maras salt mines in peru

Visit the Maras Salt Mines and Ponds

We had the opportunity to take a wonderful half-day tour to the Maras salt mines in Peru, and I must say, seeing salt being harvested by local workers was something my husband and I will remember for a long time. You wouldn’t think that a tour of salt production would be anything to write home about, but the combination of the mountains and patchwork look of the salt ponds was really unique. Plus, the bus ride down was the most terrifying 30 minutes of my life so there’s that. Let’s just say I’m glad I waited to google “Peru bus crashes” until after we had arrived back at the hotel, safe and sound.

Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Ponds
Peru Salt Mines

Salt water springs feed the pools and during the tour, our guide kept telling us to dip our hands into the narrow, rushing rivers. He explained that the water should taste sweet like ice cream, but it was basically potent salt water. Being that I love to douse all of my food in salt — glorious salt! — I could have submerged my entire face and stayed there for a while, but that’s probably weird. We actually saw a little Peruvian girl dip her entire Coke bottle into the spring and fill it up to the brim, so hopefully she didn’t get too dehydrated later on…

Peru Salt Ponds Cusco
Peru Salt Tour
Peruvian Salt
Peruvian Salt
Peruvian Salt
Peruvian Salt Mines
Peruvian Salt Ponds

After wandering around the area and taking plenty of photos of the Peruvian salt, it started to rain and our thoughts automatically shifted to the bus ride back to the top of the mountains. When all of the roads consist of dirt and gravel and are as narrow as a small vehicle, an old bus taking a sharp turn during a downpour should seriously be illegal. Luckily the rain tapered off while we were purchasing bags of flour salt and pink salt (flour salt floats on top of the ponds and rose salt is underneath), then we snacked on massive kernels of corn, covered in salt, of course. And survived the ride back up.

Best Peru Tours
Cusco Salt Mine Tour
Cuzco Salt Tour

As you’ve probably realized from this post, I’m deathly afraid of heights, but I’m also a firm believer that you should step out of your comfort zone when you travel. Yes, I wanted to cry and scream and punch Brandon in the face while I was a passenger on that death trap (dramatic much?), but terrifying bus rides are basically inevitable no matter where you go. I rode up to Hitler’s Eagle Nest on a bus that enjoyed playing chicken with the edge of the summit, Brandon and I booked a horribly scary bus tour up to Delphi, Greece, and Machu Picchu required a bus ride, too. So. Many.

Are you afraid of anything when you travel?


Filed Under: Peru, Travel44 Comments
  • Chelsea

    These pictures are amazing!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Thanks, Chelsea! Peru was an awesome place. Can’t wait to vacation there again!

  • Amanda

    Gorgeous pictures! I was waiting for this post…and one other… :)

    I love heights, but I do not like crazy drivers. Especially ones who drive crazy on cliff-side roads. No, no, no.

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Hopefully I’ll post a few more times this month. Hahaha, who knows! :)

      I wish I liked heights. I have to shut my eyes and hold my breath every single time. Ahh!

  • LEE @ Modern Granola

    Such a cool post! Thanks for sharing this unique experience. The pics are incredible.

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Thank you!!

  • Olivia

    I’ve been there, it’s a seriously amazing site ! So unique ! Like, salt production in the middle of the mountain, nowhere near any ocean… Oh, and these peruvian buses… Worth the thrill, though.

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Definitely glad we went on this tour! And yeah… Peruvian buses. Haha.

  • Kelly

    Oh my goodness, what a cool experience! They look beautiful!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      The ponds were gorgeous. And so different than anything I’ve seen before!

  • Leonie

    Truly Amazing.

    Leonie ♥

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Thank you!

  • Rika – Cubicle Throwdown

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being scared of bus rides in Peru. I still think that’s the only time I’ve been terrified in my life!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Even my husband was afraid! What a scary experience.

  • Sonja Müller

    Great post! Glad you overcame your fear of heights. Was totally worth it ♥

    • Postcards from Rachel

      I’m not sure I’m completely over my fear, but we’ll see when I travel again. ;)

      Thanks so much for reading my blog!

  • Sophie

    This is incredible – I’ve never seen anything like it!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      It’s an awesome place!

  • Jamie @ Gunters Abroad

    I would be terrified too! I just don’t trust people sometimes! But it looks like it was definitely worth the terror. What an amazing excursion.

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Yes! That’s my biggest problem… trusting that people can actually drive! Especially when they’re on the edge and taking corners at a fast speed. Arggghhhh. I just close my eyes and hold my breath…

  • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

    This looks incredible! What an amazing place to visit!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      It really was amazing!

  • Carlos Rodríguez

    I enjoyed your post.

    Regards from Ecuador

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Thanks, Carlos!

  • Elizabeth Georgian

    Wow that looks lovely! Your instagram photos from Peru were so amazing

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Thanks, Elizabeth! It was such a unique country. I’d love to go back! :)

  • Rachel

    This looks SO cool! I hate scary bus rides right on the edge! Aaah freeky!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      They’re the worst! And it seems like every tour we plan involves a scary bus ride!

  • Gemma

    This looks really interesting. I’m obsessed with the idea of going to Peru, but it had never occurred to me before to go to the salt mines. I have to admit I’m not convinced because of your mention of the buses! I agree 100% in stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks, but I’ve read a lot about the bus crashes in the past and..yikes!

    Well done for taking on the challenge (and surviving)! Great post.


    • Postcards from Rachel

      The bus ride was SUPER terrifying, but I’m glad we went. I just closed my eyes for that part of the ride. ;)

  • Shannon P

    I’ve always wanted to go to peru! It looks so interesting :)

    • Postcards from Rachel

      You’ll love it there! A ton of tours and fun things to see.

  • Valerie

    This is so different from the things I’m used to see in Europe. What a fascinating world we live in! There are so many places to go to and explore. Peru is one of these places for me. <3 xx

    • Postcards from Rachel

      It really was a unique place… and the food is pretty amazing. :)

  • Khushboo

    I have a friend from Peru and she always talks about it. I have always wanted to go there!

    By the way you have a beautiful blog and beautiful pictures!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Thank you! Can’t wait to check out your blog.

  • Caitlin’s Super Natural

    Your pictures are so stunning! Thanks — I learned something new today :) I sure didn’t know that this was how salt was harvested!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      Thanks so much Caitlin. It was pretty crazy to see. You definitely need to plan a trip to Peru soon. :)

  • Megan C. Stroup

    This is so fascinating! I’ve seen photos of the salt flats in South America, but never the salt mines. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica

    Ooh how neat! Didn’t know this existed in Peru.

  • kepandaian
  • Emily Eckstein

    My boyfriend and I are taking a trip to Lima and Cusco Pero next summer. We’re planning a trip to Machu Pichu, but these salt mines look cool too! Where in Peru are they? I wonder if we could squeeze it in…

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    Salkantay Trek Map

  • norman

    Ah…I loved the salt mines in Maras. Looking at your pictures I feel like I was lucky to have had wonderful sunshine during my visit ( BUT even on an overcast day it seems beyond pretty! :)