Salinas Grandes…grande? really?

If you’ve ever been to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia you know the true meaning of the term ‘salinas grandes’. So enormous is the Salar de Uyuni (the world’s largest salt flat) no one, not even at the Bolivian Tourist Board, feels the need to point out that it is, in fact, really quite large. It can, after all, be seen from the moon.

So it was with some scepticism that we drove over yet another mountain range towards one of Argentina’s largest salt flats, the Salinas Grande. Not withstanding the beautiful and dramatic hairpin bends of the Cuesta de Lipan on the drive to get there, arriving at the Salinas Grandes was still pretty spectacular. Set in a bowl ringed by mountains, the white of the salinas is almost luminous viewed from the 4170m mountain pass above it.

The dramatic hairpins of the Cuesta de Lipan, Argentina

The dramatic hairpins of the Cuesta de Lipan, Argentina

En route to the Salinas Grandes, Argentina

En route to the Salinas Grandes, Argentina

The Salinas Grandes in the distance, Argentina

The Salinas Grandes in the distance, Argentina

Snaking down the road towards the salinas we passed through yet more beautiful landscapes, and even saw a few of the rare vicuna camelids…

Vicunas near to the Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Vicunas near to the Salinas Grandes, Argentina

The Salinas grandes is still worked for salt. Today the majority of it is used for animal salt licks, but some salt continues to make its way onto the dinner plates of Argentinians, much as it has done for millennia.

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salt man, Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

Salinas Grandes, Argentina