Salt flats aren’t just found in Bolivia — Argentina also has them! One of our favorite experiences in Argentina is a visit to the Salinas Grandes Salt Flats.
The Salinas Grandes salt flats are accessible by car from the northern Argentina city of Salta or Jujuy. While not as big as the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, they are on the list of Argentina’s natural wonders!
Here’s all you need to know if you’re hoping to visit the Salinas Grandes salt flats in Argentina.
Stay in Salta or Jujuy
You can reach the salt flats from either Jujuy or Salta. Of these places (if you’re staying the night), our favorite is Salta. It is also much larger.
The city of Salta has a lively convergence of Northeastern-Argentine culture, food and nightlife, but the wilderness just outside of Salta is what truly makes this Argentine province spectacular.
The land here transforms from sweeping, dry deserts spotted with cactus and herds of roaming alpacas, to bleak, searing-white salt flats draped by cobalt- blue skies, to ancient hills streaked with a rainbow of colorful sediment, all surrounded by the mighty presence of the Andes Mountain Range.
How to Visit Salinas Grandes Salt Flats
The Salinas Grandes salt flats in Argentina are the most impressive in the area and, if you’re not going to make it to the salt flats in Bolivia, you don’t want to miss your chance to view them.
If like many travelers you are strapped for time, you can see plenty of what makes this area so special in one full day, either with your own car or on a tour.
We booked the argentina4U Salta Salinas Grandes day tour and had a great time. It was a good opportunity to learn about the area and some of its history through bilingual tour guides.
The sites on this tour included a pre-Inca village that had a small outdoor crafts market, a stop for lunch in a traditional northern pueblo (cost of lunch not included in the ticket), the salt flats (Salinas Grandes), a trip to Purmamarca for a great view of the Hill of Seven Colors, and several other stops to enjoy the vast views afforded from being at such a high altitude.
Go on a Self-Driving Tour
If you’re renting a car or have your own vehicle, seeing the salt flats is easy! Turn off of Ruta 9 to Ruta 52, passing Purmamarca. Ruta 52 (Hwy 52) is paved and pretty easy to drive. When you see them, pull over and have fun taking your own photos.
You probably won’t spend more than 30 mins here if visiting by yourself.
Things to Know about Salinas Grandes Salt Flats
- The altitude in the area increases at a fast pace; the highest point (by road) is almost 14,000 feet above sea level. This quick change in altitude has the potential to cause altitude sickness.
- It is a local practice to chew coca leaves to take off the edge, and you can purchase them at most of the Kioskos in the north. Take five to ten leaves and stack them on top of each other, then place them between your check and molars. As you salivate, alkaloid compounds are released from the leaves increasing oxygen levels in your blood.
- Bring sunglasses and sunscreen, when you are at the salt flats the sun blasts off the white, salt floor and has the potential to burn your eyes and skin.
- Entrance to the salt flats if you’re visiting on your own is free!
If you’re pressed for time but want to visit the Salinas Grandes salt flats from Salta, we definitely recommend taking a tour.
Whether you want to explore the region alone or prefer a fun day tour, the area around Salta is stunning and really should not be missed!
Salta is one of my favorite places of Argentina as it shows and authentic face of the country and its connection with the Andean culture, different than the european style of Buenos Aires and the nordic landscapes of the south…nice article, nice trip, interesting tips!
Alpaca do not live on the puna in Argentina – it is too dry. Those are Vicuna