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Salinas del Diamante: a huge salt lagoon

In San Rafael, a few meters from Route 144, there is a huge space covered by a white mantle. It's the salt, from the Salinas del Diamante.

Mendoza
Salinas del Diamante

Located in the district  El Nihuil , the  Salinas del Diamante is one of the  Natural Protected Areas in the province of  Mendoza . This is a huge open-pit salt mine, located 68 km from the city of  San Rafael. This place is accessed through the RN 144,  at the height of kilometer 744, in the distance, you can see a kind of lagoon but which, as we approach, it becomes increasingly white, until showing itself as a huge portion of salty soil, literally.   

The access route is all asphalt, there is only a  400m gravel road after the detour of the route that announces the entrance to the salt flats . You reach a parking lot with the car to repair the sun's rays, and in the background you can see the traces of what knew to be a lagoon that today paints the floor white. The property is currently private, and  entrance is charged to visit it. 

 Origin 

The Salinas del Diamante are the consequence of a  dry sea . And more than one will be wondering what sea we are talking about, being that the province in question is Mendoza. To explain it, we must refer to past times.  66 million years,  more precisely .  At that time, the sea covered the area where the Salinas del Diamante are. However, the movement of the plates caused much of that water to drain, leaving only a small marine lagoon in the sector. Millions of years later, that water evaporated, leaving salty sediments open.

 Tourist exploitation 

As we have warned, the exploitation of the place is private. The  Remaggi-Maturana family, owners of the place since 1886 , decided to set up a small salt museum in 2005, with historical data of the place and salts from different salts around the world.

While before people could reach the shores of the Salinas del Diamante, they did not find any information, because no one had time to start explaining every person by person. Thus,  this interpretation center tells the history of the site and how it boosted the economy of the area. 

Salt varieties can be seen from the four most significant salines in America: Bolivia (Uyuni), Atacama in Chile, Maras in Peru and our Salinas Grandes in Northern Argentina. The place provides interpretive maps, and a stall of the  Salts de los Andes  flavored with local herbs, with lemon and thyme or with traditional spices. Also,  for those who like immersion baths. 

The most striking moment of the visit is when you proceed to walk on the huge saline, it has approximately 1500 hectares of water mirror and three thousand of total area. A real salt lagoon.

Step after step, you feel a strange feeling under your feet as the hardness of the salt mixes with the water of the place, leaving footprints along the route that look darker than the rest of the terrain.

If you are lucky to arrive on a cloudy day, there won't be so much glare.The  ideal is to assist with sunglasses that protect the eye  to be able to better tour the saline and reach places where the evaporation process of water is already advanced and the salt looks whiter.

In addition, there is a project for  astrotourism, as salina helps to achieve better visualizations and balloon rides. 

Publication Date: 15/08/2020

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