- Hiking / Trekking
- Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
- Archaeological Site
- Place or Historical Monument
- Off the beaten track
Do you dream of new discoveries during your trip to Peru? Welcome to the Sacred Valley! You will find the splendid Moray terraces among the sites in the area that are full of mystery.
As they are so unique, there are the subject of many a conspiracy theory: enthusiasts of the paranormal have even posited the theory that it was the landing site for flying saucers. Today, we think that this natural amphitheatre was used to recreate and study a number of microclimates. The complex irrigation system and fertile soil support this theory.
Apart from its ingenuity, the beauty of the spot left me speechless. Don't hesitate - go! I combined this visit with a trip to the Maras salt flats for a really pleasant walk.
Visiting the Moray Terraces, which lie in the valley that links Cusco to Machu Picchu, gives you the opportunity to see what the farming system developed by the Incas was like. Though the site looked relatively small to me when I first saw it, I did end up enjoying the fact that you can easily walk from the top to the bottom of it and thus compare the different perspectives you get at each different level.
Children will enjoy climbing up and down the steps of the ingenious Inca staircases, which is why I have no hesitation in recommending this as somewhere for families to visit when staying in the Cusco region.
No crops were being grown on the terraces when I visited Moray and, covered in grass, they weren't really at their most impressive. I wish I could have seen them in use like in the time of the Incas, with a different crop variety planted on each level.
I'm guessing you'll be adding Cusco and the Sacred Valley to the list of places you intend to visit in Peru. Truth is, this really is a must-visit place. And even if it is very popular with tourists, it absolutely merits seeing. So, what do you do once you've arrived here and are looking for a wonderful walk to do, one that's not too difficult yet has something amazing to offer in terms of cultural sites to visit? The answer is the Moray and Maras trek, which will be absolutely ideal for you!
As you've likely already realised, the two outstanding highlights of this walk are the magnificent Maras salt mines and the incredible concentric terraces at Moray, which both date from the Inca era and are both set amid a quite amazing landscape. Suffice to say, I absolutely loved doing this walk. Surprisingly, the path is quite easy to locate and this hike can easily be done on your own.
The itinerary: you'll find a path that ascend up to the salt mines from Urubamba. This part of the walk takes about an hour. Alternatively, you can set out from Chinchero instead, though the route is considerably longer. If you do choose this option, you'll be pointed to a track that leads from Chinchero to the village of Maras, from it where it continues on to the terraces. If you're the more intrepid type (and if you rise early enough), you can extend the walk to Ollantaytambo. Otherwise simply head back to Maras, from where you can catch the bus to either Cusco and Urubamba, depending on your preference!
Moray, an ancient farm dating from the Inca period, is still intact today. I recall images of this remarkable place composed of a whole series of circular depressions.
I really appreciated my visit to Moray, combined with the one to Maras, as they enabled me to understand and conceptualize sites dating from an ancient era, and bearing distinctive Inca features. The micro climate generated by the layout of these terraces left me awestruck. The centre, at a lower level, retains more heat than the terraces above, thereby enabling cultivation of different crops. Ingenuity at that time, was already highly developed.
I chose to get to these sites from Ollantaytombo, on my way back from Machu Pichu, thereby saving time, instead of having to return to Cusco. In my opinion, two sites you must visit in this part of Peru are Moray and Maras, close by.