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Antofagasta de la Sierra and Piedra Pómez Field


Located 550 km from San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca, Antofagasta de la Sierra and the small town of El Peñón are ideal places to discover the many attractions offered by the Catamarca Puna, as spectacular as little known, depicting several volcanoes and the amazing Piedra Pómez Field.

Open to visit all year round. The best time to visit is from September to November and from March to April.

What to see
Piedra Pómez Field

A white rock ‘sea’ at more than 3,000 metres high; the result of volcanic activity, with pink summits and spectacular formations. Some people say they look like ‘petrified waves’ in the immensity, with changing colours according to the time of the day. 

The main access is from El Peñón town. The ride must be made in 4WD vehicles with a guide or booking a tour. Charged entry.


Salar de Antofalla

One of the most deserted and inaccessible places in the Puna, 3,000 m.a.s.l. This salt flat is at the foot of the impressive Antofalla volcano, 25 km away from the town that has the same name.

The salt flat harbours the breath-taking Ojos de Campo formation - quiescent saltwater geysers with various tones of blue, green and orange. Visitors can book 4WD tours with authorised guides. 

Nearby, the thermal spring waters of Botijuelas feature a beautiful hidden spot amid the hills with water temperatures reaching 40 °C. 


Salar del Hombre Muerto

One of the most important lithium and borax salt fields. Along the tour, visitors can appreciate deserts, lagoons with flamingos, salt flats, salified plants, fumaroles and rivers with thermal water. 

At the salt flat shore are the former Incahuasi gold mines exploited by the Jesuits and the Incas: there are ruins of the housing complex, big caverns that make up the gallery, a church, access paths and smelting furnaces.


Laguna Blanca Provincial Reserve

The Reserve harbours several mountain peaks of more than 6,000 m.a.s.l., and it is the home to indigenous communities.

Between September and early December visitors can participate in the ‘Chaku’ or shearing of the vicuna, an ancestral practice for the sustainable management and legal use of vicugna wool to produce ponchos and blankets. 

At the reserve, the Grande lagoon preserves flamingos, with a population exceeding 18,000 specimens during the summer. 

Galán Volcano

The area is part of the Galán Volcano circuit, known as ‘El Coloso de la Puna’ (the Puna Colossus); the mouth diameter is 42 km and the Diamante lagoon inside shelters pink flamingos and ducks.

At the southern end of the volcano, there are hot springs or fumaroles, 3.8-billion-year-old living rocks with high sulphur and salinity content and water springing from the soil at 80 °C.

How to get there and move around

Antofagasta de la Sierra is 597 km from San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca. Almost the entire road is paved (except for 30 km of rubble). The last part is a high mountain road. Visitors who do not go by car or are not willing to drive in altitude, may book tours in San Fernando or in the town of Belén. 

Once in Antofagasta, 4WD tours can be booked to visit nearby attractions.

Before traveling, check the status of the routes at the nearest tourist office. How to avoid "altitude sickness"? Read these recommendations to take care of your health.

Where to stay

Antofagasta de la Sierra offers a great number of services in the area and it is ideal to stay. 

El Peñón has a more modest offer and some houses for rent. It is important to book accommodation in advance since the offer is limited.

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