THIS PLACE IS GORGEOUS!
The Salineras of Maras, also known as the Maras Salt Mines, was one of my favorite places to stop and explore!! It is so incredibly unique, it wasn’t super crowded, and it was so beautiful! I wish we would have been able to spend more time here! (It started to rain a soon after we arrived so we rushed back to the van.) So what the heck are those little ponds? From my understanding, there is an underground salty spring that has been channeled to fill thousands of these shallow salt pans! When the water evaporates, the remaining salt is harvested by the local community and the pan is filled once again with the salty water.
If you’re interested in the nitty gritty details of visiting the salt pans, read on, and if not feel free to scroll through and appreciate the beauty of these Peruvian views!!!
VISITING THE MINE:
Cost: 10 soles ($3) Distance from Cusco was only about an hour. It’s right next to the city of Urubamba and just a few minutes East of the Moray ruins. Our group of 8 had arranged a private tour through our amazing Airbnb to see Chinchero and Moray in addition to the salt mines which I would highly recommend because they’re so close together! Some additional ways to experience the mines: You can hike, take a private taxi, go with a tour group or private tour, and I’ve even seen ATV tours offered.
**PRO TIP: If you want to save $$, book the tour once you get to Cusco and not beforehand! There are tons of tour agencies in the city and everything is cheaper once you get there!
The last portion of the drive down to the mines was a little sketchy with some tight turns and steep drop-offs, so I’m glad our driver was skilled! Once you get to the parking lot, it’s a short distance past the stands where they were selling chocolate and salt and other Peruvian trinkets (the free samples of chocolate and salt are pretty awesome). We spent about 30-45 minutes walking around, taking photos, and buying souvenirs. However, if the storm hadn’t come in we could have probably spent longer!
**PRO TIP: Bring snacks and water with you if you’re taking a trip out here, especially if you have kids! For a lunch or dinner option, check out El Huacatay just a short distance away in Urubamba. It was some of the best food we had on the trip!
VISITING SALINERAS DE MARAS WITH KIDS
Nothing in Peru is very stroller accessible, and these mines are no different. The walkway is dirt with a few flights of stairs, and the barriers… well they’re defiantly not child proof. We just kept an eye on our little squirt and made sure she didn’t go swimming in the shallow salt pans. Luckily they are less than a foot deep, so there isn’t a huge risk of getting super wet if (heaven forbid) anything did happen. Our little Addie loved tasting the salt water as well as sampling the salt and chocolate near the parking lot. She did not love that we wouldn’t let her run free (the small walkways were a little crowded at times and the lack of barriers would have made it easy for her to jump in and go swimming.)
**Tour tips- Ask if the salt mine entrance fee (10 soles) is included in the overall tour price, and ask how long they schedule to spend there – some tours spend less than a half an hour there. The entrance fee to the mine is not included in the Cusco Tourist Pass – which I recommend purchasing if you plan on visiting several ruins around the Sacred Valley and/or Cusco.
Here are a few more photos from around the mine:
Here are some bloggers/vloggers that I found pretty helpful when gathering information for visiting this location:
- Zak Birt is a backpacker who usually looks for the most frugal way to do things around Peru, and he shares helpful details like cost and travel times as he films throughout the day.
- This blog has a ton of details about the Salt Mines, exactly how they harvest the salt, and how to walk to the mines from Urubamba
- This site has a great map of a bunch of the ruins and things to see (Moray, Pisac, Chinchero, Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, etc…) in relation to the larger cities like Cusco and Urubamba.
I’ll be writing more about our adventures to Peru soon!!