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How to get to Salinas de Maras from Cusco

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How to get to Salinas de Maras from Cusco

About 6km (4 miles) down the main road toward Ollantaytambo (northwest of Urubamba) is the amazing sight of the Salineras de Maras-thousands of individual, ancient salt pans that from unique terraces in a hillside. The mines, small pools thickly coated with crystallized salt like dirty snow, have existed in the same spots since Inca days and are still operable. Families pass them down like deeds and continue the backbreaking and poorle remunerated tradition of salt extraction (crystallizing salt from subterranean spring water)

The famed terraced Inca salt pans of Salineras are still in use and also take advantage of a natural phenomenon: The Inca dug shallow pools into a sloped hillside. The pools filled with water, and upon evaporation salt crystallized and could be harvested. Maras is a striking salt extraction complex. The locals still remove salt from the pans in much the same way as they have for thousands of years. Neither site keeps opening hours or has an admission charge, but how to get to salinas de maras from cusco? They´re difficult to reach, and almost an impossibility during the rainy season. You can access it via a bridle path. The easiest way is by taxi or public transport from Chinchero to the village of Maras. You can also hike to Maras from Urubamba, which takes several hours. Ask locals for the best route. And yet another way is via horseback or mountain bike from either Cusco or Urubamba.

 

How to get to Salinas de Maras from Cusco 

Many tourist ask how to get to salinas de Maras from Cusco. Actually, is very easy, to get to the salt pans, take a taxi (USD$2) to a point near the village of Tarabamba; you can either have the taxi wait for you or hail a combi on the main road for your return. From there, it´s a lovely 4km (2 mile) walk under a huge sky and along a footpath next to the river. There are no signs; cross the footbridge and bend right along the far side if the river and up through the mountains toward the salt pans. As you begin the gentle climb up the mountain, stick to the right path to avoid the cliff-hugging and only incheswide trail that forks to the left.

 

When to Go

The valley has increasingly taken on a dual personality, depending on the time of day, day of week, and month of the year. Every Cusco travel agency offers a day tour of the Sacred Valley, that include a visit to the Salineras de Maras. You can almost always sign up for one of these tours at the last minute-even early on the morning of the tour- especially if you´re here in the September-to-May off season.

 

Where to stay & eat

  • Inka´s House. Located in Uurbamba has become buffet-kunch central -it´s the midday stopping point for the organized Sacred Valley day tours-but this second-floor restaurant on the main road in the center of town is the best of the bunch.
  • Hospedaje Los Jardines. An extensive remodeling and refurbishing has given a much-appreciated spruce uop to a longtime budget favorite in the center of town. Five rooms populate a rambling house behind a wall on a quiet street. All have hardwood floors, tile baths, and attractive Venetian blinds. Lovely wood headboards and dressers and armoires fill each room in this entirely no-smoking property.
  • Hotel San Agustín. The San Agustín, part of a small Peruvian hotel chain, is the quintessential two-in-one lodging. On the main road is a modern hacienda-style hotel with gleaming rooms, modern services, and all the comforts you coul desire. Up the hill is the converted Recoleta, a 16th-century Franciscan monastery with a cavernous dining room; guest rooms with hardwood floors, white walls, and Cusqueña paintings, and a bell tower with great views of the valley.
  • Sol & Luna Lodge & Spa. A lovely addition to the Sacred Valley of the Inca, this hotel has bungalows surrounded by flower gardens. Nearby are the Perol Chico stables, where you can book trips through this beautiful valley on the stable´s famous Peruvian caballos de paso. The Viento-Sur Adventure Club at the hotel also offers paraglidingng, biking, and walking tours.
  • La Casa de Barro. Chinchero now has lodging in the form a cute hotel in an odd location. The "house of adobe", with its ochre walls and eucalyptus-wood roof merits consideration. Rooms have wood floors, bright spreads, drapes and throw rugs, and big windows with views of the valley. Some come with their own small balconies.
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