After almost a week in Cafayate with my new travel partners, we headed out for a nice roadtrip to Salta. One of us did not visit the Quebrada de las Conchas before, so we stopped on the way to explore a bit more and enjoy the view (depending on the time of the day, the light changes and it feels like a completely different place!). We made it to Salta early in the evening and checked-in at the Tierra Norte Hostel, right in front of the Parque San Martin. The hostel was alright but nothing very special about it. There are only 2 bathrooms for how don’t know how many guests so in the morning we sometimes had huge line ups before we could go out for the day. The next day was pretty quiet – we all enjoyed finally having good WiFi to upload photos, write our blog posts, Skype or call back home. I also went for a walk and coffee with a local I met on Couchsurfing to learn a bit more about the area and things to do.
The next day, we visited the center of the town and walked up the Cerro San Bernando (over 1000 stairs… oh you know how much I love stairs). From the top, there is a very nice view of the city and the surrounding mountains. If you don’t feel like hiking up you can take a ride in the teleferico for about 150 pesos up and down. At this point I am emptying my last pennies from my travel budget and would rather hike than have to pay… so up to you. In the evenings we found some cheap local places to eat the menu of the day or cooked at the hostel, playing guitar and ukulele. Happy to say I have left Canada knowing about 4 chords and 2 songs, and I now have an actual repertoire! Thanks to all this free time!
On our third day in Salta we went to hike in the Quebrada de San Lorenzo. You will have to take the bus 7 – San Lorenzo in front of the Teleferico where you can go up to Cerro San Bernando. It is 5 pesos one way (you will need the transit city card, 15 pesos for one) and takes about 50 minutes to get to destination (go down at the last stop). We had heard that to hike in the area we needed to get a guide and pay 250 pesos per person – we learned afterwards this was for a different hike in the area leading to a waterfall… you can always ask around if that interests you. We just hiked right in the Quebrada and followed the main path on the right side of the creek, until it went up in the mountains to a larger field and we decided to turn back down. We must have hiked for about 2hrs before heading back down. It was nice to hike in a forest after all the time we spent in the deserted areas full of cactuses… it actually reminded me a lot of Lyn Valley in Vancouver!
The next day we were ready to head back on the road and drive from Salta to Tilcara, where we decided to stay for a few nights. We had heard different things about Jujuy, and we decided not to stop – although driving by we realized it actually looked much nicer than Salta (we are not so much in a city vibe at the moment… got to learn to love the small picturesque villages). On our way we stopped in Purmamarca to visit the Cerro de los siete colores, which I will be covering in my next post!
At this point I have a very short time left in Argentina, and had to buy in advance my bus ticket to cross to Chile through the Paso de Jama (something like 5000m above sea level). I will be crossing from Purmamarca to San Pedro de Atacama on July 14th. Until then, I will visit the North of Argentina!