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Ways to Experience Salinas de Maras
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All reviews salt pans salt mines salt pools sacred valley inca times interesting place local families dry season worth the trip amazing site water evaporates day trip walk around entrance fee harvest salt inca ruins machu picchu
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Reviewed 2 days ago

Sandwiched in a valley in between rugged mountains near the Urubamba River, the Maras Salt Mines, really more flats than mines, are a dramatic patchwork of pools varying in sizes, elevations, and striking in their unintended designs with shades of brown to blue to creamy white. There are about 3,000 of these shallow pools fed by mineral rich springs. These springs come up from the mountain to pass over interior salt cavities that then exit the mountains’ cavities to ultimately flow through trenches designed to fill the pools. Each pool is roughly two inches deep changing color as an intricate system of spring-fed waters continue to wash over the pools. The pools start out brown in color and lighten as water continues to flow, changing the color as it fills. When the pool is filled, the keeper of the pool lets the hot Andes sun evaporate the waters, then the salt is harvested with paddles, sieves and shovels. Back breaking work for sure.

After climbing down the steep steps to get close enough to dip our fingers into the warm water to taste the salt, I looked across at some nearby pools and saw some of the families bent over working in their pools, presumably collecting salt by hand. Franco informed us that the mineral-rich salt doesn’t just add flavor to dishes, it’s also good for you. It contains magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc, which help reduce stress and prevent anaemia and osteoporosis. It also provides a buffer for blood sugar levels, preventing diabetes and enabling diabetics to use less insulin. Good to know!

Today the Maras is a cooperative with 250 participating families, continuing a practice that dates back to the Chanapata Culture, long before the Incas. I was pleased to see that Maras is unspoiled by the commercialization of tourism giving us an opportunity to see first hand a practice that goes back thousands of years. It was getting dark and at 9,919’ with a chill wind whipping through the shadows of the mountains when we got back into the protection of the bus for our ride back to Cusco.

Thank Kelleygirl2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 days ago

The mines go on as far as you can see. No one knows where the water comes from, but it comes up from out of the ground and tons of salt are mined every week. We really appreciated the amount of team work and physical labor of the community to maintain and profit from the mines.

Thank 96Karen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

The salt flats are worth a quick visit but the real value was the market area! Our total walk around the salt flat area was 15 or 20 minutes and it was interesting to hear about the underground ocean generating salt and how the natural production process works. I finally understand what pink salt is! We went with a guide and if you don’t have a guide, make sure to read some materials about it to fully appreciate the experience.

The best part of this attraction was the row of stalls where you can buy all types of salt products for cooking, bathing, etc. The salt bags make an interesting gift especially for any culinarily-inclined friends and the prices could not be beat - they start at 2 or 3 soles. I hope my friends do not see this review and know how little I spent on their souvenirs!! Way more interesting and useful than the mass-produced keychains etc.

Thank Maya F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

Pick a salt pond and go to town. This place is interesting because it has been in continuous use since pre-Inca times, making salt for your table. So simple, yet so cool. Salty water flows from the hillside, is diverted to flat basins and worked from there. You’ll see the salt at tables throughout the Sacred Valley.

Thank Roberts B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This trip was included on the intoner of a trip to Peru. We did not pay much attention to the mention of this stop and were not sure what we were going to see. This turned out to be one of my favorite memories of Peru. The amazing journey from the time the salt water enters into the terrace until it is carried up the mountain to the storehouses was quite a tale.This is very time consuming and backbreaking work. I never knew a place like this existed. I am so glad we visited here.

Thank Grumpyone88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were debating whether or not to go to the salt mines, but decided to do so at the last minute. So glad we did. The salt terraces were massive! I did not expect them to take up such a large area of the hillside. Learning about the process of how the salty stream coming from the mountain is directed into these terraces and harvested was fascinating. There were even several locals working out on the terraces when where were there. Best part is you can buy the salt direct at the stalls on site.

Thank Alecia91401
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The salt pools were both beautiful and interesting. It’s quite difficult to get to if you’re a single traveller on a budget — I had to walk the six kilometres from where the local bus dropped me off on the highway. It’s annoyingly not part of the Cusco tourist ticket and quite expensive in itself. Big tourist groups also come along and take over. Nevertheless, I’m very glad to have been and seen it.

Thank Cracovian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

The salt mines were unlike anything I’ve ever seen which is why I found them fascinating and quite beautiful. We stopped by on a 3 stop tour and found that was the right amount of time needed. Our guide explained the mines are all white in the dry season and the shades of brown in the wet season. It was interesting to learn about how the mine the salt, which was different than I thought. In the busy season it is packed, so we are glad we went to Peru in October.

Thank Kendall_ashlee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Nice place with extensive possibilities of walking around the Salinas with many interesting point of view.
Take the time to have a look at the various installations to see drying salt etc.
We were there by ourselves (just a driver, no guide) and it proved to be a perfect choice for us, giving us all the time we needed (about 1h including a little snack), when we have seen a lot of groups coming and leaving after short explanations and shorter walks. If you are of the kind of taking pictures and feeling places, make it private.

Thank YG-EG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

This is out of the way. Very interesting. It is unique. It has a good little market. We bought salt, of course, and a nice bag.

Thank Dunn45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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