Located just 90 minutes from Cusco, within the Sacred Valley, the Maras salt ponds are a popular destination among visitors exploring Inca culture. To ensure the salt ponds exist for future generations to experience, new access restrictions have been introduced, limiting visitors to the general viewing platform instead of walking between the pools.
These new rules are to both protect the structures, and for health reasons as the ponds are still actively mined, producing salt used in Peru and around the world for culinary and medicinal reasons.
The salt mines, or the famous "salt pools" of Maras are located in the rural community of Pichingoto. This site is highly recommended for photography lovers because of its impressive landscape that stretches out in all of its splendor. It is also perfect for hikers and mountain bikers, since this trail connects the salt mines with the villages of Tarabamba and Pichingoto.
Highlights of this area include the Moray archaeological site, a sort of amphitheater formed of various circular terraces. Also worth visiting is the Sanctuary of Tiobamaba, a colonial church built of adobe that houses paintings from Cusco such as The Last Supper.
30 miles northeast of the city of Cusco
the Maras Salt Mines have an entrance fee of S/.10.00 soles.
The Cerro Sacro, in Maras, offers world-class hang-gliding and para-gliding. Here, adventure lovers can fly between 10,000 and 13,000 feet above sea level. You can also sail through the heavens in hot-air balloons, taking in the spectacular vistas. Near the Maras salt mines is a very interesting biking route that descends to the Urubamba Valley.