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How to enjoy the Salineras salt mines on a budget?

Find out the cheapest and easiest way to discover Salineras de Maras for a unique experience, away from the crowds!

Salineras de Maras
Salineras de Maras

What are the Salineras salt mines?

The Salineras salt mines are a unique attraction in the Sacred Valley that predates the Inca civilisation. While they were originally constructed and developed by the Wari civilisation, the Incas saw the economic opportunity in harvesting the salt of Maras, and expanded the salt pans further up the mountainside.

The site offers an exceptional opportunity for travellers to engage in the extensive and unique history of the Sacred Valley in Peru, through a site that is still alive in the present day. Today there are over 6,000 salt pans near Maras, and each one is no more than 13 square feet and less than 1 foot deep. Each pan is owned and mined by a local family of the Maras community, and the salt is collected and sold in local shops or nearby towns.

What is the best way to access the Salineras salt mines?

Although no tour through the Sacred Valley is complete without a visit to the Salineras salt mines, the destination has become increasingly elusive due to limited tourist access and its remote location. While travellers can explore the salt pans on a guided tour and see captivating vistas for just 10 soles (about $3), accommodation and travel are the greater concern for travellers who’d prefer to visit this magical site in autonomy and not pile in with crowds of tour guides.

For camping-lovers, Salineras Ranch can offer a unique opportunity to enjoy a unique and immersive experience and understand the local area in more depth.

What is the best place to stay at an economic price point?

For an authentic and inexpensive experience, tourists can stay at the Salineras Ranch campsite and enjoy sweeping views and contact with nature on their trip to the salt mines. At just $30 a night, visitors to the site can enjoy full access to the valley and Urubamba River routes – at a location just ten minutes from the Salineras site itself.

The Salineras Ranch campsite offers the comfort of a hot shower and warm fire, as well as sublime views of the night-time stars. At Salineras Ranch, you can enjoy the nightly privilege of the milky way, seated around a campfire to observe with a telescope. The ranch always offers the option of a private dinner of homemade hamburgers around the flames - and not to mention the classic dessert of roasted marshmallows.

Hand-made burgers with local ingredients from the region

The location of the Salineras Ranch Campsite is its greatest asset: visitors to the ranch are fifteen minutes from the salt mines by foot and have unique access to the location from the early hours. Instead of rising at 4am in the morning for a coach from Cusco, campsite guests can enjoy a leisurely sunrise with the hummingbirds without compromising a private viewing of the glittering refractions from the salt mines in the morning light. While most tour groups pile into the location past 10am, campers at the Salineras Ranch can enjoy the site at its most authentic. While visitors are free to enjoy the mines without a guide this way and marvel in complete autonomy, the ranch also offers exclusive access to bilingual tour guides so that the mines can be enjoyed and understood in their full complexity.

For guests who agree that the best views are from the saddle, the ranch campsite also provides the perfect jumping-off point for horse-riding tours up the cliffs and along to the salt mines.

Celestial night sky views from the ranch campsite

What is the best place to eat during your stay at Salineras?

Visitors to the ranch have access to meals at the Ranch Restaurant with the team throughout the day. Both dinner and breakfast are available with the $17 Daily Menu package, offering an exclusive and intimate opportunity to acquaint yourself with Peruvian cuisine and traditions away from the crowds. Eating with our team is a discovery in the richness and color of Peruvian cuisine, as well as an education in the different roots of diverse cultures that influence its flavors.

A daily offering on the ranch

Able to accommodate nearly any dietary restriction or request, the Ranch offers menu options for every taste and lifestyle. The Ranch is happy to fully customize the experience of its guests with an understanding of their dietary preferences.

The Ranch offers intimacy for time spent among family and friends in any of its special restaurant spots. Each dining room can host one family and has its unique speciality. The river dining room is located beneath the shade of tree foliage beside the local stream, while the Picanteria offers an authentic experience of Peruvian Cuisine with views of the ranch horses wandering freely. Dining in the Pizzeria provides sunset views, while listening to birdsong. Finally, campers can also enjoy our last location down at the riverbank, with its outside kitchen and campfire. Salineras Ranch is the only place in Peru where guests can taste Aji de Gallina, observe horses and listen to the sounds of wild birds – all while being so close to the amazing Salineras de Maras.

Views of the picantaria

Other services at the Salineras Ranch that you can’t miss on your trip!

The advantages of staying at the campsite extend from its laundry services to its tent and sleeping bag rental. Guests on the site can take advantage of special discounts for extended stays, as well as the specificities of a stay on a family ranch: guests can request local guides for moonlight tour visits, far from the typical tourist trail. The ranch is attentive to the desires and whims of their guests and will do whatever it takes to realise their ambitions for visits to the salt mines.

Why not combine your trip to the salt mines with some of the immersive workshops that Salineras Ranch has to offer? After a horse trail up to the mines, you can always take part in an intimate Homage to Mother Earth experience or Chicha (corn beer) brewing opportunity to complete a trip that is more unique than you could find anywhere else!

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