Thursday, April 25, 2013

Trip Tips: Salineras, Peru

Salt pans, Maras.

Salineras literally means "salt-makers" in Spanish. If you've never seen salt pans before and are in Peru, I really recommend this short day-trip. Here's how I did it and some recommendations. 

While my family was visiting, we did the obvious tourist activity - Machu Picchu. We took the train to Ollantaytambo and found a taxi driver who offered us a  reasonably priced tour to Moray - Salineras - Cusco (100soles or about $40). Apparently, there are quite a few taxi driver tour guides that do this route, as you can see on Leap Local


First we explored the archaeological Inkan terraces of Moray. Moray is an impressive and unique site because of its circular leveled formation, perfected as a farming technique. It was even more awesome because the entrance is only 10 soles and can be bought individual instead of having to buy the entire Tourist Ticket to all the ruins.

The view with all the pans.
Then we headed to Salineras, in the town of Maras. You can also access it on bus from Cusco to Urubamba, getting off at the cross road of Maras. From there, Salineras is down a winding road about 30 minutes and a low taxi fare. The entrance fee is very minimal, about 5 soles.

The salt looks like crystals!

Families in Maras have been maintaining the pans for many years and they date back to Inkan times. Now it is organized by an informal cooperative and whoever would like to can harvest and maintain a salt pan.
Talk about some amazing views ~

There are locals who sell bags of pure Maras salt, which I definitely bought.

It was nice to do a tour so we could learn about the process of the salt and history from a local primary source. You could also do some research (it's easily accessible) and prepare a self-tour. Or there's also bike tours, which would be really fun!

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