City Living: Salta & Cordoba
After leaving San Pedro de Atacama we made a few stops in Argentina so that our bus ride to Mendoza would not be so eternal. After enjoying an incredibly scenic ride we arrived in Salta. We really wanted to go through the countryside to get from Salta to Mendoza but bus routes were limited so we made Cordoba our second stop. Here are a few highlights we enjoyed while passing through these two cities.
As soon as we got to Salta we went out to eat with our two friends from the Uyuni tour. They recommended this fantastic vegan restaurant called Chirimoya and it turned out to be a great choice. All of our meals were incredible and their fresh juices were to die for! Manu and I liked it so much we went back another day for a second meal. Speaking of food (as I always do)— Holy Empanada! These scrumptious little pastries are sooo good in Salta; these guys are the champions of this delicacy. Make sure to visit El Patio de Las Empanadas for some authentic tastes of the region.
I might have been a bit jaded after leaving San Pedro so abruptly and I have to admit that I was not super impressed with Salta. However, there were a few things I really liked about it. The green spaces and plazas are beautiful and inviting. The buildings around the main square Plaza 9 de Julio are gorgeously preserved and transport you back in time. Taking a stroll in the many parks near the bus station is a nice way to pass the afternoon once the sun has begun to set. Do not miss visiting Cerro San Bernardo by cable car. The cool air at the top is refreshing and the views of the entire city are worth the trip.
The Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM) in town is amazing and it is here that you can view the impeccably preserved mummified children found in the Llullaillaco volcano. The mummies are displayed one at a time as they are rotated every six months. Fascinating Inca artifacts are also displayed in the exhibit. For a different experience visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is small but when we were there they had an interesting and entertaining exhibit on Lucha Libre fighters.
Cordoba was a bit more my style. The city had excellent museums, cool sculpture gardens, lovely plazas, unique crafts and good beer. The city was quite vast but many parts were pleasant enough for just strolling around. Manu and I grabbed a map at a local tour agency and just visited some of the main sites on foot for free!
We started at the main plaza San Martin and made our way around town. The plaza was charming and was surrounded by both modern and classic architecture. The cathedral near the plaza (Iglesia Catedral de Cordoba) is definitely worth a peak. On our walk we stumbled upon some cute shops/restaurants in Barrio Gümes where we stopped for a refreshing beer. We then visited Paseo de las Artes nearby where talented local artists were exhibiting their crafts and delicious goodies.
The next day we visited the Bellas Artes museum which showcased some great works that were housed in a cool building. While walking through this area we came across some sculptures in the park and Cordoba’s Cultural Center building. The upper layer of the building is interestingly swooped giving way to a public plaza and an unofficial “gigantic slide” which we absolutely had to try out.
We then made our way to Paseo del Buen Pastor, a former prison converted into a sort of plaza chock-full of restaurants and shops. The place is relaxing and great for people watching. For good craft beer we visited Antares nearby. They had a good variety of brews and nice food pairings to go with them.