A Travellerspoint blog

Salta to Tilcara

semi-overcast 31 °C
View Argentina, Brazil, South Georgia & Falklands on shaneandnicola's travel map.

We had an earlier start this morning. Martin picked us up at 8.30. This was still a sleep in comparing to when we go to work. Neither of us slept that well last night as there was torrential rain hitting the roof and it kept us awake. We were however excited about another day of adventure. Martin had told us that we were in for another day of colourful scenery today. So we headed north to Purmamarca. The names meant purma (desert) and marca (city). This little town’s main attraction is Cerro de Siete Colores (the hill of seven colours). It is 2324 metres above sea level.
Purmamarca__7_.jpg
We headed into Purmamarca and had a walk around this little town. We visited the main square and the church.
Purmamarca__6_.jpg
Purmamarca__8_.jpg
Inside the church grounds is the algarrobo tree which is believed to be 700 years old.
Purmamarca__9_.jpg
There is a 45 minute hike that you can do that takes you around the back of the town where you walk amongst the coloured hills. It was absolutely beautiful.
Purmamarca__4_.jpg
Purmamarca__5_.jpg
Purmamarca__12_.jpg
We then had lunch in a lovely little restaurant. I had a nice chicken dish but Shane went for a Llama schnitzel which he said was nice.
After lunch Martin advised us that we were now heading up to 4170 metres above sea level to cross the mountains to visit the salt flats. He prepared us for this high altitude by providing us with coca leaves to chew. It had been some time since we had chewed coca leaves, I don’t like the taste much, it is quite bitter, but if it helps prevent altitude sickness then I don’t mind. For those that don’t know the coca leave comes from the coca plant. This is an important cash crop in South America to produce cocaine. However the alkaloid content of the leaves is low so chewing the leaves or drinking coca tea does not produce the high that people experience with cocaine. Not sure what would happen if Shane had a drug test for the Army Reserves. Coca leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. So with a cheek full of coca leaves we set off.
Once again the scenery along the way was spectacular. We climbed through the mountains on really windy roads until we got to our highest point.
Drive_to_salt_flats__3_.jpg
Drive_to_salt_flats__1_.jpg
Drive_to_salt_flats__2_.jpg
Highest_po.._salt_flats.jpg
We then started heading down the other side of the mountain to the famous salt flats. We could see them between the hills.
56FD6F992219AC6817757C71C72E5EF3.jpg
When we were in Bolivia 2 years ago we had travelled over the salt flats, however this was a new experience for us as due to the rain this month, the salt flats had water on them. You needed to have your sun glasses on it was so bright. They mine the salt so we could see piles of salt and also trenches that create purer salt.
Salt_Flats__4_.jpg
Salt_Flats__8_.jpg
Salt_Flats__5_.jpg
Salt_Flats__9_.jpg
Salt_Flats__13_.jpg
After spending about an hour wandering around parts of the salt flats we headed back over the mountain to our destination for the evening which was Tilcara which is 2500 metres above sea level. Just outside Tilcara there were yet more colourful hills and this time it was called the Painters Pallet.
Painters_Pallet.jpg
Tilcara is another lovely little town.

Posted by shaneandnicola 14:34 Archived in Argentina

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUponRedditDel.icio.usIloho

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint