Cusco is the tourist center in Peru and among the most visited attractions are the wonderful tourist and natural center of “Moray and the Salineras de Maras” located in the district of the same name in the province of Urubamba. In this blog we will give you a guide to get to the Maras salt mines and the Moray terraces of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Moray is a Quechua word and names a sector occupied by the peasant communities of Misminay and Kaccllarakay. It is a system of concentric terraces built in three gigantic holes located at different levels. The largest hole contains 12 circular terraces with variable diameters, whose approximate depth is 100 meters. Each terrace has walls of artificial irrigation canals and drains. It is said that this place, in the time of the Incas, was a center for agricultural experimentation; It was possibly a center for the production of seeds from different climates, since the arrangement of its platforms produces a gradient of microclimates, with up to 20 microclimates that allowed the cultivation of more than 250 plant species.
Moray is a kind of amphitheater made up of terraces one on top of the other that offer us a truly fascinating spectacle.
The archaeological remains of Moray are located 7 kilometers from Maras, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 38 km northwest of Cusco. It is possible to get to Moray through the road that starts from the town or directly from a detour from the main road Cusco – Urubamba.
For scholars of this place, Moray was possibly an Inca agricultural research center where crop experiments were carried out at different heights. The arrangement of its platforms produces a gradient of microclimates, with the center of the concentric circular platforms having a higher temperature. and gradually reducing towards the outside at lower temperatures, thus being able to simulate up to 20 different types of microclimates. It is believed that Moray could have served as a model for calculating agricultural production not only in the Urubamba Valley but also in different parts of Tahuantinsuyo.
The platforms, built on retaining walls filled with fertile soil and watered by complex irrigation systems, allowed the cultivation of more than 250 plant species. These platforms served as an Inca agricultural laboratory to experiment with their crops.
Moray undoubtedly contains a history, wisdom and scenic beauty.
2.- Salt Mines of Maras
I visited the Salineras de Maras (in the Sacred Valley), where salt is produced in a totally natural way accompanied by a beautiful landscape. There are approximately 3,000 small salt pools of various sizes where the salt water that emerges from the “Qaqawiñay” mountain is stored during the dry season between June and October. The wells are filled with water every three days so that the sun evaporates the water and the salt remains. Currently the salt mines belong to the community of Maras, they use it for their consumption and export it to several countries as a gourmet product.
Las Salineras de Maras is a highly recommended natural area for lovers of landscapes and photography. It is also ideal for the practice of trekking and mountain biking that many operating agencies offer.
This town, located between the hills of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, is close to the mountain of Weqey Willka, a place where, according to legend, Ayar Kachi, the smallest of the Ayar Brothers, would have been locked up, who arrived at the Cusco to found the Empire of the Incas.
How to get to Moray and Salineras de Maras?
The only way to get to these two splendid attractions is by taking a tour at a tourism agency or if you want to do it freely you can take a taxi service that will take you from Cusco to the Archaeological Center of Moray and the maras salt mines.
Recommendations to Take into Account
- Buy entrance tickets to Moray and the Salineras.
- Take altitude sickness into account.
- Bring your passport or DNI if you are a foreign or national tourist, respectively.
- Light clothing.
- Take some candies or nuts for the road.