Visit Maras and Moray in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Just 31 miles Northwest of Cusco (Peru) lies Moray. Number 20 of 127 top attractions to visit in the Cusco region ranked by the Tripadvisor. A is a must see for everyone. First photographed in 1931, these particular ruins have been carved into the earth just about 100 feet deep or more.
The most popular theory is that this site once was an Agricultural Laboratory to the Incas. With sixty percent of the world’ stood crop originating from the Andes the theory seems to fit well. Pollen studies have proven that the earth from each basin was once imported from different regions in Peru. From top to bottom the temperature can reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit and with each level in these circular basins being 2 meters apart one would assume it was apart of these experiments.
On the other hand these ruins resembling a Greek amphitheater are also theorized to be used for religious rituals. The area’s calcified soil brings into question wether this was a natural process or something the Incas created purposefully. This area is also known to carry record of the least rainfall. It is still unknown why Quechuan people gather here annually for rituals and have done so for centuries, according to early Christian priests. It is suspected that maybe the possible water channels in the largest basin were instead used for “chica” or corn beer on special occasions.
Regardless of their ancient purpose these ruins are an experience you do not want to miss. The entrance fee of only 10 soles makes it a very affordable adventure as well. A bilingual tour with bus transportation can run you as cheap as 30 soles. You could also try out a mountain biking experience to Moray or even purchase your entrance fee along with the Boleto Touristico.
Just East of Moray you can find the small town of Maras which is famous for the Salineras or salt mines. The entrance fee of only 7 soles is muy barato (very cheap) and goes to supporting the local families who are also the owners of the salt ponds in the Salineras. The size of the pond allowed depends on the size of the family. With several hundred ponds there is a potential for families to maintain more than one.
These salt evaporation ponds have been in use since Inca times. A system of small channels were formed so water slowly flows to the descending ponds. When the water begins to evaporate the pond keeper shuts the channel and allows the pond to dry up. At this point the keeper removes the salt by scraping the bottom and sides before opening the channel again. As they are both relatively close the Salineras is typically included with the half-day tour.