The Maras salt mine, dug into the side of the mountain high above the Sacred Valley, consists of more than 3000 small ponds fed by a salt stream that comes from high in the Andes. Each pond is owned by a different family and provides them with an income during the dry season. Ponds are passed down in families. Solar evaporation takes 1-2 weeks depending on the weather.
If you look towards the top of the hill in the next photo you’ll see the Sky Lodge - a recent innovation advertised as sleeping among the condors. Several large domes perched on the side of the hill provide accommodation- all you have to do is climb 400m to the top. Fortunately they have zip lines for the descent. If you look in the bottom right you’ll see hikers starting the ascent. Not for the faint of heart (me)!
As well as the precautions I mentioned in my last post for preventing altitude sickness there is also coca - in the form of tea, leaves, and candies. There is no scientific evidence to suggest it helps but it can’t hurt!
We had a beautiful lunch at a lagoon and of course they had a pet alpaca. Doesn’t everyone?
And I’m still trying to figure out the difference between alpacas and llamas.