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The north of Chile, northwest of Argentina and southwest of Bolivia are characterized by a phenomenon of great beauty, the magic salt flats. The salt flats are formed when a ground covered by a pool of water has a higher evaporation rate than precipitation. The salt flats could easily be a lake if they were situated in a different climate. Even though the plains of salt look like a very hard ground, there is plenty of water underneath. Some salt flats can be over 120 metres deep. A diversity of minerals can be found in such plains. Mainly Halite, which is the mineral form of sodium chloride, NaCl, commonly known as rock salt.
During the wet season in the southern hemisphere, rain comes and the salt flats are transformed into big lakes of amazing turquoise colours with really high mountains in the horizon.
In the northwest of Argentina.
Train to the Clouds
Nineteen tunnels, twenty-nine bridges, nine sheds, heights of over 4,200 metres above sea level are reasons enough for this train to be famous all over the world. And the incredible mind of its project developer Richard Fontaine Maury. The name “Train to the Clouds” was originated by two Argentine cameramen that rode in the 1960s from Salta to Socompa. They asked the mechanist if he could make the locomotive through lateral steam once they were in the high pass known as viaduct La Polvorilla. They filmed the steam while it came off from the sides and since there was very low temperature at the place, the steam clouds took longer to dissipate and caused the effect of riding above the clouds while watching them. Later on the shot taken by these two cameraman was on a movie titled “Tren a las Nubes” (Train to the Clouds).
Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport (SLA), in Spanish Aeropuerto Internacional de Salta Martín Miguel de Güemes, is an airport about 6 kilometres southwest of the city centre of Salta. In 2007 this airport almost had 400,000 passengers making it the busiest airport in the northern part of the country. This airport is the main hub for the Andes and served by Aerolíneas Argentinas, LAN Argentina, Andes Líneas Aéreas and Aerosur. The main destinations are Santa Cruz, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Puerto Iguazu and San Salvador de Jujuy.
For all those who are driving or are about to rent a 4wd vehicule. The pass of Abra del Acay in route 40 is open, it connects Cachi with San Antonio de los Cobres, though in very poor conditions at the time. It is advised that anyone that wants to do it to have a 4wd otherwise don't even think of it! The road is spectacular and allows you once you have reached the pass at almost 5,000 metres over sea level to have an amazing view of the Puna (Argentine altiplano) as well as the far distant satflats.
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