Tours online are generally around $100+ to get you to the Maras and Moray tourist spots, but it’s really unnecessary when you can take shared taxis or a collective (shuttle) and spent a fraction of that just to get to these locations and spend as much time as you want without rushing. If you take a roundtrip taxi from a hotel, it’ll cost around 180 soles.
From Cusco, (about an hour) you can take a shared taxi (15 soles) or collectivo (shuttle – 5 soles) going the Urubamba direction to Maras. Then you take another taxi to the Salineras right at the Maras stop (10 minute drive), or you can walk an hour into it. Roundtrip cost me 35 soles, but I’m sure you could get a better deal with more people going the same direction into the Salineras. To get back to Cusco, I took a collectivo (shuttle) at the Maras stop for 4 soles to get back to Cusco.
From Urubamba (Sacred Valley – 20 minutes or so), you can just take a collectivo (shuttle) to get to the Maras stop to take another taxi to the Salineras.
When you take the taxi into the Salineras, take the roundtrip route, and the driver will give you 45 minutes to walk around before taking you back to the Maras stop. When I say “stop,” it’s really just by the side of the road. There’s no specific markings that makes anywhere a specific bus stop. If you dare, you can also try your luck at hitchhiking. Going from Urubamba to Cusco was where I first hitchhiked because the collectivo missed my stop at Pisaq. It seems to be quite common here, and not too big of a deal.
With the shared taxi from Cusco, I was able to get the driver to stop by to pet the llamas and alpacas on the way into Urubamba. They let me feed the alpacas, and watched a brief demonstration on the process of wool making and dyeing.
Salineras de Maras
The salt mines in Peru is where the Incan people created an irrigation system that directs natural salt water flowing from the mountain to these terrace ponds, where it takes about a month to evaporate and harvest salt from.
It’s 10 soles to get in the salt mines at the ticket counter. You can also purchase different types of salt (cooking, medicinal, industrial, agricultural) at the stalls by the saline’s. They also have delicious chocolate with bits of pink salt of Maras that is absolutely delicious, and also fried plantains for sale.
The flowing salt water is so salty that dipping a finger in, you’ll see the slight crystallization form on your finger immediately as it dries.