If you are an avid Instagrammer, you've probably noticed loads of images of the salt flats of Maras. Also known as Salineras de Maras, these salt mines are located in the Urubamba valley. They have been in use even before the period of the Incas.
The strategically created terraces on the hills capture hypersaline water in shallow salt ponds. The source of the water in these ponds is from saline underground spring water, which also has trace amounts of other elements such as calcium, magnesium, silicon, and potassium. Once the water or brine in the ponds evaporates, it leaves behind crystallized salt.
You can plan on spending about an hour at this location as you walk in and out of the salt flats, capture vivid images, and watch the workers busy harvesting salt from the salt mines.
There is an admission ticket of 10 soles to visit Maras. This cost is not included in the Sacred Valley partial admission ticket that we spoke about on our Sacred Valley blog (click the hyperlink for details).
There are apparently over 6,000 salt pans near Maras. An interesting fact is that each salt pond is owned by a local family of the Maras community. Local families harvest salt during the dry season between May through November. The salt is then processed and sold at the local towns and stores.
If you allow your imagination to soar, you can visualize a salt waterfall cascading down the graded terraces!
Do consider making Maras one your Sacred Valley visit pillars. Very interesting and totally worth the visit.
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