Maras Salt Mines

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Zeke111 on August 21, 2005

In Maras, we went to the ancient salt mines that have been used for thousands of years to supply the Andean people with salt. It is still being harvested today, as it was hundreds of years ago.

The mine itself has been created as a result of a stream running through a mountain. The snowmelt from this stream runs through a mountain. Inside this mountain is a large salt deposit. When the stream runs through it, the water picks up the salt and carries it out of the mountain. The Incas then created many drying ponds where they catch this salt water. They allow the water to sit in these ponds and the hot Peruvian sun causes the water to evaporate and the salt is left behind. The workers then come by and pack the salt into bags and carry the 130lb. bags up the hill and put them on a mule or a truck today. They are able to create four different types of salt from industrial grade all the way to table salt. The site is amazing because there are at least a 1000 of these ponds down the mountainside. On the day we went even it was hot and there were still men and women working. It gave us an appreciation for our jobs. Our guide said they only made about $120 a month.

We had the opportunity to walk across the top rim of the mines and down the other side it was a great experience.

When you stop by don’t forget to try the roasted corn and fava beans they are a Maras specialty.

Maras Salt Mines
Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu, Peru

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