Archive | November 2011

Budget accommodation in Salta

We’re coming near to the end of our week on travel in Salta, but there’s one more piece of advice: budget accommodation in Salta. There are several good hostels in the city, and a strong Couchsurfing community as well.

My splurge suggestion would be the Bloomers Salta B&B. After that, check out these hostels in Salta for more ideas.

 

Also see:

  • Viajes » Salta la Linda – El tiempo de viaje desde la terminal de Retiro a Salta es de 18 Hs,sin paradas,
  • Buenos Aires hotel Contest – Buenos Aires Daily – To find out how to win a stay at BA’s finest boutique hotels, follow the link: Buenos
  • Famous destinations in argentina « Skate Boarding Argentina – There are many awesome tourist places for the people who want to enjoy the scenic values and beautiful places. There are various cities and tourist destination in Argentina to explore and know about it. Some of the famous destinations in Argentina are Buenos Aires, Pampas, Patagonia, Mendoza, Talampaya, Tiera del Fuego, Iguazu waterfalls, Cordoba and many more worth watching places.

Travel, and a Salta travel guide

One of the most favorite pastimes of people is traveling. There is local traveling as well as international traveling. However, the majority of tourists seem to international travels more satisfying that local travels. For example, millions of international travelers visit Salta annually. Those who use Salta travel guide find it more interesting than the others.

Some people make it a habit of going on tours every year. They have their reasons for it, though; a few of them are common. People love to experience different cultures, weather and all the different activities not found in their native land. Those who come to Salta should expect to go back with similar and greater experiences.

One of the most annoying things on a tour is going to a place and missing out on the great features. This is something that can only happen to you if you do not have a guide. For example, in this city, you do not want to miss the Parque San Martin, the Salta cathedral or the MAC.

One of the things you should determine before going to any place is how you will be moving around. You should know the safest, cheapest and most convenient modes of traveling. These factors do not always coincide, and you will need one at any time or the other. This is another advantage of using a guide; you get to know all the facts pertaining to travelling.

Whether it is art, culture, weather or animals taking you to South America, and on to Argentina, you do not want to miss out on a taste of city life. Compared to most cities in the world, Salta has a relatively slow pace of life. The usual hustle and bustle that annoys so many people all over the world is lacking. In fact, this area has a peace and tranquility that you can only experience if you visit it.

Even if the temperature is high, you can easily escape it. There are lots of green places within the city just for those times when the heat is too high. Many people rest in these places as they wait for the temperature to drop. This is something the planners of the city envisioned and executed a long time ago.

Do not be fooled, though, this city is big. Those who have made the mistake of ignoring Salta travel guide almost always regret it. In fact, you will not have a peace of mind if you are always afraid of missing out on something you wanted to see.

Getting around Salta

Transport in Salta is convenient and fairly priced, but make sure you have small change for almost everything!

Bus

Most bus journeys cost ARS$1.75, but the system requires you to have that in coins — and coins are hard to come by in Argentina, with many shops offering you a few sweets instead of change. Walk past the driver and drop your coins in the machine behind him before taking your printed ticket.

BTS – Tourist bus

There are a fleet of open-topped tourist busses that circle the main sights in Salta. Buy a daily ticket to take advantage of this route, and do all your sightseeing at once. At either ARS$40 or $50 per day pass, local transport is much cheaper (call it 10 rides at ARS$1.75 each), but you do have the advantage of a clearly signed bus.

Taxi

Taxi drivers in Salta are not know for ripping off tourists, so you can relax more than in many other South American cities. However, always hail a marked radiotaxi and ensure the meter is running.

Car

Traffic seldom reaches extreme levels of congestion, but there are a few points that get jammed up during the day, especially around the centre of town. When driving in Salta, be careful at uncontrolled intersections and keep your eyes and ears open for other road users — needless to say, busses give themselves right of way at all times.

Salta travel guide

Salta is one of the largest cities in northern Argentina, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way as you wander the streets and colonial squares that make up the central city. In fact, all those green spaces provide plenty of spots to wait out the heat of the sun before heading back into your day.

