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.
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.