Hiking From Moray to the Salt Pans in Maras

April 13, 2015 Updated: April 13, 2015

After our hikes in Ollantaytambo and Pisac, the entrance to the Sacred Valley, I planned another hike as preparation for the Inca Trail the next day. This scenic day hike took us from the colonial village Maras to Moray where we visited the mysterious circular terraces of the ancient Incas, then back to Maras from where we continued hiking to the famous Salt Mines and then all the way down to the Urubamba river. Moray is located on a plateau at an altitude of 3500 meters, so this turned out to be a great acclimatization hike through stunning landscapes.

We were not sure whether we could buy any food on the way, so we first had an extensive breakfast in our hotel. After breakfast we went to the Urubamba bus terminal and took the bus to Maras. About 15 minutes later our bus broke down and we all had to get out, yeah these busses do definitely not have the same quality standards as in Europe. We were standing on the street next to the bus not knowing what to do: wait for the next bus, wait till the bus is fixed, start walking …

Hiking Trail from Maras to Moray (Freya Renders, Holiday Nomad)
Hiking Trail from Maras to Moray (Freya Renders, Holiday Nomad)

Fortunately after a couple minutes a collectivo on its way to Maras passed. We didn’t bother to ask the bus fare back – only 2 Soles per person – and just paid another 2 Peruvian Soles per person for the collectivo to Maras where we arrived about 30 minutes later. The collectivo driver wanted to drop us off in Moray for another 15 soles but we decided to take the hiking trail as we wanted to have as much practice as possible.

We were very happy that we had breakfast in the hotel, cause everything was closed in Maras. There weren’t a lot of people on the streets either, the whole town looked deserted. To get to the hiking trail: start on Plaza de Armas and stand next to the police station with the yellow building at your back; go straight ahead up the main street and take the 4th street on your right and keep going straight ahead, after about 10 minutes you will reach the hiking trail. The hiking trail to Moray is clearly indicated with white arrows so you cannot get lost.

Although there were some clouds when we started, it turned out to be a beautiful and sunny day. The trail to Moray went up and down and also included some quite steep climbs. Along the trail we enjoyed the impressive landscapes.

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After about an hour hiking we arrived in Moray. Entrance to the archeological site is included in the Boleto Turistico. Some people believe that these terraces were an agricultural experiment from the Incas. The terraces have a temperature difference from 15 degree Celsius from top to bottom, so it is believed that the Incas used these terraces to plant different crops in order to find out which plants grow best in which temperature.

Circular Inca Terraces (Freya Renders, Holiday Nomad)
Circular Inca Terraces (Freya Renders, Holiday Nomad)

I guess we will never know for sure but in any case, these terraces are very beautiful and fascinating. We walked around the terraces, they might seem quite small on the photo but they were actually huge. The whole surrounding felt very peaceful. What would it have been like to live around here during the Inca times? After about an hour, we hiked back to Maras. There were quite some people on the trail with a bike. I found out it is quite a popular trip to bicycle from Moray to the Salt Mines in Maras.

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This article was written by Freya Renders and originally published on Holiday Nomad. Read the original here.