The Manaure Salt Flats (Salinas de Manaure) lead the way in Colombia in salt mining. Here, one million tons are produced, which corresponds to 70% of the country´s total production. This landscape in this remote area is made up of imposing white salt hills that are reflected in water wells.

Manaure was born from a nomadic town of indigenous people. The first signs of non-indigenous inhabitants date back to approximately 1723. It has always been desired land because of salt’s value as a means of payment.

WORK AT MANAURE

The shovels begin to break up the mountains of salt before the sun rises. The people who collect this mineral in the ponds of the Manaure salt flats arrive from Riohacha, after traveling by land 63 kilometers northeast. They rise early in the morning to avoid the heat.

On the way to Manaure’s Salt Flats

On the way to Manaure’s Salt Flats

Ruven Afanador reached Manaure’s Salt Flats and was surprised by its white mountains that are reflected in the shallow lakes covering the land.

Location in Colombia

Location in Colombia

Manaure is a municipality of the Colombian department of La Guajira, recognized mainly for the country’s largest sea salt flats. It is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, the municipality of Uribia to the northeast, the municipality of Maicao to the south, and the municipality of Riohacha to the west.

The salt route

The salt route

The site has guides, trained at the SENA trade school, who explain the process of pumping about 70,000 gallons of seawater per minute through the brine tank, where the degree of salinity intensifies from 1.4 to 23.5 due to evaporation. Then it arrives to ponds, where natural phenomena continue evaporating the salt to effectively produce its crystallization.

BEYOND THE SALT FLATS

Although most attention is focused on the salt flats, Manaure also offers a calm sea of ​​greens and blues. Another attraction is the tourist pier, about 50 meters long, where small fishing boats dock.

You can visit Musichi, a spot that is 20 minutes from town whose string of lagoons and mangroves becomes the preferred habitat for pink flamingos during most of the year.

How to get to Manaure’s Salt Flats?

Manaure is home to the largest salt mines in Colombia, located 63 km northeast of Riohacha, which can be accessed by land. Its landscapes are a contrast of desert and areas flooded by small pools of water. On the horizon you can see huge salt mountains. Manaure has access to the Caribbean Sea and at various times of the year it hosts colorful visitors—pink flamingos. If you are interested in visiting...