When you think about the Argentine Northwest, you think of its landscapes. This region allows the visitor to enjoy a wide range of environments: colorful mountains, both super dry and wet areas, deserts, jungles and forest. One of the most curious place to visit are the salt flats. These enormous white patches of land consist mainly, of course, of salt and other different minerals.
With over 12000 hectares, Salinas Grandes are one of the biggest salt flats in the region that is also well known for those in Uyuni (Bolivia) and Arizaro (also in Salta). This heaven-like place is shared by Salta and Jujuy provinces and is easily accessible from all the main cities along the Quebrada de Humahuaca and even from the high-altitude desert known as Puna.
Every year, thousands of visitors come to Salinas Grandes to enjoy the view from this white desert and take some funny pictures as if they were floating in a sea of clouds.
If you have your own car (or you rent one), this point can be reached from the town of Purmamarca, in Jujuy. Just follow the road that eventually takes you to Chile through Jama. The Cuesta de Lipán takes you up to over 4000 meters above sea level after around a hundred curves while you enjoy an amazing view surrounded by huge mountains. After crossing the highest point in the road, you will have a first look of the salt flats in front of you, a sea of white in the middle of the high-altitude desert. The horizon looks as if someone just placed hundreds of mountains over a white piece of paper and is ideal for taking creative pictures jumping and posing between the clear blue sky and the shining floor.
If you don’t have your own car, however, arriving in this place proves more difficult, yet not impossible. You will find plenty of taxis in Purmamarca waiting for four people to fill the car and leave for the Salinas, a not so expensive alternative with the bonus of the driver/guide giving you all the valuable extra information and tips to take the best pictures. Hitchhiking is always a good option, too! You can wait for cars before the Cuesta begins, in front of a camping site at the very limit of Purmamarca.
If you are staying in Salta, a great alternative is taking the Puna and Salinas tour. This full day activity departs from the city towards San Antonio de los Cobres, visiting old ruins and little towns along the railroads of the Train to the Clouds. After eating lunch at this 4000 meters above sea level mining town, the van crosses a desert where you can enjoy learning about local plants and animals before reaching the salt flats. Once you’ve taken all the pictures and learned about the Salinas, the tour continues with a quick stop in Purmamarca before returning to Salta.
Come discover one of the most interesting and curious environments of the Argentine Northwest and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve already been here!