Salinas Grandes, a white desert in Argentina


In the province of Jujuy, in northern Argentina near the Jama border crossing with Chile, they are the Salinas Grandes.
Argentina, vast territory and beauty, has several of those places you always want to come back, one of them is the Province of Jujuy and Salinas Grandes wonderful. The effects which nature before the eyes of strange unpredictable, as in the Salinas Grandes in the province of Jujuy, near the Jama border crossing that connects to Chile.

The name “great” is because it is the third largest salt flat in South America with more than 12 thousand hectares opencast extension. One of the white areas that can be found in Argentina and a robust texture hardness be necessary to appreciate closely to understand.

Located about 190 kilometers from the provincial capital, Salinas Grandes capture the attention of visitors of all ages and awaken creativity by having camera in hand. An immense totally depopulated depression becomes even more attractive if it rained a few hours before. Where only live artisans working salt and offer objects delicately carved with picks and axes.

While access is relatively easy, winding up costs and to over 4,100 meters, there are also numerous agencies offering the course in Jujuy also in the neighboring province of Salta. If so particular, it is important enough fuel load, bring food, although in the area there is a restaurant, sunglasses to protect the eyes and light to dabble in this real show shoes.

Ancestral territory

The origin of the Salinas Grandes, barely smaller to Uyuni in Bolivia and Arizaro in Salta, dating back to between 5 and 10 million years, when the basin was covered full of water from a volcano. The gradual evaporation of the liquid and its components, is what gave posteriorly this salar having a crust whose average thickness is 30 centimeters and withstands the weight of vehicles to medium trucks.

According to scientists, it is a chemical-evaporite sediment which in turn is divided into three zones: the polygonal saline, saline efflorescence and silty. Who will explain the secrets of extraction and industrialization processes are the same workers who remain in place and welcome visitors with all kindness.

At first glance, everything looks the same. But each area was sectioned at arbitrary hexagons that extend to the side of National Route 52 which is accessed and acts as the only alteration. The silence is almost complete and every step to advance crisp sound to the ears.

Colorful tour

North of the country offers tourists countless destinations of great beauty, and around the Great Salt mines are also to highlight:

Despite high of its altitude, they officiate as a basis of a closed basin that continues north in the Lagunas de Guayatayoc.
Southeast of Chañi the picturesque mountains and ancient villages that make up the Quebrada de Humahuaca. During the journey up you can even make brief stops in Yala where you can camp, Lion of just 500 inhabitants, Volcano with its deposits of lime, Tumbuaya the banks of the Rio Grande in whose church images and pieces of jewelry of colonial Cuzco are preserved and Purmamarca, when the first cardones will be.
Then the curve result in the Cuesta de Lipan, crossing villages like Quisquira, Patacal and La Cienaga, until the Abra de Potrerillos.
Once back the backdrop will be the polychromatic Cerro de los Siete Colores, with green and gray, pink, yellow, purple, white, corresponding to different minerals. Unique in the country, which make exciting photo safaris, hiking, horseback riding and even bike rides.
To the west, it will go through a path surrounded by large poplars and willows. And it is even possible to take a few kilometers from the famous RN 40 leading to San Antonio de los Cobres and Abra Pampa.

How to get.

To reach the Salinas Grandes La Quiaca, Humahuaca, Tilcara and San Salvador de Jujuy roads are RN 9 until the crossing of Purmamarca, then the RN 52 by the Cuesta de Lipan to Abra de Potrerillo.
The road to reach the salt is relatively simple, ascending to 1,400 meters above sea level. You can make a hiring her visit to an agency both in the city of Jujuy and Salta (capital of the neighboring province of Salta), or on your own.

If you choose the latter option, you must keep in mind that it is an isolated area with very few populations. We advise you to carry enough fuel and food (although in the area there is a restaurant), sunglasses to protect the eyes and light shoes.

In the Salinas Grandes you will receive their workers, who will then give you all the details with the typical kindness and smiles of the locals. The broken soil (saline polygonal) runs along the path to the Salinas (the RN52 that goes up to the Abra de Potrerillo).

Salinas Grandes are the basis of a closed basin that continues north in the Laguna de Guayatayoc, strongly salty and alcalínica. This gap is almost attached to the salt mines and is the natural habitat of a large colony of pink flamingos. The Salinas are separate from the Quebrada de Humahuaca in the mountains of Chañi (where Andean people have settled since time immemorial). To the north, its boundaries are blurred to venture into the desert lands of the Puna.

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