About the Maras Salt Mines
In the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, men have exploited a geological wonder for centuries. Near the village of Maras, a spring of highly salted water had already caught the eye of the Incas, who started to build the terraced evaporation ponds to harvest the salt.
This way, the salted water is channeled into the terraces where the salt concentration keeps increasing as the water evaporates with the sun, and deposits.
Over the centuries, the terraces have been extended and upgraded. Nowadays, they are shared among the inhabitants of Maras. There are around 4000 ponds and each family exploits a few.
It is very easy to visit the terraces from Ollantaytambo or Urubamba, either with an organized tour or with a private car and driver that any hostel can find for you for an affordable fee. The most common is to arrange a tour covering the Maras salt pans and the Inca ruins of Moray, which are nearby.
Many visitors also choose to cover Maras, Moray and often the village of Pisac (famous for its traditional market) as a day trip in the Sacred Valley of the Incas from Cusco.