The Great Salt Flats of Argentina

February 21, 2012

Not easy to get there, but the trip to Las Salinas Grandes was well worth the trouble. I’d say it took us between 6-7 hours to get to the salt flats counting various stops along the way, and another 8 or 9 hours to complete the loop where we started at 7 AM that morning.

Salinas Grandes are great huge salt flats in the province of Salta way up in northern Argentina close to the Bolivian border. To get there we first flew 2 hours from Buenos Aires to the city of Salta, then joined a small van tour for the rest of the way. We drove some really bad road (including nearly 80 kilometers of washer-board, rutted gravel), but saw some unbelievably beautiful country.

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There are mountains on all sides of you and being the rainy season, the rivers are flowing so constantly flood or wash out the road. There seems to be permanent road crews along the way whose job is to keep the longest North to south route in Argentina open.

The forecast for the 3 days we were in Salta Province called for rain and thunder showers, which would have also washed out our tour, but as is so often the case, they got it wrong and we had great weather with only a minor quick shower at the highest point (4,170 meters) of the journey.

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The flats are created as mineral-laden water from the surrounding mountains fill the rivers feeding the lake.

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With nowhere for the water to go and due to specific geological and climatic conditions the evaporation rate creates over time thick layers of various minerals, chiefly sodium chloride – SALT! Salinas Grandes stretches 32 kms N-S, and is approx. 9 kms E-W covering some 3,200 sq miles as compared the the Great Salt Lake in Utah (the largest salt lake in the Western hemisphere) which covers about 1,700 sq miles.

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The trip was somewhat arduous, but well worth the trouble!

Aloha, Mikie

GetOffYourButts.com . . . . . . turned travel blog direct from Buenos Aires for the month of Feb.


In by 9-Out by 5!

February 18, 2012

It doesn’t look like much. In fact it sorta looks like crap if you’re a business presenting a face to the buying public, but inside are two very hard working ladies who will wash, dry and fold your clothes for a song- literally in by 9, out by 5! We’ve been there twice so far and never paid more than $8 US for a big, stinky bag of laundry. image

We travel with only 1 carry-on bag each, so you can imagine we go through our paltry repertoire of “outfits” to use the term very loosely, pretty quickly so we’ve become familiar with this lavadero and the nice ladies who work there. In fact, panic set in today when we returned from a 3-day trip to Salta up North by the Bolivian border, with a bag of dirty clothes and found out they we’re going on vacation for a week starting Monday. When we asked for another lavadero close by (cerca de aka), the owner exclaimed, “But we’re the best!” in perfect English. We all laughed, then we assured them we’d return as soon as they re-opened after their short summer break.

Aloha, Mikie

GetOffYourButts.com . . . . . . turned travel blog direct from Buenos Aires for the month of Feb.


Argentine Snacks & Other Delectables

February 15, 2012

The Super Pancho is a very popular snack here in Argentina enjoyed by young and old. It’s a little hard to tell, but those are the old familiar crunchy, shoestring potato things on top of a hotdog.
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Below is a common Super Pancho stand spotted anywhere you go- in this case adjacent to the Provential Legislature Building in the city of Salta (in the Northwest part of Argentina towards the Bolivian border).
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As hot as it has been, you could be as easily beckoned by the promise of a cold beer, image
though I personally prefer a fresh sqeezed OJ (jugo de naranja). They also have a carbonated grapefruit juice which hits the spot.

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But this is the snack we chose to have with a cerveza yesterday afternoon when we needed a respite! It’s called Picadas Simple, picada means pick, like we would use a toothpick to snatch hors d’oeuvres or a pupu if you were in Hawaii.

Aloha, Mikie

GetOffYourButts.com . . . . . . turned travel blog direct from Buenos Aires for the month of Feb.


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