Cusco and the Sacred Valley Sights

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Moray and Salineras

Moray and Salineras Review

Scientists still marvel at the agricultural technology the Inca used at Moray. Taking advantage of four natural depressions in the ground and angles of sunlight, indigenous engineers fashioned concentric circular irrigation terraces, 150 meters (500 feet) from top to bottom, and could create a difference of 15°C (60°F) from top to bottom. The result was a series of engineered mini-climates perfect for adapting, experimenting, mixing, matching, and cultivating foods, especially varieties of maize, the staple of the Inca empire, normally impossible to grow at this altitude. Though the technology is attributed to the Inca, the lower portions of the complex are thought to date from the pre–Inca Wari culture. Entrance to Moray is included in the Boleto Turístico.

The famed terraced Inca salt pans of Salineras are still in use and also take advantage of a natural phenomenon: the Inca dug shallow pools into a sloped hillside. The pools filled with water, and upon evaporation salt crystallized and could be harvested. It costs S/5 per person, but is well worth it. They're difficult to reach without a tour, and almost impossible during the rainy season. No public transportation serves Moray or Salineras. A taxi can be hired from Maras, the closest village, or from Cusco. Alternatively, it's a two-hour hike from Maras to either site.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Maras
  • Cost: Moray: Boleto Turístico, Salineras: S/5
  • Location: Moray and Salineras
Updated: 11-30-2012

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