Salta – Far Northern Argentina

With the terrain outside the bus window slowly fading from endless green pasture to the first curves of the taunting Andean mountains I realised my visit to Argentina, land of beef – sleepness people – the swirling tango – political chaos- was coming to end. The last Argentine city to visit – Salta.

Located in the far North of Argentina means the people of Salta (which means ‘jump’ in Spanish) start to show the ethnic mix expected of South American countries. The streets, are indeed, populated with darker skinned less Mediterranean locals but I didn’t feel any great difference in the social culture. The food, dress, interaction, style of car, driving standard and general ambiance resembled the other parts of Argentina I had seen.

Arriving early in the morning, I spent the day in the local hills trekking through bush and got to know Derek Jackson – a fellow backpacker who I shared the road with for the next week. I forgot to bring my camera the next day during the climb to the summit of the tourist peak – it was here that I first noticed the effects of being at altitude (1152 meters).

My travels through Argentina had not been thorough. Being the 8th largest landmass in the world, most backpackers spend literally hundreds of bus hours soaking in the different sights. From the wine country in Mendoza, to the frigid city of Ushuaia in the very deep south. I had only visited three of these cities but a urge was insisting that I head north, to Bolivia, the Andes, the third world and the start of the pre-Columbian history of South America.