Tolar Grande

Tolar Grande sits next to the sacred Mountain of Macon on the edge of the Salar de Arizaro. It was built as a railway town though at the minute there is only a train once a month.
We stayed at Hotel Casa Andina which opened in 2012 and has electricity all day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (all simple but delicious) are in the Parador Llullaillaco beside the town square, where you can also meet up with the locals.

Tolar Grande – looking towards the railway line

We visited the Ojos del Mar which are deep (up to 6 metres) saltwater holes with their amazing shades of blue set against the crystal whiteness of the salt plains. In these waters live some of the oldest creatures on this planet – some 1 billion year old bacteria.


A short drive took us to the hidden dunes at the back of Tolar Grande – at first glance these looked as if they were made from clay but in fact they are ancient mounds of salt covered in dust making fantastic formations.

The late afternoon winds in Tolar Grande will almost blow you away, as do the amazing landscapes.

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