- Encounters with locals
- Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
- Place or Historical Monument
- Off the beaten track
The Salt Flats of Maras are incredible. Whilst the sun bathes the valley in its orange light, and these pools of immaculate white appear suddenly in front of our eyes, it is impossible to not be fascinated by them, to not want to understand why and how they are there. If you have had the brilliant idea of following the Inca trails in the sacred valley, this is a must-see during your trip to Peru. You will not be disappointed.
Whether you be lovers of landscapes from the edge of the world, history, culture, ancient architecture or other things, the salt flats are well worth the trip. It is basically a source, 3200m above sea level, which has given birth to a stream of sodium chloride, stuck thereafter in pools on the side of the mountain. It has the advantage of its size in a region so far from the sea! However, it is then difficult for the local people to transport bags of salt on their backs...
The sacred valley is truly mind-blowing. It offers you an innumerable amount of things to discover, to such an extent that it could be the main highlight of your trip to Peru. Amongst other curiosities you must visit: the Maras salt flats.
Nestled in the Urubamba valley, the village of Maras is picturesque with a truly magnificent landscape. You will see something unexpected when you get to the salt flats - they are on the side of a mountain! It is truly a sight to behold, with the colour gradation, the salt flats and the 'andestre' vegetation being superb. This abundance of salt so far from the sea actually comes from a water source full of sodium chloride.
There is a magnificent panorama from the heights of the salt flats, which is a great place to take photos. I wowed my hosts with them during a memorable evening toasting the holidays with pisco.
The salt evaporation ponds at Maras, located at the centre of the Urubamba Valley, constitute a site unlike any other in Peru. The dozens of terraces here, which are used for salt production, are irrigated by a saline spring that rises up from the mountain.
This creates a particularly unusual landscape made up of a harmonious blend of rice terraces and salt ponds, which reminded me, strangely, of a palette of water colours ranging in tone from ochre to white, depending on what stage the salt harvest had reached.
In addition to the wonderful views you get of Maras from the neighbouring mountain, I also found it enjoyable walking at leisure amongst the salt evaporation ponds, which gave me the chance to observe the different salt crystallisation stages at closer hand. In short, this is a site not to be missed in my opinion!
I was really impressed by Maras, well known for its salt-evaporation ponds dating from the Pre-Inca period. I remember the striking panorama of all these salt terraces in the hollow of the valley. The town is accessible from Cusco, but I went there from Ollantaytombo on my way back from Machu Pichu, which allowed me to spend a day visiting, before heading back to Cusco.
In Maras, we can still see a lot of labourers, some quite young, busy on the terraces, extracting salt from the ponds. I was moved by the fact that this site, built in Pre-Inca times, is still being worked by a lot of families today. You can walk along the terraces, amidst the ponds.
In my opinion, Maras, along with Moray, which is close by, are places to be seen in this part of Peru.