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Mission accomplished! Salt Flats.

Our journey to Salta and Cafayate, Argentina

sunny 100 °F
View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.

Coke is it! The biggest thing around. Salinas Grandes, Argentina.

Coke is it! The biggest thing around. Salinas Grandes, Argentina.


From the beginning of our world trip, I wanted to visit a salt flat, a dried lake of salt, which looks like a snow covered desert. Our goal was to visit the world's largest salt flat in Bolivia, but unfortunately relations between Bolivia and the US have not been good. When we started the trip in Oct. 08, there were travel warnings for Americans to stay out of Bolivia. Now, Bolivia wants US citizens to pay $135, give bank statements from the last three months and requires a passport photo on a red background, which is absurd. I can go into all of the political reasons for this, but Dave and I simply decided that getting this visa was not worth the hassle. It is apparent to us that newly re-elected President Evo Morales does not welcome Americans right now, which is a shame, because Bolivia is a beautiful country and many of its citizens depend on tourism dollars that will no longer come from us, among others.

As a consolation we settled for the more convenient Salinas Grandes north of Salta, Argentina.


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Salt Flat Romance.

Salt Flat Romance.


Dave is in the palm of my hands.

Dave is in the palm of my hands.


Salt forms in a honeycomb shape as the earth moves.

Salt forms in a honeycomb shape as the earth moves.


Salt is collected for human consumption and use from these pools dug into the salt flat, which are constantly regenerating themselves with new salt. Iodine is added for eating purposes.

Salt is collected for human consumption and use from these pools dug into the salt flat, which are constantly regenerating themselves with new salt. Iodine is added for eating purposes.


En route to the Salt Flats we drove along the road next to the Train to the Clouds.

Tren a  Las Nubes runs on the third highest railway in the world. It is now only used for tourism purposes.

Tren a Las Nubes runs on the third highest railway in the world. It is now only used for tourism purposes.


We climbed up steep mountain roads, passing colorful mountains made up of several types of rock.

We climbed up steep mountain roads, passing colorful mountains made up of several types of rock.


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We also passed desert filled with cactus.

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And stopped in small Inca influenced villages.

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Colorful quilts for sale on the streets of Purmamarca, a small, touristy town.

Colorful quilts for sale on the streets of Purmamarca, a small, touristy town.


Purmamarca is known for the Cerro de los 7 Colores, but when we arrived and the sun was setting only about 5 colors appeared on the mountain.

Purmamarca is known for the Cerro de los 7 Colores, but when we arrived and the sun was setting only about 5 colors appeared on the mountain.


This small town was straight from a western film.

This small town was straight from a western film.


Doesn't this town look like Lego Land?

Doesn't this town look like Lego Land?


The northwest of Argentina is quite rural and poor. Sugarcane and tobacco production are the main agriculture industries in the area, which help the local economy. We learned that Virginia tobacco either directly or indirectly supports about 500,000 people a year in this region.

SALTA is the capital of the Salta Province. It is a medium size city with a nice square in downtown and pedestrian shopping ways.

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Salta church.

Salta church.


Direct deposit hasn't made its way to Argentina. Bank lines are incredibly long, wrapping around buildings, especially at the beginning of the month when seniors want to collect government checks.

Direct deposit hasn't made its way to Argentina. Bank lines are incredibly long, wrapping around buildings, especially at the beginning of the month when seniors want to collect government checks.


CAFAYATE is a quaint town about two hours south of Salta. It is influenced by Spanish architecture and ancient tribes.

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Cafayate rests in a valley high above sea level and is known for its wine.

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We rented bikes to ride around the wine region, not really thinking about the high altitude, dirt roads and affect of the wine. Hmmm. We really enjoyed wines from Finca Los Nubes and Domingo Hermanos, especially torrontes wine grown from a grape native to Argentina.

Here are some scenes from the bodegas:

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AMAICHA DEL VALLE is home to the Pachamama museum, which is not to be missed in the middle of this small town on the way to Tucuman from Cafayate. The property is part sculpture park and part art/history museum solely designed by artist Hector Cruz. Pachamama means mother earth, so the focus of the paintings, tapestries and sculptures is on nature and the aboriginal culture in Argentina.

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Like the locals in small town Argentina, Dave flagged down the bus to take us to Tucuman so we could catch another bus to Cordoba. It was a long day!

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With less than one week left, Dave and I are trying to enjoy every minute, but are sad about the impending end to our adventure.

Coming up . . . hiking to the top of the highest mountain in Cordoba, plus wine tasting and canyons in San Rafael.

- Elizabeth

Posted by daveliz 11:34 Archived in Argentina

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Comments

Loved your award-worthy photography!!!

Hard to believe we're ALL coming to the end of
the world-wide adventures of Dave and Elizabeth.

We're excited to see you back home, but I have a very strong feeling that your stay in the U.S. is only a respite, and there's much more to experience "down the road."

OOOXXX....Mom/Edie

by Edie

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