Tour to Maras Moray, Salt mines tour half day
Description of the excursion.
This tour introduces to some of Cusco's most interesting Inca sites. The tour starts with a visit to the Colonial town of Maras and its church. From Maras we continue to the nearby Inca site of Moray, a magnificent series of terrace circles set into the ground that were once used by the Incas for experimentation with crops. Our final destination are the salt mines which have been in use since Pre-Inca times. Water from a subterranean stream is channelled through pools where it evaporates and leaves behind pure salt crystals. With thousands of stark white pools stretching down the valley, the views are stunning.
Departure : Every day, including holidays.
We leave from Cusco at 08:30 am. Our first stop is Maras, from which, we can get to the salt mines. The salt mines display a bizarre spectacle of beauty. Located on a wide-open hill above the Urubamba Valley, a natural salt water stream runs underground. In pre-Incan times, they have been evaporating the salty water from this stream in order to obtain the salt that gets left behind.
How it works: The highly salty water emerges at a spring, a natural outlet of the underground stream. The flow is directed into an intricate system of tiny channels constructed so that the water runs gradually down onto the several hundred ancient terraced ponds. The water, which is exposed to the sun, leaves salt on the land. Viewed from the peak, the myriad of rectangles look like an enormous painting designed by nature.
After visiting the salt mines near Maras, we continue on a short distance to the Moray ruins. The ruins are composed of three coliseums, which are thought to have been used by the Incas as a sort of open air crop laboratory. The coliseums consist of several enormous terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is about 30m/98ft deep. The purpose of these depressions is still uncertain but their depth and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C/27 °F between the top and bottom. This large temperature difference was possibly used by the Incas to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. The terraces are arranged in concentric circles and are reminiscent of an ancient Greek theatre.
In the afternoon, we will return you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Bus for 15 to 25 people
Professional tour guide
Lunch (optional-can be requested at least one day in advance - 30 to 45 soles or $14 aprox. )
Cusco Tourist Ticket - This ticket is required for the entrance to Moray
Maras entrance is an additional 8 soles ($ 2.5 aprox)
If you do not have a tourist ticket, it can be purchased at Moray
What you need to take:
Tourist ticket (included in price)
Sun protection cream (factor 35 recommended)
Waterproof jacket/rain poncho