If you are planning a trip to this wonderland, then you should definitely visit one of the greatest natural phenomena — Salinas Grandes in northern Argentina. Located at an altitude of 170 m above sea level at the foot of the Sierras de Córdoba mountain range, the salt fields cover 12,000 hectares.
Tourism potential of Salinas Grandes
Salinas Grandes is something you will never forget as it is the third largest plateau in the world. From a distance, the salt flats look like a huge frozen lake. However, there is no snow here — instead, there is natural self-healing salt up to 1.5 m thick. Long ago, this area was an ancient lake. On a sunny day, the dazzling contrast between the blue sky and the endless field of white is breathtaking. If you want to take in this magical landscape without hurting your eyes, then you should definitely grab a trusty pair of sunglasses. Sunscreen and a couple of bottles of water are also recommended when visiting this amazing natural wonder.
Although the area is privately owned by mining companies, they are willing to allow tourists to roam Salinas Grandes completely free of charge. Visitors can watch and learn about the mining process of the mineral salt and buy some bags as souvenirs. Salt extraction methods in Argentina have traditionally been unchanged for decades. First, a rectangular bar is cut with an ax. The salt is then removed and piled next to the ditch and filled with water. Since the sun shines almost all year round, the water evaporates within six weeks.
To add more salt to your visit, you can dine at the open-air salt restaurant “Restaurant de Sal” overlooking the road towards Chile. The immensity of the salt flats offer excellent photo opportunities. You can get amazing results by playing with the visual perspective as well as the combination of white and blue. In terms of size, Salinas Grandes can only be inferior to the famous Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia.
How to get to Salinas Grandes
To reach this secluded area of Salinas Grandes, it takes about 200 km of travel along routes 9 and 52. The route passes some picturesque villages such as Yala, Tumbaya and Purmamarca. There are no bus tours here, so you can either book a private tour or rent a car. Public transport in the area is quite limited. The salt fields are stunning sights that should not be overlooked if you happen to be in Argentina.