Salta (Province)

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Travel Guide South America Argentina Salta

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Introduction

Salta is a province of Argentina. The western part of the province is in the Andean Northwest region, the eastern part is in the Chaco region. It offers many amazing landscapes. There are mountains, rivers, valleys, dams, and a blue sky and pure air. A lot of tourists visit it because Salta mixes landscape with traditions. There you will find the origins of Argentinean culture. It is close to the province of Jujuy and the Quebrada de Humahuaca. People are very nice and hospitable.

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History

Before the Spanish conquest, numerous native peoples (now called Diaguitas and Calchaquíes) lived in the valleys of what is now Salta Province; they formed many different tribes, the Quilmes and Humahuacas among them, which all shared the Cacán language. The Atacamas lived in the Puna, and the Wichís (Matacos), in the Chaco region.

The first conquistador to venture into the area was Diego de Almagro in 1535; he was followed by Diego de Rojas. Hernando de Lerma founded San Felipe de Lerma in 1582, following orders of the viceroy Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa; the name of the city was soon changed to "San Felipe de Salta". By 1650, the city had around five hundred inhabitants.

An intendency of "Salta del Tucumán" was created within the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. In 1774, San Ramón de La Nueva Orán was founded between Salta and Tarija (Tarija was added to the intendency later, in 1807). In 1783, in recognition of the growing importance of the city, the capital of the intendency of Salta del Tucumán was moved from San Miguel de Tucumán to Salta. The battle of Salta in 1813 freed the territory from Spain, but occasional attacks were mounted from the Viceroyalty of Peru as late as 1826. Gervasio de Posadas created the Province of Salta in 1814, containing the current provinces of Salta, Jujuy, and parts of southern Bolivia and northern Chile. Exploiting internal Argentine conflicts that arose after the Argentine Declaration of Independence, Bolivia annexed Tarija in 1826. In 1834, Jujuy withdrew from Salta and became a separate province. The borders of Salta were further reduced in 1900, with the loss of Yacuiba to Bolivia.

The National Government of Los Andes, constituted from the province in 1902 with a capital at San Antonio de los Cobres, was returned to Salta Province in 1943 as the Department of Los Andes. Antonio Alice's painting, La muerte de Güemes, which received a Gold Medal at the Centenary Exposition, is on display at the offices of the Salta Provincial Government

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Geography

The total land area of the province is 155,488 km2, making it the sixth largest province by area in Argentina. The main rivers of the province are the Pilcomayo, Bermejo, and the Juramento, which later becomes the Salado River. Salta Province is located at a geologically active region, and suffers from occasional earthquakes.

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Sights and Activities

Train to the Clouds

Nineteen tunnels, twenty-nine bridges, nine sheds, heights of over 4,200 metres above sea level are reasons enough for this train to be famous all over the world. And the incredible mind of its project developer Richard Fontaine Maury. The name “Train to the Clouds” was originated by two Argentine cameramen that rode in the 1960s from Salta to Socompa. They asked the mechanist if he could make the locomotive through lateral steam once they were in the high pass known as viaduct La Polvorilla. They filmed the steam while it came off from the sides and since there was very low temperature at the place, the steam clouds took longer to dissipate and caused the effect of riding above the clouds while watching them. Later on the shot taken by these two cameraman was on a movie titled “Tren a las Nubes” (Train to the Clouds).

Other Sights and Activities

  • Valles Calchaquíes
  • El Rey National Park
  • Parque Nacional Baritu
  • Salinas Grandes

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Weather

The province is located in the tropical zone and has a warm climate in general, though it has marked variation in climate types owing to the variation in altitudes. The orientation of the Andes influences the distribution of precipitation within the province.

The easternmost parts of the province have a semi-arid climate with a dry winter season. The mean annual temperature and precipitation are 20 °C and 500 millimetres. Temperatures can reach up to 47 °C during summers, while they can fall down to -5 °C during winters.

The first slopes of the Andes force the moist, easterly winds to rise, provoking very high condensation leading to the formation of clouds that generate copious amounts of rain. The eastern slopes of the mountains receive between 1,000 to 1,500 mm of precipitation a year, although some places receive up to 2,500 mm of precipitation annually owing to orographic precipitation. Most of the precipitation is concentrated in the summer, with winters being dry. The high rainfall on these first slopes creates a thick jungle that extends in a narrow strip along these ranges, creating an area of great species diversity. At higher altitudes on these slopes, the climate is cooler and more humid, with the vegetation consisting of deciduous and pine trees.

Between the high altitudes to the west and the low plains to the east lie the valleys. The climate of these valleys is temperate, allowing for human settlement and agricultural activities. Mean annual precipitation is around 1,000 mm, most of it during summer. Mean temperatures exceed 20 °C during the summer, while during winter, they are below 14 °C.

Further west, the Altiplano is a plateau at 3,000 m to 4,000 m above sea level. The climate is arid and cold: high temperatures vary little (since the warmer season is cloudy, and the coolest is sunny), ranging from 14 °C to 21 °C; night temperatures go from 6 °C in midsummer, to -8 °C in midwinter, and extremes under -15 °C might be recorded. All rain falls exclusively in the summer, with values between 200 mm and 400 mm in total. Several salt flats exist in this area.

At the highest altitudes found in the western parts of the province, the climate is arid and cold, with large diurnal ranges (temperature range between day and night).

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Getting There

By Plane

Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport (SLA), in Spanish Aeropuerto Internacional de Salta Martín Miguel de Güemes, is an airport about 6 kilometres southwest of the city centre of Salta. In 2007 this airport almost had 400,000 passengers making it the busiest airport in the northern part of the country. This airport is the main hub for the Andes and served by Aerolíneas Argentinas, LAN Argentina, Andes Líneas Aéreas and Aerosur. The main destinations are Santa Cruz, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Puerto Iguazu and San Salvador de Jujuy.

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Getting Around

For all those who are driving or are about to rent a 4wd vehicule. The pass of Abra del Acay in route 40 is open, it connects Cachi with San Antonio de los Cobres, though in very poor conditions at the time. It is advised that anyone that wants to do it to have a 4wd otherwise don't even think of it! The road is spectacular and allows you once you have reached the pass at almost 5,000 metres over sea level to have an amazing view of the Puna (Argentine altiplano) as well as the far distant satflats.

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Eat

  • Empanadas Salteñas - Tourists really enjoy typical dishes based on natural vegetables with goat or deer meat. “Tamales, locro and humita” are a must at all the local restaurants.

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Drink

The wines produced in the region are a treasure in Salta. You can taste them in all bars and restaurants or in any of the wine cellars around the city that you can visit during your trip.

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Contributors

as well as Sam I Am (10%)

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This is version 11. Last edited at 9:00 on Feb 14, 18 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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