Alternar alto contraste
Alternar tamaño de texto
I want to donate

The Salt Mines in Maras, Cusco

Written by Orange Cares | Noviembre 14, 2023
The Salt Mines in Maras, Cusco

The Salt Mines of Salineras are group of almost 5000 salt ponds stacked on the hillside. They are located in the small colonial town of Maras about 50KM northeast of Cusco City.

No one knows for sure when they were constructed, however archeologists have found proof of their existence during Early Horizon Period between 700 AD – 200 BC. They have subsequently been used by proceeding civilizations including the Chanapata (700 AD), the Killke (1000 AD), the Incas, Viceroyalty and the current Republican State.

Even though ownership has changed hands through the years, the Maras and Pichingoto communities have continued to personally mine the ponds using traditional cultivation methods. Since the development of this unique and specific infrastructure and water management techniques for the collection of salt for human consumption and agriculture, the tillage knowledge and traditions have continued to passed on from parent to child and from generation to generation.

For the communities of Maras and Pichingoto the salt process and extraction is part of an essential resource for human life, the economy and cultural assets. The mines represent a preservation of identity and respect for their traditions.

A comprehensive tour of the Sacred Valley takes you on a rich blend of history, science, culture, and awe inspiring visuals. We embark on a journey to explore the exquisite craftsmanship of an ancient civilization.

Maras Salt Mines´ benefits to society.

Social Impact

  • Profit from the cooperative are shared by local families
  • Periodic salt harvests supplement income for families with little job opportunities
  • Packaging is 100% handmade by independent, Peruvian-owned small businesses


  • No new excavations. Pools are more than 2000 years old
  • No environmental contaminations
  • No heavy equipment or electricity used in the extraction phase


  • No additives
  • Contains several trace minerals used by the body
  • Does not contain detectable levels of fluoride

Communities benefited

 Each pan is owned and mined by a local family of the Maras and Pichingoto community, and the salt is collected and sold in local shops or nearby towns. Travelers can explore the salt pans on a guided tour and see captivating vistas and access points of the site for 10 soles (about $3) entrance fee. Afterward, you can buy some of the Andean salt as a souvenir. The MaraSal cooperative was formed to help, package and distribute the salt nationally and internationally. Profits are then distributed among the 400 families depending on the number of salt ponds they own.

  • Maras
  • Pichingoto


In terms of climate and best visuals, dry season is without a doubt the best (between May and October). The days are warm, with plenty of sunshine. The ponds are also going through their evaporation phase, so all ponds illuminate with a bright snow white color.

Best tours to do with the Salt Mines of Maras

There are many ways to experience the majestic salt pans of Maras. Whether you want to go at a leisurely pace with an expert guide or zoom across the surroundings by ATV, there’s a tour waiting for you.

You can take a general walking tour of the site either in a private or group setting, accompanied by an expert guide. Savor the unique beauty of the Andean landscapes and enjoy plenty of photo opportunities. The Sacred Valley usually includes Pisac, Moray and Ollantaytambo archaeological site, where you can see amazing Inca cities, see more information here!

For a touch of adventure, hop on a 4-wheel ATV (quad bike) which takes you through the Andean countryside and small rural communities. Make stops at the Maras salt pans and the Moray archaeological site (The Inca Greenhouse). This is one of our favorite family friendly adventure trips.

Trot, prance, and gallop by horseback through the picture perfect scenery of the Sacred Valley. You will make a stop at many scenic viewpoints, with the highlight being the otherworldly Maras salt pans.

The dirt trails traversing the open landscapes of the Sacred Valley are an outdoor lover’s dream. One of the most exciting routes goes to Maras and Moray. The first stop is Moray followed shortly after by Maras.

There’s nothing quite like traversing the valley by foot, taking in the sights, discovering little known gems, and getting some cardio all at the same time. A half day hike makes stops at the Moray archaeological site and the ancient Inca Maras salt ponds.

Comentarios... no existen comentarios.

Agregue un comentario

Su dirección de correo no se hará público. Los campos requeridos están marcados *