If you’re considering a trip to Peru, make sure to stop by the Salineras de Maras, often known as the Maras Salt Mines. These mysterious-looking salt ponds are located in the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas. They are about an hour’s drive from Cusco.
So we’ve put up a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about the Maras Salt Mines. A post that includes what they are, how they were formed, and what to expect when you visit.
The Maras Salt Mines consist of more than 3000 salt ponds that are owned by the local families who live in the area, not just a few. The Maras community includes these local families. Each of these salt ponds is owned by one of those families. When the salt is harvested, it can be sold in the nearby stores and villages.
Although the origin of the Maras Salineras is still up for question, many people think that they were constructed between 500 and 1100 AD during the Wari civilization. These salt mines were then handed down through the generations.
If you’re wondering how these salt ponds came to be. They are all connected by a vast network of underground canals that fill them with salt water during the wet season and leave salt deposits on them. After that, neighbourhoods family members extract the salt using shovels and wooden rakes, whereas later they sell it. The process is then carried out once more by permitting salt water to fill the ponds.
The best time to visit Maras Salineras is in the dry season of Cusco. This is when the salt ponds appear in their best colour as the snowy white colours can be seen. The dry season is Cusco falls from May to October. Interestingly it is also the best time to visit Machu Picchu, so you can combine both trips.
As for the time of the year, Maras Salineras are open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. However, if you want to stay away from the large crowds, in somewhat of a peaceful environment and want to take some beautiful photographs, it is best to visit in the morning hours before 10.00 am.
The Maras Salt Mines are often visited by those who are on the way to Machu Picchu. You can explore these salt mines through a guided tour with an entrance fee of about 10 Peruvian soles.
Peruvian Pink Salt is produced in the Maras Salineras. So, make sure to buy some at the end of your tour.
Peruvian Pink Salt has a beautiful pale pink colour and it is mild with rich mineral content compared to table salt. Peruvian pink salt also has many health benefits such as improving digestion, regulating blood sugar levels, helping in detoxification and so on.