In an all-day tour, we traveled the stretch joining Purmamarca and Salinas Grandes and we were amazed at the work of man in perfect synchronisation with Mother Nature.
The Lipán Slope is the road that joins Purmamarca
and Salinas Grandes. But this is not just another road. It is a prize to human inventiveness which, with effort, dedication and especially knowledge, has managed to include the passing of man into the perfection of nature. Incredible and majestic at the same time.
In this case, we arrived in Salinas Grandes after having toured around the famous railway city of San Antonio de los Cobres
and having appreciated the beauty of the tour known as Train to the Clouds
and its most famoust viaducts, bridges, loops and tunnels, as well as the amazing sceneries.
Leaving from Salinas Grandes, we started our way back towards Purmamarca, but the members of the tour were quite far from imagining what we would find as we were losing height.
The local guide had announced he had a surprise for us. “The moment will come for you to learn about it. The only thing I can say is that it is a present each of you will receive and will never forget.” That was all.
The truth is that, once we were far from the salt deposits and famous Route 40, we began to travel Provincial Route 52. After a few kilometers, curve after curve, surrounded by incredible cliffs, our guide, who had become our new friend, spoke again.
“We are just getting there. Let me tell you that this is the excursion I like best. As soon as I let you know, you must close your eyes. No cheating allowed. You will wait for a few seconds. The driver is going to stop the truck and I am going to tell you when you can open them again. Now, close your eyes when I count to three. One, two, three...”
We all followed the instructions. We felt that the truck was going steeply down. We thought the gift was either an incredible scenery, a situation or a place.
And it happened as follows. The truck stopped slowly and no sooner had the guide pronounced the word “now” than we all had already opened our eyes and felt astonished at what we saw.
From the top of a hill, an incredible cliff showed us the vastness of the mountains covered in green, grey and brown shades, eroded by the wind, the water and, of course, the passing of time.
But what was most captivating was the labyrinthic road built by man in order to cross the boundaries set by nature to be able to get through. The Lipán Slope, paved nowadays, is a perfect masterpiece of modern engineering which makes us think about the role of man in nature.
Here, man has made a joint effort with the “Pachamama”
and contributed with a work that has turned into a tourist attraction itself, even if man was the protagonist.
Almost 30 minutes passed and none of us could stop beholding the tour cars have followed along the years, which can be compared to the great circuits of Rally Racing and Formula One in the world.
After indulging our eyes for a few minutes, we started our way back to Purmamarca. But the best was still to come. Facing the way downhill was what we all longed for.
And there we went. We watched how the labyrinthic route showed us the most beautiful mountains and hills.
An ancient and unspoilt road at the same time, where the wind, the mountains and the cacti have been the sentries of the few road works built by man. And even today, after decades, these constructions continue to astound both locals and visitors, just like the first time…
Leaving Purmamarca behind, visitors may reach beautiful Iruya, one of the most beautiful in the North
one of the greatest depressions in the province with an exposed surface of over 12,000 hectares of salt