Ever wonder where your table salt comes from? Me neither! But if you live in Argentina there’s a good chance that the salt you eat came from the Salinas Grandes in Salta, the northwestern province of the country.
This region is unlike any other part of the country. There are deserts, high valleys, llamas, and Incan ruins. The drive from Purmamarca, the town nearest the Salinas, is breathtaking as you ascend 4500m (about 14,700 ft) up into the mountains.
Once you get into the mountains, you dip down to 3500m (about 11,500 ft) where you’ll find the salt flats. Long ago there was a lake here and when it dried up it left this unique landscape.
Even though the surrounding area is desert, it rains fairly frequently here which forms a thin layer of water over the salt and keeps it from blowing away in the wind.
Being at the salinas is like being on a different planet. First of all, it is incredibly bright with the sun in a cloudless sky reflecting off the water and the white salt. Also it is hard to breathe because of the elevation. Even doing simple things like walking or bending down would leave us out of breath. Of course none of this stopped Jenny from showing off her signature handstand.
The salt is about one meter (1.5 feet) thick and is harvested by cutting long rows out of the ground.
There are more salt flats in Bolivia, not too far from here, which people say are bigger and more grand. I guess we’ll have to save those for the next trip!
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