Salinas de Maras – A community co-op that pre-dates the Incas

The Salinas de Maras outside of Cusco, Peru.  These salt ponds pre-date inca times, and are harvested by families living in the community.  The co-op system in place also originates from the same era; in this system each family in the community has the right to control and harvest one of the salt ponds.  This is one of the few places in the world where pink salt can be found.  The red colour visible on the side of the mountain is due to it being rich in iron content.  As water flows down the mountain it picks up iron and other minerals.  The water collects in the carefully controlled ponds and evaporates.   Because of the iron content, this leaves the families with mounds of pink to reddish coloured salt.

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