South America Living

Salta, Argentina – Cheap Place To Live In South America

Feeding the Pigeons at Plaza 9 de Julio

Salta is heavy on the Argentina to Bolivia tourist circuit and a great place to touch down for a year or so as well.

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If you like city life with a small town feel, you will love Salta. Parks and plazas weave throughout the town with numerous shops, restaurants and ways to get yourself into trouble i.e. things to do 🙂

Popular Tourist Attractions in and around Salta

  • Ride the Gondola to the top of San Bernardo Mountain (called El Teleférico).
  • Sunday artist’s street market (Balcarce street) to hobnob with local artists and check out their work.
  • Visit nearby traditional village San Lorenzo (10 minutes by taxi).
  • Visit the Quebrada de Humahuaca (5 hours by bus).
  • Learn about mummies at the Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montana.
  • Enjoy an evening listening to folkloric music and Peña entertainment (live shows on Balcarce street).

Last but not least (though very expensive) is the most known tourist attraction in Salta – The Train to the Clouds. For more information about this 15 hour adventure traversing 29 bridges, 21 tunnels, 13 viaducts, 2 spirals, and 2 zigzags… visit the Train to the Clouds website.

Salta has a cosmopolitan feel though not the corresponding ramped-up prices such as in capital city Buenos Aires. Even high-end restaurants lining the main plaza – Plaza 9 de Julio – offer regular specials and set meals i.e. “menu del dia“. On offer one day was 13 empanadas (large with chicken) plus a litre of beer or soda for only 22 pesos ($5.40 USD). The video below is of a short walk around Plaza 9 de Julio.

Smaller, local establishments in less touristy areas have daily set menus for 11-18 pesos ($2.70-$4.40 USD) that include soup or salad, main dish (meatloaf, roasted chicken), bread and dessert (cup of jello or other).

The Super Vea is the main supermarket in town, with a wide selection of products and imported goods. To see a list of items with prices and to take a quick video tour of the store, click here: Shopping at the Super Vea in Salta

There is an actual ‘shopping’ (shopping mall in English) in Salta with a McDonald’s and various shops – yet mainly pricey items. Street shopping (rows and rows of shops) is the best way to find a bargain.   Photos & Video – Shopping in Salta

Your biggest hurdle in moving to Salta will be to find an inexpensive rental. There are apartments to be had for $250 USD per month but you will need to search in outlying areas and visit Inmobiliarias (real estate offices) for available options. Renting an Apartment or House in Argentina


  • Local, ‘small town’ feel yet a mid-sized city with plenty to see and do. International tourists pass through regularily offering more character & folks to interact with.
  • Proximity to Chile & Bolivia, easy to update your Tourist Visa every three months.
  • Many options for shopping and eating out cheaply, especially the ‘menu del dia’ set meal option at lunchtime.


  • Due to its popularity, apartments in central areas are going to be cost-prohibitive on a $800 USD per month budget. You will have to look in outlying areas for low-cost rentals.
  • Winters are mild (19 degrees C / 66 F on average) but summertime (December to March) brings heavy rains and frequent thunderstorms.

Interactive Map of Salta

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Photograph by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.

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