The Salt Flats of Maras

My love of postcards prompted me to visit the Salt Flats of Maras. I was browsing through the postcard rack at a shop in Cusco, Peru when I spied a picture of this incredible sight:

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I bought the postcard and then began figuring out how I could go see this incredible sight for myself. It involved an hour-long bus ride from Cusco and then a ride on ATV’s into the countryside, but once we got there, we had views of something much more majestic than what I saw on the postcard. We saw this:

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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The salt flats stretched as far as we could see along the mountainside!

The first thing our guide instructed us to do was dip our hands into the stream of water.

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It was very warm; the result of being a trickling stream that came from a hot spring beneath the ground. Then he invited us to lick our fingers. They were as salty as you’d expect by looking at these pictures of salt deposits along the edge of the channel streams. The salt is pushed up through the mountain and carried down into 1-foot deep salt pans that the Maras people have constructed to catch the flow of salt deposits.

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We happened to see a couple of the Maras farmers while we were there.

Our guide explained that only the Maras people can harvest and sell the salts. No one else can. It belongs to them. Naturally, we bought some pink salt and medicinal salt after we’d finished gazing out on the huge expanse.

It was another one of those incredible sights that we could only see in Peru. All thanks to a postcard I spotted in a shop.

Have you ever used postcards to influence your sightseeing?

11 responses to “The Salt Flats of Maras

  1. Wow, Juliann, you are right. That’s an incredible sight, and I would say an incredible enterprise. It wouldn’t surprise me if all the work is done by hand? Thanks for your willingness (and adventuresome nature) to go out and capture this. –Curt

  2. A pretty unique site which so few people will ever see for themselves Juliann. Thanks for the informative post.

    As to postcards, one of my short story collection started with a woman getting a picture postcard wrongly delivered to her house, setting her off on a trip in search of her youth.

  3. That’s an awesome way to start out a trip! You might have given me an idea of tracking some cool spots down now. Thanks for the read!

    • I’ve done it a couple of times. Sometimes I find a postcard of something that wasn’t in my guide books. And sometimes I use postcards to help me figure out the photo ops for a place. 🙂

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