The salt ponds of Maras, (40 Kilometers north of Cuzo), have been producing salt since pre-Inca times. The salt is obtained by evaporating water containing salts from subterranean streams which have been channeled to several hundred empty ponds, each one no more than 4 square meters in size with a depth of less than 30 centimeters on terraced hillsides.|
The salt ponds of Maras are a favorite stop for tourists making their way through Cusco’s Sacred Valley on their way to or from Machu Picchu. The tourists are usually in and out in less than 45 minutes and on the way to the next attraction. My first visit was like that too. I came with a group of three travellers I had met on a bus from Oyantaytambo to Urubamba. We shared a taxi that took us first to the Salt ponds near to Maras and then continued on to the Inca terraces at nearby Moray. That first visit inspired me to return and spend more time to photograph the salt ponds. A Fulbright grant which had brought me to Peru in the first place in February 2016, had as one of it stated goals that I would look into photographing ways of life and traditions from pre Hispanic times that continued into present day Peru.
The collection of salt at Maras was certainly one of these traditions.