Salineras de Maras – A field day   Leave a comment

Saturday 27 September 2014

After all the excitement in Machu Picchu we’d like to grant ourselves a rest day in Cusco – maybe go on a little excursion to the salt ponds near the town of Maras in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, come back early, write some posts and postcards, explore more of Cusco and so on.

All the organised tours leave at 8.30 or 9.00 hrs, which is a bit too early for us on our day off, so we decide to get to the site ourselves – it shouldn’t take long, as there are plenty of colectivos going from Cusco to Urubamba and they can drop us off at the junction to Maras. And that’s what we do.

A few pictures from the road –

Avenida del Ejército in Cusco

Towards Miraflores on the outskirts of the city

It will be a long ride to Nasca, our next destination

Oops – we should have checked the weather forecast…

Our Taxi Colectivo (because we shared it with two other passengers) – otherwise it would have been a taxi privado for double the price

The road to Maras

Oh, oh…

Two kilometres in, a dirt road branches off to the salt ponds –

Important strategic information has been removed from the sign…

I think that we can avoid following the road and getting dusted by the passing tour buses and construction trucks by finding our own way through the beautiful valley.

Initially it doesn’t look too difficult

We enjoy the scenery

But then the path turns into a water channel…

… and peters out in a field above the inaccessible gorge – we have to turn round and climb up to the plateau again.

At least there are plenty of animals about and their shepherds confirm that there is indeed a camino to the Salineras.

We just hope the weather holds…

At some point we are at least able to see our destination –

… unfortunately there is still a barranco between us

We meet another herd and the boys assure us that we are on the right path

… and sure enough, we’re getting nearer

Still, every attempt to get closer ends at a steep edge above the valley. In the end we have to return to the dirt road and follow it the long way down.

With hindsight we should have walked a bit further on the road at the beginning and taken the left-hand side of the valley. So if you happen to be in the area and fancy a gentle stroll, take our advice and opt for the Maras side of the glen…

At least we get fantastic views of the site

The Salineras have been worked since pre-Inca times by evaporating salty water from a local subterranean stream

Although the walk has taken us many hours more than intended we both feel that it was worth the effort.

Our plan is to continue to the bottom of the Sacred Valley and the Río Urubamba on foot

The path is narrower than it looked from above

View up the valley

Then we take the track to Urubamba

Peruvian Trail Rider

There he goes… I’m not envious, not a bit…

Brick production line

Río Urubamba

While we walk towards the main road, a local taxi comes along

Not that we are knackered – but we wouldn’t want to miss this special experience…

We get out at the bus terminal in Urubamba and immediately find a colectivo which is about to leave to Cusco. The sun goes down and shows the impressive landscape in the most beautiful light.

It’s already pitch-black when we arrive in Cusco; we still have to organise our onward journey to Nasca the following day and find something to eat. Strangely enough, we feel rather invigorated by our epic ramble, even walk the two kilometres to the Terminal Terreste, get a good deal, book our seats and catch a city bus into the historic centre, where we have a pleasant and well-deserved feast.

Ok, maybe not your typical rest day – but another great adventure to remember.

Posted 30 September 2014 by Pumpy in Peru, The 2014 Rucksack Trip

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