Tim Foolery

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Maras Salt Mines (Ponds)

After our visit to the agricultural ruins near Moray, our driver brought us to a place he called (as did the concierge at our hotel) the Maras Salt Mines.  These aren’t mines, per se. They are more akin to salt ponds.

Salt has been harvested here since the time of Incan Empire. The principal is simple: water flows naturally through underground streams picking up salt in the process. The highly salted water emerges and is diverted into one of the dozens of ponds in the complex. Once the pond is sufficiently full, the water is redirected into a different pool.  The water then slowly evaporates over a series of days leaving behind only the salt, which is then scraped up, packaged and sold.

I had never visited a site like this and while I find the whole process interesting, I find the beauty of the landscape to be the real draw here.

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This definitely isn’t a draw in and of itself, but coupled with the visit to Moray it makes for a nice and relaxing side trip during your visit to Machu Picchu. Our excursion to both sites took about 3.5 hours and allowed get off hotel property for a bit.

When you visited Machu Picchu did you take some time to explore these sites? What other sites did you visit to the Sacred Valley? Have you seen Salt Ponds like this elsewhere in the world?


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