a walk through forest and bushes. Nothing much to see there. A beaufiul walk is in Cerro San Bernardo featuring amazing vista over the city. You can either walk there or use a cable car. There are many beautiful, "colorful mountains" around Salta as well as salt planes. It is no problem at all to rent a car here or pay for a trip organized by a travel agency. We are heading to Purmamarca village to see the rainbow mountains. Also, it is the last place in the north of Argentina we will see.
Purmamarca is completely different. It is crowded by tourists but mostly they stay a day and move on or they return to Salta. There are no colonial era structures. The houses are made of clay mostly. You may see here traditional Bolivian markets. It is as if we returned back to Bolívia. Hence many tourists head here – to buy souvenirs. Unlike Bolivia, this place is much more expensive. Still, Purmamarca is a place worthy visiting. If you haven't bought there any souvenirs, the colorful landscape is still worth looking at. We have stopped on several occasions on our way from Salta to Purmamarca to take pictures of the local landscape.
Cerro de los Siete Colores (the mountain of seven colors) is probably the most popular sight in Purmamarca. In case you wish to hike to a lookout point with a vista over the colorful hill on the opposite side, you have to pay a ridiculous fee as you enter private grounds. It is very much like Bolivia. Behind the city, there is a beautiful route along the mountains. It takes you about an hour, maybe mor. And it is for free. When we were there, it was indeed for free.
To enjoy colors, we go to Maimará village. There is the Paleta del Pintor mountain range featuring all kinds of colors. These clorful mountains are visible from the main road so you don't have to go across the village. Moreover, many tourists simply go ahead to Humahuaca town to see the true "Argentinian" Bolivia.
We board a bus heading to Chile. Any way you choose to leave Purmamarca, you will see colorful landscape, salt planes, and lamas running around.
Text and photos: Tomáš Novák
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