When people think of Argentina, many imaginations never wander quite as far as the surreal and solitary expanses of its north western Puna de Atacama where the topography is more like Mars than planet Earth. When the picture is often populated by boina-wearing gauchos, the sophisticated wineries of Mendoza or the mountainous south western regions of Patagonia, when you grasp the beauty of this semi-arid plateau -- filled with strange geological formations, salt flats, pumice fields, sand dunes and an absurd array of colors -- you won't quite believe it's the same country, let alone the same planet.
In fact, NASA has been studying the area in an attempt to better understand the conditions of Mars, so the Puna is considered to be the best example of extreme planetary geology making a trip here almost like your own interplanetary adventure but without the space travel.
One of the Jacada team recently travelled to this remote corner all in the name of research, with a privately guided 4WD trip from the town of Tolar Grande to El Peñón visiting the various and bizarre natural sights in between. Check out their journey in the slideshow below: