The north of the country offers tourists innumerable destinations of great beauty, and the surroundings of the Salinas Grandes are also to highlight:
- Ancient settlements that make up the Quebrada de Humahuaca, with the polychromatic hill of the seven colors and visit the city of Purmamarca, with shades of green, pink, yellow, violet, white and gray corresponding to different minerals. Unique in the country, where you can make exciting photographic safaris, hikes, horseback riding and even cycling tours.
- During the ascent trip you can even make short stops in Yala where it is possible to camp, Leon of only 500 inhabitants, Volcano with its deposits of lime, Tumbuaya on the banks of the Rio Grande in whose church are preserved images and goldsmith’s pieces of colonial Cuzco And Purmamarca, when the first cardones will be seen.
- Then the curve will end at the Cuesta de Lipán, crossing villages like Quisquira, Patacal and La Ciénaga, until reaching the Abra de Potrerillos.
- Back on the backdrop will be the polychromatic hill of the seven colors, with shades of green, pink, yellow, violet, white and gray corresponding to different minerals. Unique in the country, where you can make exciting photographic safaris, hikes, horseback riding and even cycling tours.
- To the west, you will pass a road surrounded by large poplars and willows. And it is even possible to take a few kilometers to the famous RN 40 that leads to San Antonio de los Cobres or Abra Pampa.
How to get. To get to the Salinas Grandes of La Quiaca, Humahuaca, Tilcara and San Salvador de Jujuy, the roads are the RN 9 until the junction of Purmamarca, then the RN 52 for the Cuesta de Lipán to Abra de Potrerillo.
When I decided to travel to Purmamarca, in the Argentine province of Jujuy, many of my prejudices elaborated over the years ended up being buried. To tread for the first time a land so beautiful, full of history and culture, made me dazzle and at the same time I regret not having gone before. The magnificent sky decorated with mountains of colors, the roads to the peaks, the aroma of homemade empanadas in every corner, women dressed in traditional clothes, tourists of all nationalities lost in the landscape, folk music that escapes from the Peñas, stars stars of the most beautiful nights and endless details turn Purmamarca into a dreamed place.
The backpack was heavy and tired, it was necessary to find a place to rest after having landed in San Salvador de Jujuy and then traveling to Purmamarca by bus for just over an hour. In my notebook I had written some addresses of hostels I had found on the Internet, but on arrival I discovered dozens of other accommodations that were not on the web and were more economical. A sign hung on an old wooden door guarded by an old dog welcomed me into a small hallway that connected with a huge courtyard full of rooms around it. The owner of the complex, a gentleman named Luis, greeted me quickly with kindness, even though my arrival had interrupted his nap. Luis offered me a modest and cozy room, with the necessary to live some days and with an incredible view to the famous Cerro Siete Colores.
Having solved the subject of where to spend the night, I went out to walk the streets quietly, knowing that I had plenty of time to meet. My plan was to get to the Salinas Grandes, which is accessed by 4×4 vans that travel through the rubble for more than 3 hours, located about 100 kilometers from Purmamarca. It was already late and I was not going to be able to do that tour until the next day. My goal then was to walk aimlessly, watching with amazement every corner of a village that has only 2,000 inhabitants, but annually receives a great flow of visitors from all over the world. Traveling to Purmamarca became a must for travelers arriving in South America, as the natural charm is enjoyed with the five senses.
Marveling at what my eyes appreciated, I followed the path of a small path up, excited and captive by the beauty offered by the range of nuances on the hill, a sieved blanket that when viewed from all angles is imposing. If you take the trouble to count each of the colors, you will actually see that there are seven, but they look like thousands because of the effect of sunlight and cloud shadow. Without realizing it, after a short walk, I was surrounded by the natural beauty of one of the most incredible landscapes in Argentina, I was inside Cerro Siete Colores.
At nightfall, after buying a delicate llama poncho made by a group of women who sold me nicely at the fair, I decided to visit a folk rock and go into the depths of popular culture. Luis, the owner of the hostel, recommended one that was nearby and there I went. Upon arrival, I was surprised by the humility of the room, with details of mud and natural decoration. In the background, after crossing the shadows of a relatively empty dining room, the sound of a guitar was heard and the voice of a singer singing the verses of a traditional song. I ordered a jug of house wine and some delicious meat empanadas to start. Through a window I could see the black sky and the incredible light of the stars that shone more than anywhere else. As a main dish, I chose a casserole of homemade locro that arrived just in time to appease the hunger that had generated me the walk by the hill. The musician did not stop for a minute to play and the place was gradually filling. The party soon appeared, with couples dancing and people celebrating the joy of being there. Finally, great applause paid tribute to both the musician and the cooks, who welcomed us with the typical delicacies of the area.
When I woke up the next day, from my room I could appreciate the colorful hill and did not contain the emotion. I can never erase that feeling from my memory. Traveling to Purmamarca has these things, the smallest details are the ones that most dazzle. I took a quick breakfast on the terrace of the hostel and loaded my things to continue the journey, this time heading to the Salinas Grandes, another natural charm of Jujuy. My experience in northern Argentina was amazing, something I recommend and even think necessary for any traveler. To witness in person all the natural beauties of Purmamarca not only allowed me to tear down myths and prejudices, but also made me grow as a person. My body and soul appreciate being there and my heart was left with an exaggerated desire to return to that place where I was happy.