When we were in Salta we took two tours: one of the city and environs and one to the wine producing area of Cafayate. On both occasions we were picked up and dropped off at our hotel.
The city tour started at 1600 and lasted about four hours. We did the usual downtown sites and then drove up to the top of Cerro San Bernardo for a bird's eye view of the city 1000' below the peak. There is also a teleférico that whisks you to the top or you can climb the 1000+ steps--the mini bus was the easier and faster way!
We then proceeded west of the city to the posh suburb of San Lorenzo situated at a higher elevation than the city thus making it a bit cooler in the summer heat.
The next day we left the hotel about 0700 for the 250 mile round trip to Cafayate. The RN 68 was a very scenic highway through the Rio de las Conchas gorge (Quebrada de Cafayate). There were several places where the road had been washed away in past flooding and new (dirt) temporary roadways appeared to be morphing into the new permanent route. The rock formations and colors in them make this a very interesting ride; we made several photo stops and and visited some of the more interesting rock formations.
Cafayate is the second largest wine producing area of Argentina (Mendoza leads the way) and the Vasija Secreta Winery was our stop for some wine tasting before lunch. The Torrontés grape is king here and produces a very nice white wine.
After the tasting we were ready for lunch; a nice restaurant on the square made for a relaxing meal. We were visited by a cute little dog as we were dining al fresco........can you say corgi-terrier mix? After lunch we found a heladeria for dessert; the peach sorbet was "ok", but the vino flavored sorbet tasted like watered down frozen wine--we agreed it was horrible and trashed it!
It was very quiet in the bus for the long ride back up the river valley; the late lunch, heat, and early departure had most of us dozing our way back to Salta.
Next stop: Cordoba, the second largest city in Argentina and home to several universities, museums, and many interesting churches and other religious buildings.