Salteños are passionate about their unique northern identity, and about their prowess at creating staples of the Argentine diet: empanadas, milanesas and medialunas. Our extensive testing can’t prove them wrong 🙂

The easiest way to orientate yourself is to base your directions on the reasonably central Plaza 9 de Julio. From here Mitre runs north, with Balcarce one block over; Alberti and Buenso Aires run south parallel to Florida; and Espana and Caseros run west to east. These streets are likely to pop up on most directions you get!

 

Art

Salta has a growing art community, showcased by vibrant and ever-changing exhibitions at MAC in Plaza 9 de Julio — make sure you don’t miss the upstairs. The Museo de Bellas Artes also has great permanent exhibitions and a good variety of temporary exhibitions.

For more see this Salta travel guide.

6 Things to do in Salta, Argentina

Although small, there are plenty of things to do in Salta for those passing through. If you need a week’s break in your travel schedule, there’s nowhere prettier nearby — and if you want a week combining cultural sightseeing with outdoors adventure, you’re in luck as well.

1. Teleferico to Cerro San Bernardo

Salta’s teleferico, or cable car, starts and ends each journey in beautiful dd style buildings. At the top, you are welcomed by a lush garden, some catholic statues, and views out over Salta and down the valley.. The spring that starts up here is funneled through a rockery-like series of waterfalls: the sound of rushing water follows you around the summit.

2. Parque San Martin

At the base of the cablecar is Parque San Martin — a large park with plenty of walkways through the grass and small cabinas selling everything from a cold drink to hard-to-find books.

3. Mercado San Martin

This covered market is the ultimate people-watching spot, and a great place to pick up your fresh veges, goats cheese, and meat that comes straight from the butcher. Don’t just rummage around the few trinket shops: get your groceries, grab a beer and a slice of pizza amongst the noisy crush, and watch some Salteños go by. It’s not as glamorous as the cafes around Plaza 9 de Julio, but it’s a lot more fun.

4. Shopping Alto Noa

Salta’s only Shopping (which has become the Spanish word for shopping center or mall), is located at the end of Calle Entre Rios. It’s a place to hide on a rainy day, find ground coffee without pre-mixed sugar, or spend up big on American labels and a smattering of Argentine options.

5. Weekend markets

Markets are held each Saturday and Sunday, with many of the same vendors attending both. Saturday’s are held in Parque Guemes, Sunday’s on Balcarce — near all the nightclubs and restaurants by the train station.

6. Plaza 9 de Julio / Plaza Ninth of July

Nueva de Julio is the heart of Salta, there’s plenty of people around during the day, but it is packed out in the cool of the evening. And that’s a great time to be there during summer — enjoying the buzzing atmosphere and the cool breeze.

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants surrounding the square, with inflated prices to match. Food prices aren’t horrendous, although the most budget of travellers will want to walk back a block or two, but you won’t be gouged for a coffee or quiet beer … which is definitely a pleasant surprise for a prime tourist spot.

Central fountain of 9 de Julio

Click here for more of the best things to do in Salta.

Salta travel week!

The little town of “Salta la Linda” in north-west Argentina is well worth a visit. We’re so excited about it that declare this week as Salta travel week!

Over the next few days we’ll be looking at

Looking forward to it! You might also want to read these articles:

  • Moving to Buenos Aires: Living Alone « exnat – For the first 18 years of my life I lived with my parents. After that I left for college and for the next 8 years I mostly with friends and, every odd summer or so, with my parents. When I came to Buenos Aires I lived with my friends …

  • Salta | itstoughforme – From Mendoza we got a 16 hour bus to Salta in north west Argentina. I´m not sure about it being one Argentina’s most beautiful cities but it´s definitely got a more Spanish vibe to Mendoza and Buenos Aires and is very nice to …

  • Bolivia and Argentina launch GNA pipeline tenders « South … – One matter about large-scale energy projects in Latin America is that they take a long time to accomplish. Even so, the governments of Bolivia and Argentina are moving full speed ahead with the construction of the 1500km …

