A Trip to Salta and the Calchaqui Valley

After Christmas we took a trip which surprised us by being one of our best ever trips. The high point was to be at New Year’s with a stay at the hotel in the Colome vineyard.

On December 26 we finally got the car packed about 9:00 am, which mostly meant a picnic lunch for mid-day, and lots of snacks for the nibbling in the car, and of course, water, yerba, and our guampa for the important terere moments. We chose to go west from Formosa because it is a newly paved road across Formosa province.

The entire time we were in the chaco of Argentina and each new kilometer looked like the previous kilometer. The one attention getting thing we saw were huge kapok trees. Antonio just felt he had to get out and see if he could find Winnie-the-Pooh or at least his honey jar in an especially fat and decorated kapok.

It was a great time to talk and listen to various things we had downloaded on our iPods. Right about dark we got to Ing. Juarez, which I doubt could even be called a one horse town. We found a guest room attached to a filling station, certainly no luxuries except for cleanliness, and went to “the” restaurant where the best option was a pizza. I saw that a circus was set up right outside of town, which I almost got the boss into, except that when we were told it would begin about 10:00 pm, our enthusiasm waned.

A little sanctuary has been carved into the trunk of a kapok tree.  The tree doesn´t seem to mind at all

The next day we made our way along toward Salta, and discovered that the day before we should have driven on to Embarcacion, which is a pleasant city with a nice hotel. Salta is a beautiful manageable sized town and it reminded us of a very small Buenos Aires. Most of the buildings have delightfully ornate moldings and tall windows.

We stayed in the pleasant, but inexpensive Hotel del Convento ( We did see several B&B pensiones, and one of those might have been a better option. Bloomers B&B looked nice 0387-422-7449. Salta is a walking city so it is important to be as close to the center as possible.

The sidewalks tended to be quite narrow and chaotic but the city is lucky in that there are many public parks of a rather formal design. The best park was right in the center of town and all around the park were bars and coffee houses with masses of small tables outside.

One of my favorite things to do was to sit and have coffee and eat several of the famous Salta empanadas. These empanadas were cooked in the oven and only came in three different fillings; meat, chicken, or goat cheese.