The Salinas Grandes in Jujuy and Salta, Argentina, are a small salar or salt desert located on the high plateau of the provinces of Jujuy and Salta. The salar extends in fact to the southwest of the ‘Laguna de Guayatayoc’. It is an expanse area of salt in the form of hard crust, with a thickness of 30 centimetres. You can drive by car on its surface. It is dazzling whiteness, and almost always forms with the blue sky, a landscape of stunning beauty. A nice asphalt road leads directly onto 190 kilometers departing from San Salvador de Jujuy (national road 52). This road (Paso de Jama to Chile) passes through Purmamarca. It takes two hours in total. The Salinas Grandes is located at the small town of Abra de Potrerillo. It is the third salar in importance in South America. Their origin dates back to about 5-10 million years when the place had been covered completely by waters of a volcano. The evaporation of the liquid and its components through the time formed the salar.
You can visit the Salinas Grandes by yourself or through a local tourism operator. You will find tours departing from the cities of Jujuy and Salta and they generally make a stop to visit Purmamarca and see the ‘Cerro de siete colores’ (mountain of the seven colors) and to take advantage of its market of craft products.
If you decide to go by yourself by car, remember that it is an isolated area with very little villages on the way so have your tank full and carry water and food. Once there, you will find a restaurant.
Don’t forget to bring sunglasses to protect your eyes from so much brightness. Comfortable shoes are recommended.
If you go by yourself, you will have the explanation from the workers working on the spot. They are very friendly and welcoming as all the people of the region.
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