This ain’t sea-side, folks. This is ancient salt mine located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Yep, the salt has been harvested from these ponds for generations since pre Incas time on 3,400 meters above sea level.
Where does the salt come from? The salt is harvested from the evaporation of super-saline ground water. The salty water which comes out at natural outlet is directed by a channel system to flow into these square ponds, making it organized for the farmers to harvest. That was the explanation I got from our knowledgeable guide, Justino. He was so awesome! Gracias!
If you spend some time in Cusco, this place is worth a visit. It is about 40 minutes drive from downtown Cusco. You will be spoiled by the grandeur of The Sacred Valley vista. It was rainy that afternoon when I visited Maras. But, hey… you could warm yourself up with some munchies. From the parking lot to the salt ponds there would be a small craft market, which also sell roasted salted-corn (have I told you that corn kernels could be sooo HUGE in Peru?! LOL) and varieties of nuts. That what kept me warm! They sell varieties of salt products as well (cooking salt, bath salt) and they were all at a very reasonable price. Highly recommended!
That day I got to learn on how ingenious the civilization that once lived there at the ancient time. Earlier on that day, I also visited Moray archaeological site (yes… right before I met the Urubamba girls!) and I would like to refer that site as an ancient agricultural lab for the Incans. And in Maras, they had the idea and technology of channel system to make the salt mine works. Until now I kept on thinking on how awesome was that!
Us, humans, were so blessed with knowledge and wisdom. Let us cherish that, people.