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How to See Salt Mines in Peru: A Guide In Photos

There are salt mines located about a 10 minute drive from Ollantaytambo, my town in Peru. Technically, the town they’re located in is Maras, but the mountains take up so much room that they’re more like Maras-adjacent. However, these salt mines are so famous in Peru that in the store we have bars of chocolate made with specifically “sal de Maras,” meaning salt from the salineras profiled here.

Salineras 11

I went with a friend, and it was a stunning sight. The immense amount of salt actually looks kind of like ski hills, and the tons of salt they hold is mind-blowing. Apparently the deposits were formed when a lot of water was moved to the area a long time ago. The piles of crystals are a unique attraction in the area, and make for a great way to spend a few hours. Luckily, the long walk there is also memorably beautiful for visitors of all ages..

How to Get There From Ollantaytambo

  1. Go to the main food market, a big building off of the main plaza; just ask around as to where the “mercado” is.
  2. There will be a couple of vans waiting in front of the market to pick up people to take to the town of Urubamba or all the way to Cusco— take one of these vans, called “collectivos,” and tell them that you are headed to Terrabamba. They’ll let you know when your stop comes up, or if you want to be super-clear, tell them that you are headed to Las Salineras.
  3. After 10-15 minutes, the driver will tell you to get out, you’ll pay him s/.1,20 ($0.40) a person for the ride, and you will head down the path on your immediate right. You’ll pretty immediately pass over a bridge, and at the end you’ll pay another s/.10 ($3.25) a person to get in. They will stop you to ask for payment; workers are wearing uniforms. It is a 20-40 minute hike to get there, with some pretty hard uphill, but some beautiful spots to stop and catch your breath.
  4. You may be tempted to stop as soon as you see the salt mines themselves, but continue on up and walk over the salt mines until you reach some stores. The best views are from up there, and you can also buy some cute souvenir bags of salt from there. But beware, it is still just salt. I also snagged some artisanal soap and a Peru shot glass for my collection.
  5. Now enjoy the photos.

The Salineras

Salineras 1Salineras 2Salineras 4

Once you finish the hike, you’ll start to see the mines, or deposits.

Salineras 5Salineras Looking AwaySalineras 7

Outside of the mines, on the walk back? Still stunning. Enjoy the sunshine & views after a visit to the gift shop.

Salineras 8Salineras 9Salineras 10


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How to visit & what to expect at the Salineras de Maras (Salt Mines of Maras) in the Sacred Valley of Peru, from someone who actually lived there! | #Sacred #Valley #Ollantaytambo #Maras #salineras #Salt #mines #mine #Travel #Peru #activities #must #see #daytrip #cheap #hike #beautiful How to visit & what to expect at the Salineras de Maras (Salt Mines of Maras) in the Sacred Valley of Peru, from someone who actually lived there! | #Sacred #Valley #Ollantaytambo #Maras #salineras #Salt #mines #mine #Travel #Peru #activities #must #see #daytrip #cheap #hike #beautiful

Would you visit a salt mine? HAVE you visited a salt mine?

 

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Michelle

Thursday 21st of June 2018

So glad I came across this a month before my trip to Peru! I’m in Cusco for 1 week and would love to go here one day! Just wondering, should I drive from Cusco to ollaytaytambo and then continue the way you posted? Or would it be better to drive from Cusco straight to Las sarineras? Sorry that I am not familiar with the distances....but would love to go here! Thank you for sharing :-)

Max

Thursday 21st of June 2018

Hey, Michelle! If you're driving I'd recommend stopping in Ollantaytambo beforehand for a bit of a rest and to check into your hotel/guest house. It's about a 2-3 hour drive!

Emma | Luxurybackpacking

Monday 27th of November 2017

I've seen these salt mines on Instagram lately and Peru has been on my bucket list for a long time! It's amazing how many different colours there are! Thanks for sharing.

Max

Monday 27th of November 2017

Really? I'm glad they're getting more popular-- they're truly stunning in person! Definitely head to Peru soon, and see all of the Sacred Valley. Thanks for reading!

Jewels

Sunday 26th of November 2017

I would love to visit this salt mine. I've only been to one in Krakow, Poland, it was an amazing experience. That's cool you live close to such a site!

Max

Sunday 26th of November 2017

I would love to visit more salt mines! On the surface (ha!) it seems like a boring place... but once you see photos? You realize it's visually stunning. I'm looking forward to seeing where they harvest salt in Korea, soon! Thanks for the comment. :)

Restless Heart Blog

Sunday 26th of November 2017

I wouldn't want to be caught barefoot walking on this beautiful terrace!! It does look special, I had no idea they produce salt in Peru :)

Max

Sunday 26th of November 2017

Ouch! I would not recommend you to walk there barefoot, either! Talk about pointy. I also had no idea they produce salt in Peru, until one of my co-workers coerced me into checking it out. It's so much cooler in person!! If you make it to South America, be sure to visit a salt mine. Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador... they're everywhere! Thanks for reading. :)

Kate

Sunday 26th of November 2017

It's the first time I've read of this salt mine and wow, the photos are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Max

Sunday 26th of November 2017

Thank you! I had a gorgeous subject to work with. I'm glad you found this to be an interesting read. ^^