Salineras de Maras
The Salineras de Maras, have more than 3,000 pools of various sizes and dimensions. They are full of condensed water, which is transformed into salt. This process occurs naturally because the salt mines are located on the hillside, in the form of terraces or platforms and are crossed by a stream that feeds salt water to the pools.
The Salineras belong to the inhabitants of the place, they are inherited in each family but their management is communal.
The exploitation of the Salineras de Maras is as old as the Tahuantinsuyo and they are the main economic support of the locals.
The pools of the salt mines are completed in three days, when the water evaporates by the action of the sun, it solidifies forming crystals. After a month (approximately), the salt reaches 10cm. high and extracted to be marketed.
During the dry season they take advantage of the salt produced to treat it with iodine and sell it to housewives.
Visitors usually walk along the small paths that link one pool with another and participate in the ancestral techniques of the salt extraction process and if they wish, they can acquire it.
The attraction of Maras is not only its salt mines but also the visit to the town, where there are still houses with stone portals.
The town of Maras is located at 3,028 m.a.s.l. At a distance of 48 kilometers northwest of the City of Cusco, and 12 kilometers from Urubamba.
The distance in time from the city of Cusco to the Salineras de Maras, is approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Some travelers access on foot along the path of the horseshoe, while others do so by road vehicle.
To enter the Salineras it is necessary to pay S /. 5 (Nuevos Soles).
The best time to visit this wonderful place is between April and October, since from November to the beginning of March, when heavy rain falls, the access roads are impassable.
The temperature in Maras ranges from 1 to 21 ° C.
Usually, tourists who visit the town of Maras, take advantage of visiting the archaeological site of Moray, located 7 kilometers away.