Santa Victoria Oeste
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Calm and peaceful, the northeast corner of the province of Salta holds a basically unheard of village, Santa Victoria Oeste. The villagers are friendly and welcome outsiders with open arms, the few that come by, that is.
The town of Santa Victoria Oeste is untouched, a perfect embodiment of the tranquility of a small valley community. Everyone knows everyone else, and life is a relaxed daily bustle.
Part of this community’s charm, and the reason it is so largely untouched, is due to its difficult accessibility. But all good things must be worked for, and this charming town promises to reward your travels.
Within the town is a lovely church dedicated to the local patron, schools, as well as a gendarmerie post. The National Institute of Agricultural Technology (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria) is also set up there, which, in turn, means beautiful gardens await.
What makes this town so remarkable, however, is its location within the landscape. The profound highlands meet the lush, fertile valley, in which the village is gently nestled. For anyone who’s ever searched for a true getaway, a place to hide out and relax among breathtaking scenery, this is for you. Spend the day exploring the nuances of the town, or out in the valley, known locally as the Valley of Silence. For more information about the different lifestyles throughout Argentina, see this Argentina Travel Guide.
As the village has little communication with the outside world, their culture is strongly developed and celebrated. Due to the geographic location, they also have strong cultural ties with the high Peruvian zone. The important holidays are the religious ones, including the 25th of July, when the local patron Saint Santiago Apostol is celebrated, as well as the 17th of November, the day of the Patron Virgin of Saint Victoria. During those times, a mix of pre-hispanic pagan traditions can been seen mixed with Christian ones. Other holidays, mostly religious, are celebrated throughout the year, as well.
It is considered one of the most beautiful areas of the Salta valleys, and the attitude of its people make it even more lovely. As they are friendly to visitors, they may also be open to sharing their town’s history with anyone interested.
The best time to go is during autumn or spring. From December to March, heavy rains and hail may render the roads completely impassable. The town can be reached from Jujuy or from Bolivia. There are many other places to go once you’ve reached the town, some of which you can travel to by truck, others may require a donkey.
To reach the town, you will need a truck, as the main road in is 109 kilometers of gravel, from Yavi. It is advisable to stop in La Quiaca, where you will be able to fuel up and buy food for the last time before hitting the village. It’s a trek, but it’s worth every kilometer.