Added by Hillary + Matt

The shimmering, terraced salt pans of Maras have been harvested by locals since the Incan empire - and continue to provide a stunning backdrop for visitors and photographers, alike.

Cascading down a hillside valley not far from Cusco, the nearly 3,000 salt pans at Salinas de Maras sit at an elevation of 3,380 m. Believed to have been created in the 1400s by the Inca, the historical site now operates like a co-op and preserves the ancient technique of harvesting salt by hand.

A natural spring feeds a salt rich stream into the pools, which are then opened and dammed individually as needed. Once the water has filled a pool, it must evaporate before the salt is scraped and harvested.

Visitors can observe and photograph the families as they harvest (typically in the dry season, May through November). You are also permitted to walk among the salt pans.    

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