We drove west from Purmamarca on Ruta 52 up the Lipan Slope to 13,681 feet on a very twisty turny road. We are moving slowly again today because of the elevation. I think the coca candies are helping. They taste like gritty honey-flavoured herbal cough drops. We are still huffing and puffing walking on flat trails though.
Salinas Grande is a 212 km2 working salt flat (as opposed to the Salina Chica that we visited a few days ago…) The lake is at a continental divide between both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. At 12,467 feet water evaporation occurs relatively quickly and the salt is many feet thick.
Then we made the several hour drive to Salta (again) and checked into our hotel. Our room at the Legado Mítico is called El Caudillo, or The Leader and is named for Martin Miguel de Guemes, a military leader who defended northwestern Argentina from the Spanish royalist army during the Argentine War of Independence. The hotel is a renovated period house in the colonial sector of Salta. It is lovely and perfect except for the really creaky wooden floors and staircase! There is no sneaking around this hotel!
Tomorrow we drive to Cafayate.