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Mara Salt Mines: All you need to know before going there

Mara Salt Mines, known in Spanish language as “Las Salineras de Maras” are one of Peruvian’s main attractions for tourists going to the Sacred Valley. If you decide to head to the Sacred Valley on your way to Machu Picchu or on your way back to Cusco, you usually visit PisacOllantaytambo, Maras and Moray which are in the touristic circuit. You should definitely pay a visit to the famous Maras salt mines, located in the Urubamba province, approximately an hour and half from the popular city of Cusco. The salt mines have been fully operational from the pre-Incan times, it’s believed that they were constructed by the Wari civilization. Actually, we should call them salt pans since mines is not a proper word to describe them. They are thousands of pans filled with salt water which evaporates and leaves the crystallized salt in beautiful shapes. The members of the community in the area carefully scrape the salt crystals from the surface. Once all the crystals are scraped, the pans is once again filled with salt water. There are approximately 6000 pans in the area and they are managed by local families. 

As for June 15, 2019 Peruvian MaraSal S.A., which owns the salt mines, has issued a letter to tour operators and Peruvian tourism authorities, about the access restrictions for tourists, that can no longer reach the salty water pools for preservation and health reasons. Contaminants, such as disposable plastic, paper, hair, cigarette stubs have been found in the ponds due to the increasing number of visitors and this could be extremely dangerous since the salt from the mines is consumed and sold in Peru and abroad. So if you are planning to visit this charming site, your tour will end at the viewpoint where you can take beautiful pictures of the mines but you can no longer have a walk through the salty pools. 

Apart from the restrictions we can ensure that the visit is one of a kind, you will enjoy a charming scenery, you can stll see the salt ponds from the top and a have the opportunity to take stunning pictures. Before leaving, pay a visit to the souvenir shops where you can by Maras salt and bring it back home as souvenir, perhaps for your foodie friends. This salt is great for cooking, but it also has medical properties, it contains zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium and it is great to treat skin conditions and swelling.  

Cusco Machu Picchu Peru Peru Destinations Travel Tips

Machu Picchu for Disabled People

Reaching Machu Picchu is not so challenging as it was in the past for disabled people, and this is something important and essential in the XXI century. Machu Picchu has been considered one of the less accessible place in the world for yearsWe all know that visiting this special archeological site is once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travelers and now this wonderful place is finally accessibile to people with reduced mobility. So if you are a person with motor disability you can now enjoy Machu Picchu like anyone else.

As for the beginning of 2018 most of the spots in the ancient ciutadel were accessibile to people with disabilities, obviously not all the areas are accessibile, due to Machu Picchu’s geography and mountainous nature. However, you will be able to visit the site, to feel Machu Picchu special Energy,  to take great pictures and to enjoy stunning views of this world’s wonder. 

But let’s start from the beginning. To reach Macchu Picchu you have to do several stopsalong the way. First of all you need to get to Cusco from Lima, we suggest you to fly into Cusco, it is faster and easier. Lima’s airport is fully equipped for people with disabilities, as well as Cusco’s. Once you get there you have two options: spend the night in Cusco or be transferred to the Sacred Valley. This is actually a recommended choice if you prefer to avoid altitude sickness, which could bea n issue. Sacred Valley is placed at a lower altitude compared to Cusco, so you might prefer to spend the night there and relax before doing any tour or experience. There are several bus companies equipped for disabled travelers, or you can just take a private taxi to reach the Sacred Valley. Once you are in Ollantaytambo, you need to take the train to Machu Picchu Pueblo. Inca Train’s personnel can assist you getting on and up the train. Once you are there you have to make the last leg of the trip: the bus ride to Machu Picchu ciutadel. The bus is equipped for people with reduced mobility.

It would be advisable to travel with a support group or a travel buddy. Also, there are travel agencies specialized in customized travel packages for disabled people, in case you prefer to travel on your own. They are able to ensure all the assistance you might need.

In any case we suggest you to book in advance your train ticket and your Macchu Picchu entry ticket, at least three months before your trip. Also, try to book in advance your accommodation, especially if you are planning to travel in high season. Thease are the reccommendations we usually give to all of our travellers.

We can say that Peru is becoming a more inclusive tourism destination, and we couldn’t be happier and more proud for it.