Salineras de Maras

The Sacred Valley

Salineras is among the most spectacular sights in the whole Cuzco area, with thousands of salt pans that have been used for salt extraction since Inca times. A hot spring at the top of the valley discharges a small stream of heavily salt-laden water, which is diverted into salt pans and evaporated to produce a salt used for cattle licks. It all sounds very pedestrian but the overall effect is beautiful and surreal.

To get here, cross the Río Urubamba over the bridge in Tarabamba (about 4km down the valley from Urubamba) turn right and follow a footpath along the south bank to a small cemetery, where you turn left and climb up a valley to the salt pans. It’s about a 500m uphill hike. A rough dirt road that can be navigated by taxi enters Salineras from above, giving spectacular views. Tour groups visit via this route most days. A taxi from Urubamba to visit the Salineras and nearby Moray costs around S120. You can also walk or bike here from Maras. If it’s hot, walk the downhill route from Maras and arrange ahead for a taxi pickup.

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