A Salty Treat

Feeling pretty comfortable with the combi system we decided to visit the salt pans at Salineras de Maras, near Chinchero. I think my Mother got another taste of our travel style as I tried to discuss with the driver if we could walk from the drop off point or if we needed to pay for a taxi. It was decided that we could walk, as it was not too far so we swiftly walked past all of the calling taxi drivers when we disembarked.

DSC04167WAs it turns out we misread the signs a little and it was 4 km (2.5 miles) to the town where you turn, not to the salt pans. From there it was another 5 km (3 miles) or so.

DSC00728WDespite a long walk along a dusty road, the scenery turned out to be absolutely spectacular. We were rewarded for our adventurousness with stunning views of golden valleys, whitecap mountains, and local farmers.

It was encouraging to see some buses pass us as we were not always entirely positive that we were going the right way. Of course the control booth eventually came into view and we made our final descent along a very windy road to the salt flats.

The flats themselves were quite fascinating and more beautiful than I had anticipated, especially as the light began to fade.

We all dipped a finger in the water channels running among the flats and agreed that it was the saltiest water that any of us had ever tasted. The water comes from a very salty spring that is distributed over many shallow pools. The water then evaporates leaving the salt that is then sold as a local artisanal product.

DSC04191WYou had to be quite careful walking among the flats as the borders were narrow and sometimes slippery,

DSC04194Wbut it was so interesting to be able to see the salt forming up close. In many places it looked exactly like ice forming.

DSC04199WWhen we finished our self-guided tour, covered in dust and quite tired, we decided that maybe we could spring for a taxi just back to the combi pick up point.


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