Manaure salt fields
Workers collect salt in Manaure.

The desert sands of the central Guajira department have been mined for centuries. From the coal fields of El Cerrejón in the north to the salt flats of Manaure in the central part of the peninsula, this arid part of Colombia contains some of the richest mineral deposits on the continent.

Ever since salt was first mined here by Coanan indians during the Sixteenth century – who traded it for gold in the interior – the water from these Caribbean currents has been funnelled into shallow pools and left to evaporate.

The hot sun and lack of rain in the region increases the refining process and the ‘white gold’ from Manaure, is one of this country’s leading exports.