Tours and Activities:
The White DesertMarcelo SolaMarcelo Sola
We visited a salt desert lying a few kilometers from the capital of San Luis. A place where nature invites us to be dazzled by its beauty and silence is the unquestionable lord of the land.
We heard that 35 kilometers away from the City of San Luis lies a spectacular white desert made of salt which was formed by the Bebedero Lagoon. Without hesitation, we got ready to visit this particular circuit where the beauty of the scenery would certainly captivate us. I had visited the Salinas Grandes in the Province of Jujuy in a previous trip. Therefore, I had an idea of what I could find.
We abandoned the capital city and took National Route 7 heading for Mendoza. After traveling along 20 kilometers approximately, we turned left into Provincial Route 15, which would lead us to the very entrance of the salt deposit.
No sooner had we arrived in the place than we were welcomed by the huge mountains of salt which stood out due to their particular whiteness. The totally cloudless sky would increase the brightness of the sun when its beams made contact with the piles of salt.
This important deposit of sodium chloride has emerged as a result of a techtonic depression from the Cenozoic Era, framed by four geological faults. Millions of years ago, the heavy rainfalls led the waters towards this depression giving shape to a huge lagoon of salubrious waters. When the water evaporated as a result of high temperatures, it left behind the crystal-clear solid salt level with the ground. Therefore, the Bebedero salt deposit presents all its splendor in the winter, after the high summer temperatures, when it comes to cover a surface of 5 kilometers of width by about 15 kilometers of length.
The vastness of the salt deposit gives shape to a show of nature. We traveled across the white space paying attention to the contrast it created with the blue sky. We went up the piles of salt in order to increase our perspective and find the pink color of the lagoon after which the place has been named. We wandered without destination among the huge mounds of salt, where our photograph camera tried to capture the particular moment, while we jumped, ran and rested. Silence, the unquestionable lord of the land, seemed more intense as we remained in the white scenery that made us feel as if we were on another planet. A feeling of peace and quietness invaded us and for a moment we felt we were absolutely alone in the world.
After a few instants of calm, we resolved to find out more about the salt deposit and its industrial use. Therefore, we headed towards the entrance, where the Dos Anclas processing plant stands. We were invited to watch the edible salt production process, which starts with a storage and natural depuration stage of the salt in giant piles. Then, it passes onto the washing and spin-dry stage and it finally enters the drying circuit and then is stored in large silos.
We learnt that the salt mined there has multiple uses in addition to the usual table consumption. It may be used in such processes as the production of sausages, fiber dying, oil refinement, production of detergent and soap. After the eloquent explanation provided by the specialists, we called it a day.
Before leaving, one more look at the infinite salt deposit was enough to keep the bright image forever. Thus, we realized there are plenty of options to feed the senses and the traveling spirit that mobilizes us. Undoubtedly, one of them was the interesting visit to the Bebedero Salt Deposit.