It's not just "Salta" to most Argentineans, but "Salta la Linda" ("Salta the Beautiful"). That nickname is actually redundant: "Salta" already comes from an indigenous Aymara word meaning "beautiful." But for the country's finest colonial city, it's worth stating twice. Walking among its well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings, single-story houses, and narrow streets, you could easily forget that this is a city
of more than half a million people. But the ever-increasing traffic, the youthful population, and the growing number of international itinerants also give Salta a cosmopolitan edge. All in all, it's a hard place to leave. For its friendliness, its facilities, its connections, and its central location, Salta is also the best base for a thorough exploration of the Northwest. Do make good use of the tourist office, which has a helpful staff armed with a wealth of maps and information.