An off-the-beaten track tour to the circular agricultural terraces of Moray with their complex system of irrigation and terraces as well as the ancient saltworks of Salineras. A great addition to your trip!
The Sacred Valley is true to its name, a stunning area that combines all the natural beauty of the Andes with the incredible ingenuity of Incan industry. The Famous Valley is home to the town of Ollantaytambo with its imposing Inca fortress, and Pisac for its quaint market and impressive ruins, two of the most visited tourist sites in Peru and a must-see for most tourists.
However, equally worthy of marvel, although far less explored are the two small towns that lie in the middle of the Valley, between Pisac and Ollantaytambo – Maras and Moray. Passed over in favor of the more renowned beauties in the Sacred Valley, these two places provide the perfect chance to get off the beaten track and get more intimate with the Incan history.
Moray or (Muray, in Quechua) is an archaeological site approximately 50 km (31 mi) northwest of Cuzco on a high plateau at about 3,500 m (11,500 ft) and just west of the village of Maras. The site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several enormous terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 30 m (98 ft) deep. As with many other Inca sites, it also has a sophisticated irrigation system.
The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth, design, and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and the bottom. It is possible that this large temperature difference was used by the Inca to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. Speculation about the site has led to discussion about Moray as an Inca agricultural experiment station. Its microclimatic conditions and other significant characteristics led to the use of the site as a center for the ancient study of domestication, acclimatization, and hybridization of wild vegetable species that were modified or adapted for human consumption.
We will also be visiting the salt flats of Maras – a true hidden beauty of the Sacred Valley. Passing through green mountain after green mountain of rugged Andean terrain, you’d be forgiven for never seeing them coming. Lying in the middle of inconspicuous mountains, with sun reflecting on it as though they were snow, the salt flats will stun you with their beauty, shining out like white gold. Depending on what season you travel you can see pools of water in each section of the salt fields, shining like shimmering mirrors in the sunlight. Pass through and admire the white salt rocks against the background of green mountains, which provides you with as great a natural contrast you are likely to see anywhere in the world. Bringing your camera is a must for this trip, and you will have ample opportunity for a great photo.