Tolar Experience

Experience into the Salta Andean Desert

“Dreams are not to be fulfilled, they are to be lived.”

Herman Zappa.

What we are going to

experience on this journey,

day by day

¿What does the journey include?

Testimonios
Ritornati da un viaggio nella puna argentina ....tutto meraviglioso anche grazie allo staff Socompa!!! Agenzia consigliatissima!!! Alla prox.... Rene Jordan
Testimonios
WOW! We had an really great trip with Socompa in the Argentine PUNA region. Johan
Testimonios
Fantástico y emocionante viaje! ¡Ocho días inmersos en la naturaleza con paisajes maravillosos! Mónica
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Tolar Experience / Day 1

Salta | Quebrada del Toro | San Antonio de los Cobres | Santa Rosa de los Pastos Grandes | Desierto del Laberinto | Tolar Grande

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Duration

Estimated handling time: 6 hours.

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Distance

100 km / 62 ml asphalt. 250 km / 155 ml dirt and gravel road. 

Altitude

Maximum 4,630 m. / 15,191 f. Altitude in Tolar Grande 3,500 m. / 11,483 Estimated.

Meals Included​

Lunch and dinner.

The Quebrada del Toro, located just 30 kilometers from the city of Salta, is a natural elevator that connects the green Valle de Lerma with the desert plateau called Puna. In 95 kilometers, the Quebrada ascends from the 1,200 meters of the Salta valley to the 4,000 meters of the Abra Blanca Pass, the entry point to the Puna. Crossing the Quebrada between archaeological ruins and traces of the Inca Trail, we will arrive at San Antonio de los Cobres, the Capital of the Puna, the last trace of civilization and arrival point for many tourists. After crossing the Salar de Pocitos, which is in its final geological stage, a three-hour route begins between wild and unknown nature. The Labyrinth Desert is a desert of fossil dunes, it is ten million years old and has thousands of spikes of clay and gypsum crystals. Today it is possible to cross this natural wonder, something essential for photography lovers. Tolar Grande is located on the edge of a gigantic depression…the Salar de Arizaro, one of the largest salt flats in the world. From this small railway town, built in the 1940s, we will have a unique view of the western end of the Cordillera, with blue skies over volcanoes over 6,000 meters high.

Tolar Experience / Day 2

Tolar Grande | Salar de Arizaro | Oasis de Antofallita | Cono de Arita | Tolar Grande

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Duration

Estimated handling time: 5 hours.

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Distance

260 km / 155 ml dirt road and salt.

Altitude

Maximum 4,000 m. / 13,124 Altitude in Tolar Grande 3,500 m. / 11,483 f.

Meals Included​

​Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

From Tolar Grande it is possible to make several excursions in the day. Our traditional adventure is the crossing of the Salar de Arizaro and the visit to the Antofallita Oasis and its only two inhabitants.

When crossing the Arizaro we will be imitating the ancient muleteers who, in the 18th and 19th centuries, used to use this path. They were shepherds who led caravans of animals to Chile.

The word Arizaro means “Vulture Cemetery”, it comes from that period when many animals perished when crossing the salt flat and became nutritious food for the local vultures.

Antofallita is an important and spectacular example of an oasis in the Puna. In the middle of a high desert there is a green valley thanks to a natural spring surrounded by poplars, molles and willows.

Antofallita, along with Antofagasta de la Sierra and Santa Rosa de los Pastos Grandes, were key stations for the llama caravans that connected this part of the Andes with the Atacama Desert.

The Cono de Arita, a black volcanic pyramid that stands mysteriously in the middle of the white Salar de Arizaro, will be one of the wonders of the day.

Tolar Experience / Day 2B

Tolar Grande | Caipe | Salar Rio Grande | Mina Casualidad (Mina Julia) | Tolar Grande

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Duration

Estimated handling time: 7 hours.

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Distance

130 km / 80 ml of asphalt and 180 km / 112 ml tracks of dirt and salt.

Altitude

Maximum 5,200 m. / 17,061 f. Altitude in Tolar Grande 3,500 m. / 11,483 f. 

Meals Included​

Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Mina Casualidad was once a mining town located in one of the most remote and incredible places on earth. It is right on the border with Chile surrounded by the highest volcanoes on the planet, between mountains of sulfur, salt flats and with a cobalt blue sky at 4,200 meters of altitude. Around 3,000 people lived there. The miners worked at an altitude of 5,200 meters while their families and administrative staff resided in the city of Mina Casualidad.

The mine was closed and abandoned in the 1970s by decision of the military junta that was in charge of the government at the time. Today it is a ghost town.

Caipe is the old railway station of the mine, part of Ramal C-14 built for the purpose of transporting the processed minerals from the mine to Salta. From the abandoned station, there is an incredible panoramic view of the Salar de Arizaro. At sunset, travel back to Tolar Grande with the lights of the sunset.

​Note: Since we operate many of our trips in remote, high-altitude regions, itineraries may be subject to change due to inclement weather, route conditions, or any other year-round operating conditions (such as snow, heavy rain, strong winds, etc). Especially in places at more than 4000 meters of altitude. As such we reserve the right to alter, and/or cancel any section of the itinerary in cases of force majeure.

Tolar Experience / Day 3

Tolar Grande | Ojos de Mar | Desierto del Laberinto | San Antonio de los Cobres | Salta

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Duration

Estimated handling time: 6 hours.

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Distance

100 km / 62 ml of asphalt. 250 km / 155 of gravel. 

Altitude

Maximum 4,500 m. / 14,764 f. Altitude in Salta 1,200 m. / 3,937 f. 

Meals Included​

Breakfast and lunch.

The surroundings of Tolar Grande also offer the opportunity to go on wonderful walks. The
best of them is in the sand dunes in the middle of the desert. From the height of the dune we will be rewarded with a 360 degree view over the entire area. This panorama goes from the sacred mountain Macon to the Llullaillaco volcano where in 1999 and at 6,735 meters an Inca treasure was found along with the frozen bodies of three children, which were in perfect condition thanks to the cold and dry weather conditions from the top of the volcano.

On our way back to the Labyrinth we will visit the Ojos del Mar, wells of blue marine water where the silhouettes of the volcanoes are reflected in the morning light.

As happens very often when traveling in the Northwest of Argentina, the narrow valley offers us different landscapes depending on the time of day in which we travel. The descent through the Quebrada del Toro will offer us a warm final greeting.

 

Support 24/7 COMPLETAR DISEÑO

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses (protection against UV rays) All year round!
  • Hat. All year!
  • In winter gloves (wool or similar material).
  • In autumn / winter (May to August), clothing must be reinforced: winter jacket, sweatshirts, long-sleeved fleece shirt, scarf, etc.).
  • Windbreaker (it is important because there is wind in the area). only in winter
  • Waterproof jacket during the summer (mid-December to mid-March)
  • Trekking shoes (comfortable). All year!
  • Moisturizer. All year!