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Maras Salt Ponds: How and When to Visit

the wells of the Maras salt mines

The Maras salt mine has more than 3,000 small ponds or pools for the salt to be extracted, which stretches down the slope of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, near the city of Cusco, Peru. These ponds have been used since pre-Inca times to obtain salt through the system of channeling salt water that comes from a natural spring. The salt water evaporates due to the heat provided by the sun, leaving salt crystals in the osa, which are later collected manually by the local inhabitants of the community of Maras, who still keep the ancient tradition alive. 

During a trip to Peru, one of the most impressive and enjoyable visits is to visit Salinas de Maras. It is a wonderful site to visit in the ancient Sacred Valley of the Incas.

lady walking on the side of the wells

How to get to Maras Salt Ponds?

The Salina de Maras is located about 50 km from Cusco, in the province of Urubamba. There are several ways to be able to read, depending on your budget, time, and preferences

Established tour

It is the most comfortable and convenient, because it includes transportation, tour guide, entrance fees, and other services. These tours fit the visit of Salinas with other attractive places of the Sacred Valley such as Moray, Ollantaytambo or Chinchero.

a young woman organizing her tour

Public transport

It involves first taking a collective transport or bus from Cusco to Urubamba, which takes approximately 1.5 hours and then you must take another transport from Urubamba to Maras, which takes a time of 30 minutes. Finally, from Maras you can walk about 4 km to the Salinas, the bed lasts about an hour, if you take a taxi or motorbike the time is 15 minutes.

public transport that travels to Maras

Taxi or private vehicle

This option is the fastest and most customized, but it has the most cost. You can hire a taxi or private car from Cusco to Las Salinas, which you can get to in 1 hour, or from Urubamba, you can get there in 30 minutes. There is also an option to rent a car in Cusco and drive it yourself, considering that the road is narrow and has many curves.

cusco taxis


This option is to be able to go on an adventure and more ecological, this option is not the fastest, it also requires more physical demand. If you opt for this option you can rent a bike in Cusco or Urubamba and follow the route that passes through Chinchero, Moray and Maras until you reach Salinas de Maras. The trail is mostly downhill, but with steep and rocky sections. It is recommended to bring plenty of food, sunscreen and helmet.

man riding a bicycle

What is the best time of the year to visit the Maras Salt Ponds?

To be able to make a visit to Salinas de Maras it is recommended between April and November, in general, the sky remains clear and the weather tends to be drier. This facilitates the production of salt. Where the heat of the sun is perfect for the water to evaporate from the ponds or wells, that way the salt shows its whiteness in a striking way.

It is advisable to avoid the rainy season, as during this time the conditions may not be favorable to visit. 

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