The Maras Salt Mines, also known as the Salineras de Maras, are a collection of salt evaporation ponds located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru. The salt mines have been in use since pre-Inca times, and are still in operation today. They are a unique and fascinating destination for tourists visiting the area.
What are the Maras Salt Mines?
The salt mines are located in the district of Maras, in the province of Urubamba. They are situated at an altitude of around 3,380 meters above sea level. The mines consist of a series of terraced ponds, built into the side of a mountain. The mines are used to extract salt from the nearby Qori Pujio salt spring. This spring is a natural source of saltwater. Then, the saltwater is directed into the ponds through a series of canals.
As the water evaporates from the ponds, the salt is left behind and can be harvested. The process is completely natural and does not involve the use of chemicals. Each pond is owned by a different family, and the salt is harvested by hand.
The Maras Salt Mines are an excellent example of traditional technology and sustainable resource management. The Incas, who were the first to use the salt mines, built the terraced ponds in such a way that they maximized the use of the limited space available. The design of the mines also minimizes the impact on the surrounding environment. This ancient method of extracting salt is still in use today and is a testament to the ingenuity of the Incas.
Visitors to the Maras Salt Mines can take a guided tour of the ponds. At the tour they will witness the different stages of the salt harvesting process. The tour will also provide an opportunity to learn about the history of the mines and the way of life of the people who work there.
Why should you visit the Salineras of Maras?
In addition to the salt mines, the area around Maras is also home to several other Inca ruins, including the Moray terraces. These ruins provide a glimpse into the advanced agricultural and hydraulic technology developed by the Incas.
The Maras Salt Mines are a unique and fascinating destination that offers visitors a chance to learn about the history, culture, and technology of the Incas. The mines are also a great place to witness the traditional salt harvesting methods in action. It is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Apart from visiting the salt mines, tourists can also purchase the salt directly from the local families. The salt is available in different forms, such as coarse or fine, and in different varieties like the pink salt. Tourists can also buy souvenirs made of salt, such as salt lamps, and salt-based products.
The Maras Salt Mines are easily accessible from the nearby town of Maras. You can explore this unique place in a day trip from Cusco or as part of a wider tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visitors should come prepared for the altitude. The mines are located at a high altitude and can be challenging for some people.
The Maras Salt Mines are a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Peru. With its rich history and traditional way of life, the mines are a fascinating and enlightening destination that will leave a lasting impression on all visitors.
Explore the ancient Inca sites with us
At Peru Ancestral we offer the best tours and treks to the Inca marvels of Peru. Check our most popular travel packages:
- Machu Picchu Full Day
- Humantay Lake
- Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca)
- Short Inca Trail
- Sacred Valley + Maras Moray