Salt Ponds of Maras, Peru

January 13, 2005

Marasperu400saltponds copy

Provided by: Len Sharp, Liverpool HS-Annex
Summary authors & editors: Len Sharp

Nestled in a side valley of Urubama Valley, alongside the mountain slopes of Qaqawiñay, is an area with more than 1,000 evaporating salt ponds called Las Salinas. The geographical region is known as Maras, Peru. Note the small narrow rivulet of water near the left side of the photograph. It's this channel of water that's especially saline and comes from deep within in the Andes. The production of salt is primarily carried out during the short dry season, and most of the work in the salt pond fields is still done solely by hand. A laborer will place “blocking material” at strategic spots along the rivulet to divert the flow from one pond to another. The water is allowed to “stand” in the pond, where it will evaporate leaving the salt behind to be harvested, bagged and hauled to market. Las Salinas has been a viable source of salt to the region for nearly a thousand years (Pre-Incan to present).

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