From Cusco, we headed to a couple more remote areas of the Sacred Valley. Our first stop was the Inca ruins of Moray. We got there from Cusco via two colectivos (shared taxi vans). Peruvians have ride-sharing down to a science. When we got off the first colectivo at Maras Junction, another one was already there waiting to take anyone heading on to Moray.
The ruins at Moray are quite unusual. They are perfectly formed circular terraces. Although the purpose they served is not definitively known, I like the theory that they were used by the Incas to conduct agricultural research. And, there are some interesting facts that support this theory (such as the soil in the terraces being from the different regions of Peru).
From Moray, we took a colectivo to nearby Maras, in search of something to eat for lunch. No restaurants here, just street food. It was a Sunday, and it seemed the whole town was on the main drag, hanging out eating and drinking. As we approached, we were quickly invited to sit down and join them. The people were very welcoming and friendly (might have been due to all the corn beer they were drinking). Regardless, they made us feel welcome and it was one of those unexpected moments of connection that I cherish in traveling.
After lunch, we hiked from the town of Maras to the Salineras de Maras (salt mines). It took about an hour and the views along the way were spectacular. As if to remind me I was no longer hiking in Colorado, this is one of the first sights we saw heading out of town…
The path winds through farmland.
After about an hour, we made it to the salt mines. The Salineras de Maras are owned and managed by more than 600 families.
There are three types of salt extracted here: flower of salt, pink, and red. The first two are for human consumption, and the red one is for industrial, medicinal, agricultural and other purposes.
After visiting the salt mines, we continued walking onward toward our next destination. There is something liberating about traveling from one destination to another by foot, with nothing but each other and your packs. ❤️