All about Maras
Maras is a town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which was founded as a reduction of Indians by the encomendero Pedro Ortiz de Oué during colonial times. At that time it enjoyed prominence as a commercial route between Cusco and the villages of the valley and the jungle. For this reason it was declared 'Villa de San Francisco de Asís', built a church as well as several precincts and colonial palaces.
With the passage of time, the town of Maras lost the prominence of yesteryear. Today it looks like a forgotten place. However, its inhabitants still preserve many of the customs of the past. Definitely its great tourist attractions are the Salineras de Maras and the circular platforms of Moray. Its colonial temple and its doors are also famous. The visit to this town is included in the half day 'Tour Maras - Moray'.
The town of Maras is located 41 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It belongs to the province of Urubamba. Geographically it is 3,385 meters above sea level.
How to get?
The best way to get to Maras is by public transport from the city of Cusco. To do this, you must take a bus to the town of Chinchero and, from there, take a collective taxi to the town of Maras.
The 'Maras - Moray' tour includes the transport service to the town of Maras and all its tourist attractions.
The salt mines of Maras and the circular platforms of Moray are not the only tourist attractions in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. During your visit you can also visit the archaeological sites of Pisac, Chinchero and Ollantaytambo, considered important citadels and palaces in Inca times.
Map to get to Maras
The town of Maras
The town of Maras has narrow streets founded in the colony. At that time most of its temples, large houses and squares were built. Today, however, it does not enjoy the popularity of yesteryear. Even so, the town maintains many of its traditions in force, such as the Quechua language, spinning techniques, dances, festivals and more. The town and nearby communities, since ancient times, have been working in the hundreds of salt pools known as the 'Salineras de Maras'. In addition, only 10 kilometers away are the circular platforms of Moray, one of its main tourist attractions.
- The salt mines of Maras – The more than 2 thousand natural salt wells are the great tourist attraction of the town of Maras. The whole complex offers an astonishing landscape that captivates visitors. The salt exploited by the population even before Inca times. There the famous 'pink salt' is produced, which is commercialized in the main markets of the city of Cusco.
- The Inca platforms of Moray – In Inca times huge concentric circular platforms were built that served as a research center for the cultivation of different products such as potatoes, quinoa, goose and even the coca leaf. The whole complex offers an impressive view of this Inca archaeological complex.
- The colonial temple of Maras – The temple of San Francisco de Maras was built in the colonial era in order to catechize the inhabitants of the place. It has a simple colonial architecture but in whose interior its main altar stands out with sheets of gold leaf. It also has paintings from the 'Cusco school' made during the colony.
- The covers of Maras – These constructions were built during the colonial era and are distributed in various sectors of the town of Maras. The façades of the San Francisco Asís temple, the façades of the Main Square as well as other streets of the town stand out. The shields and reliefs on the covers belong to the Creole families that inhabited the place at that time.
How much does it cost to go?
The tours that include a visit to the town of Maras, the salt mines and the platforms of Moray have an approximate cost of 60 dollars per tourist.
If you come on your own, you can purchase the 'Cusco Tourist Ticket' for a cost of 70 Peruvian soles (about 20 US dollars on average). This ticket includes the entrance to Moray and other places of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The town of Maras owns is located on a plain surrounded by snow-capped mountains and imposing mountains. The temperature varies from a maximum of 21ºC. during the day to a minimum of 1ºC. at night. Rains can occur at any time although they are more frequent from November to March (especially in February).
Photos of the town of Maras
The landscapes that surround the town of Maras are incredible. The main peaks of the Sacred Valley of the Incas look imposing at the top. The snowy Verónica, Qaqawiñay and more stand out.
An adventurous alternative while visiting Maras is to choose a bike or quad bike tour. These services run through the town as well as the salt mines and the Moray platforms. They include transportation, guide, tickets and safety tools.
During your visit to the town of Maras, do not forget to bring a hat (or hat), sunscreen, comfortable shoes and a rain poncho since it can start to rain at any time.
Maras is located more than 3,000 meters above sea level. Because of this, visitors often suffer from some symptoms of altitude sickness such as nausea, fatigue and shortness of breath when exerting themselves. This is normal in people who come from low altitude geographies. It is best to drink plenty of water and acclimatize 1 or 2 days to the geography of the city of Cusco. This way your body will get used to the high altitude of Maras.