  • Mummy of an Ancient Inca Girl by Back To Wild – The mummy of an ancient Inca girl called La Doncella or The Maiden sits literally frozen in sleep at a museum in Argentina.It is mummy of a teenage girl who died more than 500 years ago in a ritual sacrifice in the Andes …

Solo Travel in Sucre, Bolivia

Sucre BoliviaAfter La Paz, the next destination on my South American trip was Sucre, a 12-hour overnight bus ride from the capital of Bolivia — which I wasn’t looking forward to. From the bus trip I learnt a few unpleasant things about Bolivian public transport:

The bus was only scheduled to stop once on that 12-hour ride, and the buses were not the kind of long-haul buses that are equipped with toilets. I was advised to stop drinking water a few hours before departure and not to have any during the trip, as the bus drivers normally turn a deaf ear to anyone’s requests to stop.

When it did stop that one time, it was at a dodgy roadside ‘restaurant’ whose toilets were slightly more tolerable than a hole in the ground. Tip: take hand sanitiser with you everywhere, and avoid buying food from the places where the bus stops.

Plus, I thought it was pretty unsafe for the driver to keep driving for six hours straight without resting.

Note #1: Cheap as it was, Bolivian public transport was very insecure and uncomfortable, and I won’t recommend it to anyone. Next time I would rather pay slightly more for a private car to share with other travellers, if the opportunity arises. (See: Is Bolivia safe?)

However, once I got to Sucre, I forgot about the bus ride from hell. It was morning on arrival, and breakfast was on my mind. If you are a solo female traveller, you may find yourself enjoying the following, as I did.

Read more about solo female travel in Sucre, Bolivia.

Comprehensive travel insurance

Today comprehensive travel insurance may be a good idea to protect against the unforeseen. This may include coverage in case of a medical emergency, an accident and other unforeseen incidents when you on vacation or traveling abroad. Coverage can be found online where you may get coverage right before you depart. As like anything else it’s a good idea to make you have the right coverage for where you’re going, so preparation is key.

Travelling Fun Fair
cc. by Dominic on Flickr

Why it may be a good choice to buy coverage for your next trip? Well, since you can never plan on everything it can be wise to plan ahead and protect yourself in the event something does happen. This might include just seeing a Doctor or getting emergency help, it always good to be prepared.

What cheap comprehensive travel insurance can cover? This type of coverage covers such things as: medical emergencies, sporting events, hiking trips, reimbursement, delays and more. It even can be for lost luggage at the air port or even when a flight is delayed or canceled.

One thing to do before you go is to check on your destination. Basically, it might be a country you are going to that requires certain travel coverage for those that come from your country. Usually this is easy to find out from the insurer when you buy a policy.

Cheap comprehensive coverage can give you the protection you might need whenever you are traveling. It might be a long hike during the weekend or a long trip to Europe for the summer. Coverage gives the insured protection from incurring a financial loss due to a medical emergency, delay, cancellation or other unforeseen events. You can get a short term policy or long term policy from your local insurance agent or through a search online. This way you have something less to worry about when you’re not at home.

Kindle for travel

I never wanted a Kindle. I mean, it looked like a great gadget but I struggled to see how it might fit into my life. I love reading (and gadgets), but since the rise of the internet, I’ve found less and less time to get absorbed in a book. I think my friends know me better than I do, because for my most-recent birthday, they clubbed together and got me one. Now I spend an hour or more a day devouring books just like I did as a teenager.

Delivery took a little longer than expected, so first they presented me with this, which I’ll call the Mark One; a week or so later the updated version arrived, which Amazon are now calling the Kindle Keyboard 3G.

Advantages of the Kindle Keyboard 3G over the Kindle Mark One

  • It’s much, much thinner – easily slotting into the front of my backpack or my jacket’s breast pocket.
  • It’s able to access wifi or free 3G in order to shop and download books.
  • I can use that wifi or free 3G to check email or search for accommodation — which has come in handy at more than one bus station around South America.
  • It’s much easier to change pages and books: I can do it with a press of a button, rather than with glue and scissors.
  • I can carry over 2,000 books and it weighs the same. To achieve the same thing with the Mark One means hiring a sherpa.
  • Books are generally cheaper than their paperback counterparts; especially when comparing the ridiculous prices of books in Australia/New Zealand.
  • There’s a huge selection of books available, in English and Spanish, in any country I visit… no more searching for an English-language bookshop.

