2011-07-29

Salinas Grandes

Written by Mei
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When you mention salt flats, the first place to spring to mind tends to be Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the world's biggest and most well known salt flats. But on our hectic journey up north through the region of Quebrada de Humahuaca, mysef and three other volunteers from Voluntario Global decided to head to Salinas Grandes instead, the lesser mentioned but equally awe-inspiring salt flats of Argentina. Salinas Grandes are the largest salt flats in the country, covering an area of 8,290 square kilometres. A salt flat, or dry lake, is formed when all the water in it (usually freshwater) evaporates, leaving behind a dry and rough surface covered with precipitated salts. Over 10 million years old, Salinas Grandes is a salt desert in the Cordoba and Santiago del Esero provinces of the Sierras de Cordoba. Even the drive there was spectacular.  

Zig zagging your way up through the mountains, the remis driver that we hired from Pumamarca pulled over for plenty of photo opportunities (whilst handing out generous amounts of coca leaves for altitude sickness).  Here at Salinas Grandes, salt is mined from neatly cut rectangular pools of turquoise water in the ground.  Salt artisans set up their stalls in the flats' “main square”, selling handmade llamas, houses and cacti all carved from salt. So, what exactly does one do with a blank canvas of sweeping white expanse and an overarching banner of blue sky? You start taking photos of course  Then you think, what else can we do?  Then you get the driver to take photos of you  If you have the chance to, I´d definitely recommend making your way up to Salinas Grandes for a day of spectacular scenery, incredible moments and shameless mugging for the cameras. You won't regret it!

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