The best views of the seven coloured mountain are from lookouts on the hill across the road from the town. The only map we had of Purmamarca was the one given to us by the man who hired us the bikes, and he calls this hill Cerro Verde, so I'll do likewise.
A fairly obvious path leads up the mountain, and climbs steeply to the first of a couple of lookouts over the town. Purmamarca is of course at over 2000 metres altitude so if you're feeling short of breath, climbing high may not be the best idea. However, views along the way to the lookouts are excellent so even if you don't fancy the getting to high, it's worth doing a short section.
We hiked past a group of Colombian musicians recording a video with the seven coloured mountain in the background. Watch out for it on MTV!
We hiked as far as the second lookout which seemed to be the highest point on Cerro Verde, but the trail continued beyond this point towards other mountains behind so if you have the time, it would probably be a great hike. Unfortunately, neither the tourist information nor any guidebook I've read has information on hiking in these hills, but there are paths (probably used by the locals) which you can follow.
Road 52 : the Salinas Grandes
The show of the Salinas Grandes is fabulous! A giant white surface (12.000ha) with an very far horizont and mountains in the background !
The feeling of immensity is so intense! And the sun which has cracked some angular forms on the ground covered by salt is really beautiful! I could have spent there hours...the sun was shining and the wind was quite strong...
Riding 126 km (from Purmamarca) was really worth!
Village of the many colors
Purmamarca is a village located at the foot of the Cerro de Siete Colores, a wonderful hill with these amazing colors. To see the hill in the early morning sun is magical.
There is very little of Argentina here, its a totally Andean village. you will see the traditional colors and have a nice opportunity to taste great food here.
Though the tour buses pull in and out of the village all day long it was a quiet, relaxing place to stay and I had the unique opportunity to talk with the locals and enjoy a local pena.
Purmamarca : the village of the 7 colors mountain
In Quechua language Purmamarca means "town of the lion" and in Aimara language means "town of virginal earth".
Pumamarca (2275 metres) is a very small village whose buildings were built in the XVII century; its urban layout was designed to surround the church, built in 1648. All the houses of the town have walls made of adobe and roofs are made of straw. Pre-Hispanic traditions prevailed, especially in celebrations.
"The rainbow mountains"
But Purmamarca is most of all famous for its mountains which are one of the most wonderful marvels of the area : El Cerro de los Siete Colores ("Hill of the Seven Colours") that has sedimentary rocks of different colours : red, green, pink, yellow, white, grey and violet corresponding to iron, copper, dolomite, sulfur, lime, lead and haematite respectively. This hill/mountain is placed behind the village in the Canyon of Purmamarca, a canyon that meets the Canyon of Humahuaca (Quebrada de Humahuaca)
It is a magic place...The nature makes wonders...the colors are so strong...even my best photo cannot make you fell the beauty and the intensity of the different colors!!!!