Advantages of the Kindle Mark One over the Kindle Keyboard 3G

  • A full-colour screen, rather than the greyscale Kindle Keyboard 3G
  • Special Kindle Kindling technology (one-time use only). Possibly a precursor to the Kindle Fire, which is going to be released later this year.
  • I have to charge the Kindle Keyboard 3G every three weeks or so. I never had to charge my Mark One.
  • No DRM or copy protection.
  • More rugged and durable, but you sacrifice on size and weight.

Kindle for travel

After a few weeks of use at home in New Zealand, I’ve been using the Kindle 3 “on the road” for two months. It’s been a fantastic companion through ArgentinaBrazil,Uruguay and Paraguay — not only is it lighter than paperbacks (I used to carry two or three in my backpack at all times), but the way of reading has dramatically changed.

If carrying a paperback, I tend to try and save it for when I’m really bored, but with the Kindle I can read to my heart’s content knowing there are more $0.99 cent books just around the corner — or articles and PDFs that I’ve downloaded online and sent to my Kindle. There’s no need to leave books until you find a book exchange.

On week two in Brazil we were staying with a family that spoke little Spanish and no English. We could jump straight on the 3G connection and download a Portuguese phrasebook while in their living room — making basic communication so much easier!

We often arrive in a town with no plans, trusting in the local tourist information office or a swarm of touts to help us get started. Sometimes that just doesn’t work out, so we can use the free 3G to connect to the internet and check our hostel search tool to find a place to stay.

Thoughts on the new Kindle family

Soon three new styles of Kindle are going to be released. I’m sure they’re going to have advantages but apart from a small speed bump, I think the Kindle 3 does its core job — selling and displaying books — really well.

The $79 Kindle lacks a keyboard or a touchscreen. I really wouldn’t want to be doing a lot of searches or trying to pen a basic email using the joystick to move around. (See the specs for Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6″ )

The Kindle touch looks great, and is likely to be the second Kindle in our family. I’d be concerned about what would happen if it accidentally gets unlocked in my backpack, would I end up buying dozens of books as it’s moved around? I’m also not sure about the screen technology — will it need more protection than the current model? (More on the Kindle Touch 3G)

Originally published as “Kindle for travel” on the Indie Travel Podcast.

Volunteer in Salta, Argentina

Here’s your chance to volunteer in Salta, Argentina with Cloudhead

Founded by Leigh Shulman, our interviewee, and her husband Noah Edelblum, Cloudhead is an art and education foundation based in Salta, Argentina.

Wichi community at Hickman - cute kidCurrently Cloudhead is running Wichi water – providing Wichi children in a poor village with digital cameras, then investing the profits of photo sales into developing sustainable gardens and food sources within the village.

They’re working with a local high school, where at-risk students are developing skills in social media, photography, film, and peer leadership.

They house artists and bloggers in their ‘art house’ in San Lorenzo, Salta – developing exhibitions for resident and local artists, with some of the proceeds going back into the foundation.

Everything they do, Leigh shares, is designed to give a small local community access to the global community; or to introduce the global community to a local one. By connecting the right people, they’re beginning to make a difference in Salta.

Salta, Argentina

Leigh also talks about her family’s travels around the world, as they searched for a new place to live. After a stop in Panama, they decide they had to move again and try to find a new place to settle.

Around SaltaThe region is reputed to have the best empanadas in the world, and some of the finest milanesas. It has excellent wine, sourced from the Cafayate wine region just to the south. There’s a lovely colonial town centre, a growing modern arts scene, plus rafting and famed mountain climbing for the adventurous. All in all, it’s a place to add to your South America itinerary.

Originally published at Volunteer in Argentina