Following on from my Salta post, the morning after our free day in the city, a private driver/guide picked us up early in the morning to take a trip to the Humahuaca Valley, taking in the small town of Purmamarca and the Salinas Grandes salt flats.
It was a very long day but worth it because the scenery was so stunning and dramatic. We drove through numerous different landscapes and ecosystems: from rainforest to high altitude mountain plains to the large flat expanse of the salt flats.
Just before lunch time we reached Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors), named for its different colours due to the minerals in the rock. It’s really really pretty.
Purmamarca is the little village that sits under it. We arrived there just before lunch and had some time to walk around.
There was lots of handicrafts for sale. Lots and lots of handicrafts that were all quite inexpensive. We bought some small pottery dishes and some food to have for lunch at the salt flats and continued our journey.
The car kept climbing towards the salt flats until we were above the clouds – and then finally it came into view.
These salt flats aren’t as large as the ones in Bolivia, but since we haven’t seen those ones yet, Salinas Grandes was rather impressive. Sitting at 3350m above sea level, it covers an area of 6,000 km2.
It hadn’t rained in quite a while, so the top layer of salt was discoloured by dust. From a distance it looked white but up close you could see how brown it was. Even so, it was still visually amazing – it’s so vast and seemingly endless.
These troughs are dug to collect the salt – they also heap it into mounds for collection but I really liked the way the troughs looked.
We stayed out at the flats for about an hour – taking silly photos, eating lunch by the truck – and because of how reflective the salt was, got far too much sun in that time, despite the amount of sunscreen we slathered on.
That night we didn’t want to eat steak again, so went to a restaurant around the corner from our hotel – Restaurant del Hotel Almeria Don Salvador.
Remembering that dinner starts later, we didn’t go there until 8.15pm.
And found that the restaurant didn’t even open until 8.30pm. Aiyyyyy. Once again we were the very first customers eating dinner.
Even though we didn’t go to a steakhouse, Alastair ended up ordering steak – I’m pretty sure it was a piece of steak stuffed with vegetables. He said it was pretty good.
However I couldn’t entertain the thought of eating meat, and ordered vegetarian tortellini with tomato and olives. Which was amazing and exactly what I wanted. My choice was better than Alastair’s choice.
Restaurant del Hotel Almeria Don Salvador
Vicente Lopez 146
Vicente Lopez 146, Salta 4400, Argentina
While Salta was nice to visit, the trip out to the salt flats was the best part. The scenery on the drive there was incredible and impossible to capture in a photo – it was so beautiful.
Our next stop: Cafayate.