Salt Mines, it is in the province of Urubamba in Cusco, Peru, a thousand-year-old legend can be heard in the mountains surrounding the town of Maras.
At 3000 meters above sea level and one and a half hours from the city of Cusco are the salt mines of Maras, whose exploitation is as old as the Tahuantinsuyo. Located on the hillside, in the form of terraces or platforms, they are full of subway water that flows through the ravine whose origin is still a mystery.
The legend says that these salty waters that come from the mountain to the heights of the Sacred Valley are the tears of Ayar Cachi; within the Inca mythology, this was one of the 4 brothers that gave origin to the great empire of the Incas. The God Wiracocha sent these brothers to leave a cave to establish a great empire; Ayar Cachi threw a stone at a mountain forming a ravine, then his brothers, fearing his strength and power, locked him in the cave with deception, preventing him from being the founder of the empire. The tears of this character formed the ponds that with time dried in the sun and then formed the salt mines.
The natural scenery
The Maras salt mines located in the province of Urubamba have more than 3000 mini swimming pools of all sizes and dimensions, which are fed by salt water that comes from the subsoil of the Qaqawiñay mountain. The strength of the sunlight causes the water to evaporate, creating salt crystals that are then “harvested” with a piece of wood that is used to scrape the salt off. After this, it is placed in small baskets to remove excess water. After a few days, the water passage is opened again and the process is repeated.
In the salt mines of Maras you can find “natural pink salt”; it is converted into this beautiful color from the natural elements of the mountain water, including magnesium, calcium, potassium and silicon. In the world there are only 4 places where you can extract pink salt and Maras is one of them, would you miss it?
Details you have to try
In addition, we will enjoy a panoramic view of the salt mines of Maras that you will experience, you can not miss the market. There you will be able to try different items that include local products: chocolates, candies and even beauty products, as well as body creams.
Recommendations on how to get to the salt mines of Maras
To reach the Maras salt flats, we recommend that you do so with a tour operator or with your own mobility. There is no direct public transportation, operators leave Cusco every day at 9 am and take the Chinchero – Urubamba route to reach the Maras community, then take a detour and enter the salt flats.
The entrance to the salt mines costs approximately 10 soles per person.
A millenary and mysterious place is waiting for you. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable experience.
I am founder and content creator of Lorenzo Expeditions, since 2006 I started with the Inca Jungle tour, guiding and serving thousands of tourists in a personal way to get to know Machu Picchu in a unique and authentic way.