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Moray

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Terraces of Moray Urubamba  Peru
Sustainable Farming Ahead of its Time Urubamba  Peru
Moray Archaeological Site Urubamba  Peru
El Parador  Urubamba  Peru
Dona Juanita + Sacred Valley  Urubamba  Peru
Moras Salt Beds, Peru  Urubamba  Peru
Majestic Moray - Simply a Must! Urubamba  Peru
Visit Moray Urubamba  Peru
Terraces of Moray Urubamba  Peru
Sustainable Farming Ahead of its Time Urubamba  Peru
Moray Archaeological Site Urubamba  Peru
El Parador  Urubamba  Peru
Dona Juanita + Sacred Valley  Urubamba  Peru
Moras Salt Beds, Peru  Urubamba  Peru
Majestic Moray - Simply a Must! Urubamba  Peru
Visit Moray Urubamba  Peru
Terraces of Moray
Tours of the Sacred Valley, and the entire Cuzco area, often feature side trips through gorgeous landscapes like Moray, an archaeological site with remarkable concentric agricultural terraces. It’s believed the Incas used these terraces—on which temperatures vary 59 degrees Fahrenheit from the top tier to the bottom—as a way to acclimatize non-regional crops for highland cultivation. Even if you don’t find that fascinating, it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty of the spot, and given that this part of Peru is not so heavily visited, it’s a nice escape from the beaten path. The Boleto Turístico covers this admission.

Sustainable Farming Ahead of its Time
When I realized what took place on this location hundreds of years ago, it left me breathless (quite literally). Wonder and awe crept into my mind trying to imagine the Incas inventing the concept of a crop laboratory built into terraces. This advanced culture possibly experimented with different weather and soil conditions looking for the best conditions for a crop to thrive.

While at first glance they might remind you of a Greek amphitheater, these elliptical levels allowed each height to provide variances in soil, temperature, water and shade. Traces of over 250 grains and vegetables have been identified in the area.

Moray Archaeological Site
This splendid Inca site, which was used for both agricultural and ceremonial purposes, is an incredible introduction to the offerings of The Sacred Valley. The terraced bowl-like ruins were believed to be used in studying varying climates and how certain crops would respond to those climates; essentially making it a large agricultural laboratory.

Many tour operators in Cusco will offer a stop at Moray but if you're looking to go on your own find a colectivo (Which is a small bus or van where the passengers all split the cost).

Colin Roohan traveled to Peru courtesy of PromPeru, Travcoa, and LAN as part of AFAR’s partnership with The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. Hear more about Colin’s journey on the USTOA blog.

El Parador
This restaurant and event facility near the Moray Archaeological site is certainly special. The venue is only available by reservations and is an incredible place to host an event. On clear nights you can star gaze then warm up by a fire, pisco sour in hand. Pictured here is the Peruvian dish called Causa, a potato based dish that was one of my favorites. It is light and creamy and bursting with savory flavors (The same owners run Inka Grill, MAP Cafe, Pachapapa, Incanto, Greens Organic, and Limo in Cusco for more convenient options).

Colin Roohan traveled to Peru courtesy of PromPeru, Travcoa, and LAN as part of AFAR’s partnership with The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. Hear more about Colin’s journey on the USTOA blog.

Dona Juanita + Sacred Valley
Dona Juanita, a q'ero shaman, walking out of the sacred site of Moray after a ceremony honoring mother earth.

Moras Salt Beds, Peru
Every traveler to Peru heads straight to Machu Picchu, but Peru has so many other geographic and architectural wonders to offer. The Moras Salt Beds, located about an hour or so outside Cuzco, are one of those offerings. I might have actually been more amazed by them than by Machu Picchu or anything else I saw during my month spent traveling around the country.

Majestic Moray - Simply a Must!
There are a number of theories in the Western World about the intended purpose of this majestic Incan site (agricultural research, elevation-related analysis, irrigation experimentation, portal, etc.). Regardless, it's evident in the acoustical engineering and sheer magnitude of Moray that it was incredibly significant to those who designed it, and it's nothing short of a "must-see" for anyone traveling between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

A visit to Moray was a rather serendipitous side-trip recommendation from my driver, while I was en route from Cusco (where my flight arrived) to Ollantytambo (where I was to catch the PeruRail train to Machu Picchu Pueblo). The entire site was literally empty, leaving ample opportunity for one-of-a-kind photos and once-in-a-lifetime exploration of the entire area. It was also a great way to break up the long car ride, as there was plenty of hiking involved going up and around the many layers. If time permits, tag on a quick stop to the Salineras de Maras, not too far away, and you'll have a vacation full of stories to share before you even make it to Machu Picchu.

Visit Moray
Visit Moray for another unique ruin experience. We biked through some amazing scenery to get to Moray, but you can also drive there. Moray consists of three areas believed to be used by the Incas as an agricultural laboratory. You are free to walk around Moray, and as you make your way down the terraces, you can feel the temperature drop. There's a lot of open space surrounding Moray, which makes it a great spot for a picnic lunch.

Maras, Peru