The capital of the northwestern province of Salta is the gateway to the third biggest salt flats in all the Americas. A two-hour flight from Buenos Aires, the city was founded in 1582 by the forces of Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma, and located in the Lerma Valley close to the frontiers with Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay – once part of the southern Inca empire and afterward an important trade entrepot. Not only is it a distant 600 kilometres (373 miles) from the capital but also long ways away in culture and feel, as well. The heat, for example, is tropical, and even the people look more exotically Andean than in B.A. Salta has a lovely colonial old quarter including this beautiful cathedral (though it´s actually post-colonial, built in 1856).
Read more in our blogger Felice Hardy's post En Route in Argentina's Dramatic North.