After visiting the Moray archaeological site, Antonio drove us to our final location, the Maras Salt Ponds. To get down to the salt ponds, we had to drive on a narrow unpaved dirt road right along the cliff. The salt ponds are on the other side of a U shaped valley and one can get a full panoramic view of the Maras Salt Ponds a little after entering the road to the entrance to the ponds. Antonio stopped the van and let us enjoy the panoramic view before driving us the rest of the way to the entrance.
When we arrived at the entrance to the ponds, we still had to walk a bit to get down to where the actual ponds are. Walking down was easy but walking back up was a bit taxing. Alex lead us first to a small opening on the side of the mountain where the warm brine spring flowed out of the mountain, which eventually gets collected in the salt evaporation pools via diversion channels. This small natural brine spring has been the source of salt here since before the Incas.
The evaporation ponds are all owned and maintained by members of the community as explained by Alex. The ponds that we saw all had different colors, some more reddish and some brownish with the vast majority containing white as snow salt crystals. Alex wanted to take us further along the path to the further ponds, but my parents and I decided to just enjoy the salt ponds where we were. We were not missing anything by going further down the trail other than maybe burning more calories.
Before leaving, I stopped at one of the vendors and purchased three kilos of salt which were produced in the ponds. 1 kilo bag was pinkish salt which we were told was best for grilling and the other 2 kilos were just plain white salt. The vendor also had brownish salt which I was told is for bathing but since my parents and I don’t take baths, only shower, I did not buy any of the brownish salt. For the three kilos of salt, I paid 13 Peruvian Sol after I negotiated a discount for buying 3 kilos. Each 1 kilo bag normally costs 5 Peruvian Sol.