I had read about these salt ponds, ones that weren’t near any ocean or sea. I had also read that you could walk there thanks to the blogs of some decent budget travellers. The journey took us three separate buses but for each we didn’t have to wait long before we left on this leg of the journey. We arrived in a small town called Maras in their town plaza. It was actually quite deserted which I guess made sense since most tourists would have taken tour buses to get to this site. I knew you could either walk up or down so obviously I planned it so we could walk down to it. We first needed to get a bite to eat and finally found the one restaurant which catered to locals.
After some filling but average local fare we set off on the 4 km hike, after of course asking where did the hike begin. We essentially were following a dirt road which eventually just became a dirt path. At one point, we came across some construction workers and they directed us on which way to continue.
We stumbled across a multigenerational family harvesting one of their plots of some crop – I believe choclo corn – the type with really big corn kernels that is quite tasty, with all their animals in tow that would get to eat the left overs of the harvest. We also came across a family herding their animals I guess to another place to graze.
At this point we came to a Y in the road and were unsure which direction to follow. I managed to run back up to where there were a few cows and what turned out to be an elderly man with a skin of fine brown leather. He simply said – directo, directo… Well I thought that doesn’t really help but we managed to guess what he meant and continued on.
The typical Peruvian cow we have seen – beef cattle I presume. Not sure what breed…
The views were amazing, (I couldn’t help but be reminded of the scene at the end of the Sound of Music where they are walking in a field in the Alps) being on mountain tops seeing a mosaic of crops, small relatively speaking plots of land, lots of terraced sections, using every possible space for growing something. We kept going down and down. Despite going downhill Mr. C5 needed to rest several times.
Finally we arrived after a very lovely and leisurely walk. And the pictures tell the rest of the story – check out more on the mainpage where I have a slideshow of the amazing Salineras. Enjoy. Next instalment – the saga of the journey to Machu Picchu.
Now for some rock formations we saw as we were less than a km from the ponds
and some plant life
I’m pretty sure this is a new coca plant – there were several individual ones that were clearly planted by someone.
and on the way down we saw what I thought was a gay pride flag but here this is the flag of Cusco
and some old tombs – a sacred place…click on photo to enlarge, they are at the base of the rocks…
And here are some typical houses and materials used in construction
And some more ruins around Ollantataymbo when I decided to take another walk after we got back from hike to salt ponds. The ruins can be found everywhere.
and a cow grazing on a terrace