Maras: Salt of the Incas

A girl in the Maras: Salt of the Incas near Hotel Sumaq
View from the top of Maras: Salt of the Incas near Hotel Sumaq

Do you remember the last time you saw a landscape that took your breath away? Many places in the world can produce that effect on us, and it is precisely this feeling that leads us to pack our bags again and again to discover new places. Peru has a large number of incomparable destinations, and one of them is located in the province of Cusco, in the town of Maras. We are sure that you will find getting to know the salt mines of this place fascinating. 

The salt mines of Maras are located approximately one hour from the city of Cusco, on the slope of the Qoripujio mountain, at almost 3400 meters above sea level. This location was chosen because there is a nearby spring, which allows the ponds to have water even in the dry season. The more than 3000 salt pools that can be observed here are very popular, being valued by visitors and locals alike due to the beauty of the landscape and its history. There are myths about its origin, since this is still a mystery. One of them relates to the history of the Ayar brothers who founded the Tahuantinsuyo Empire. It is said that Ayar Kachi, the youngest son, was betrayed by his brothers and locked in a nearby mountain. He cried in such a way that his salty tears completely flooded the place and when dried, they left the salt that we can still extract today in Maras. 

Historically, this place is very important as it provided resources during the Inca era. It is known that salt was an indispensable ingredient in their diet; it was used to dehydrate and store food such as meat. Subsequently, its exploitation continued during the colonial days, and is still one of the economic activities of the people of Maras. 

If you will visit Machu Picchu, we recommend that you make a stop at this peculiar place. In addition to taking beautiful photographs of a unique landscape, you can discover the town of Maras– very authentic and tranquil. In addition, very close by is found the archaeological site of Moray, a large ancient Inca laboratory that is essential to visit. 

Would you like to know more about Maras or other nearby places in Cusco and its surroundings? Did you know that you can buy natural pink salt at this place? Leave us all your questions and comments and we will be happy to answer. If you require more information or would like to reserve a room at our Sumaq hotel, do not hesitate to write to; we will be pleased to assist you.