The Sacred Valley of the Incas isn’t all about ancient culture and religion since it comprehends the main Inca settlements of the region before arriving at the famous citadel of Machu Picchu. However, there are two attractions that may have gone unnoticed but this doesn’t mean they aren’t as impressive as the others.
Maras and Moray are the living example of the engineering knowledge of the Andean people, a prevailing legacy that has been maintained until the current date.
Moray, for example, is composed of three groups of circular terraces used as an agricultural laboratory center by the Incas. Maras comprehends over 3,000 man made salt mines where some of them could date back to the 200 B.C. though it hasn’t been confirmed.
For those looking to get involved in the culture of the Andean region, this is the way to start. There are two options to get to Maras and Moray, whether you’re looking for a traditional tour or an excursion full of adventure and history as the ATV Quad Biking activity.
Here we’ll show you the most sought after option to visit the Salt Mines of Maras and the Archeological Site of Moray. Keep reading and find out everything about it!
As aforementioned, the Archeological Site of Moray comprehends several circular terraces built up in a way to optimize the cultivation of plant species thanks to the different microclimates generated by its composition.
It is believed that over 250 plants and vegetable species were cultivated in these platforms, which is why archeologists point it out as an “agricultural laboratory center.” Likewise, each group of terraces are perfectly irrigated by water channels that some of them continue functioning.
The Incas had an advanced agricultural and engineering knowledge that was certainly influenced by previous civilizations and the native communities that they incorporated to their growing empire. However, according to further studies, the site also had ceremonial purposes though it is unclear to confirm this theory.
The commonly known Salineras de Maras are a group of over 3,000 wells used for the extraction of salt. According to historians, these salt mines were previously exploited by pre-Inca civilizations, though it was during Inca times that they were intensively operated.
Archeologists say that some of them could date back to the 200 B.C. and 700 A.D. due to the finding of tools and other artifacts in the site. However, there is no actual record that confirms the theory, which is why the salt mines are usually attributed to the Inca culture.
Impressively, the Maras Salt Mines have been worked until the current date, and its owners have been the same families since colonial times. Each family has a certain quantity of pools and are worked by their members only, it has been a tradition passed from generation to generation, making it an entire family business.
The salt extraction process is carried out during the dry season, a natural salted water spring fills the pools, these are later blocked so the water can evaporate. The procedure is done every three days for around a month. Later they extract the salt and sell it to local companies who then later refine it and give them a percentage of the sales. Each salt mine can make up to 200kg of salt per season.
On this opportunity, you’ll be immersed in a back-in-time journey full of history, natural wonders, and ancestral engineering knowledge. We want you to feel comfortable, so we have prepared an exclusive itinerary where you’ll get to visit each site calmly so you can fully appreciate everything.
Our private Maras and Moray Quad Bike Tour can be scheduled for the afternoon or morning time, which is why we do not have a set timetable since we let our passengers choose the timing upon booking. However, no matter which schedule you take, the tour itinerary goes like this:
Pick up at Your Accommodation.
Once we’re all set up, we will continue towards Maras, a small town characterized for its colonial and Inca features. Upon arrival, our team will teach you to ride the quad bikes before starting the adventure.
Quad Biking Circuit (3-4 hours)
From Maras, our guide will take you through the most impressive natural scenery of the region before reaching the Huaypo Lagoon, a beautiful water body surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains.
In this location, we’ll take a break to contemplate the scenery and meditate. Later, our adventure will take us through a high elevation where we’ll be able to see the Chicon Mountain. Following the itinerary, our next stop will be the Moray Archeological Site to learn about the engineering knowledge of the Incas.
We’ll hop back on to the bikes to continue towards the Maras Salt Mines. Please note that if you want to enter the site, you must pay S/. 10.00 extra since the visit is not included in the price of the tour. Once we’re done with the excursion in the salt mines, we’ll get back to Maras town where our driver will be waiting to take us back to Cusco.
If you wish to experience this tour at its fullest, we have the perfect adventure for you. Keep in mind that you can organize your trip according to your interests, we are here to help you with any inquiry you may have, including assistance during your travel planning process.
The Maras and Moray Quad Biking Tour can be arranged upon request. Therefore, if you want to include it in your customized travel itinerary, please contact us. Our local expert team will make sure to optimize your time and adventure with a tailored-made travel plan for you.
Likewise, we care to provide the best experience to each and every one of our passengers, which is why we count with certified drivers, professional guides, and an all-time monitored car fleet with GPS tracking.
- Duration: 6 hours.
- Included: Transport, Cusco Tourist Ticket, english speaking guide, pick up at the hotel, an ATV Quad Bike per person, biking equipment.
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Cusco has many adventures for you and we'd love to show you everything about them! If you're planning the perfect itinerary through this magical region, don't miss this blog about the best 10 day trips from Cusco so you can make the most of your experience.