Maras is located 40 kilometers from Cuzco, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is located at 3,375 meters above sea level.
The Maras salt mine is a place known since time immemorial, and from which the Incas also benefited. It is worth remembering that the Andes have, in their geography, an incalculable wealth of flora, fauna and minerals; and if something was missing for organized societies to lead a life of privilege, they simply created it or looked for the scenarios where they could find what they needed.
The salt is dragged by a spring of temperate water, and directed by a network of small channels that lead it to the thousands of ponds, where the water rests and by a thermal process of evaporation leaves the mineral in its soil as residue, soon to be be picked up There are thousands of ponds where the water is stored, which carries what was called, by some societies of the past, "white gold" or "white sand". And in a very ingenious way they continue to build and restore these ponds that become terraces; being the seasons the ones that condition its production. Especially in the Andean winter, it is when the harvest becomes more prosperous, allowing a selection of its qualities, and after adding iodine it is ready for consumption. In life, salts are responsible for providing our body with the necessary minerals, and guaranteeing a good state of health.
Mother earth blessed those who lived in the sacred valley, giving them salt flats that sprout from approximately 4 seams of salt water. These were used by the first inhabitants of these valleys and by the Incas. Here you can see small constructions made of mud and adobe on the natural rock. It is also observed how the Incas made a store of that salty stone that is found on the salt mines that are still preserved today. Currently, there are around 3,000 salt reservoirs of 5 to 10 square meters each. The process begins with the filling of each tank every 3 to 4 days when there is enough sun and as soon as they are dry they are filled with water until there is a height of 10 centimeters of accumulated salt. The dried salt is then pounded with wood and the first layer that is scraped off qualifies for human consumption. The second layer is for animals and the third is for cultivated land.
The origin of this water remains a mystery that no one has been able to decipher. It is only known that they have been operating for thousands of years and that they benefit humble families in the Andes.