Day Trip to Moray & Salineras de Maras
If you have extra time in Cusco, a day trip to Moray and the Salineras de Maras is a good option. This trip will help get you acclimated to the altitude if you plan on climbing Rainbow Mountain or Laguna Humantay. The trip can be combined with the Sacred Valley tour or you can do it completely separate. If you chose to combine it with the Sacred Valley tour you will have less time in Moray and the Salineras, but if you are short on time this will work for you. Be prepared for some awesome views at Moray and the white wonderland of the Salineras!
Moray is said to be the agricultural lab of the Incas. It was here that the Incas experimented with and domesticated many wild crops including corn and potatoes. They have found soil from different parts of Peru just in this small area. The circled terraces have different microclimates at each level and the climate differs by 15*C (27*F) from top to bottom. There are a total of 3 circled terraces. If you visit on a day tour you’ll be able to walk all the way down and around the terraces (but not inside). If you decide to combine this tour with the Sacred Valley tour, you will only get a glimpse from the top and NOT go all the way down. It is better to visit Moray with a guide so they can tell you all about the history and uniqueness of these terraces.
The Salineras De Maras
This was by far my favorite part of the day. When you start driving towards the Salineras you can peek at the white wonderland from above. It is a collection of over 3,000 small salt pools nestled on the side of a canyon. It is neat to see that salt is produced in a completely natural way. This has been done since pre-Incan times! The salt pools are family owned and it is these same families who pick up the salt and pack it up for selling at the local markets. I highly recommend you try the chocolates with the Salineras salt sold all over Cusco. There is a small shop for souvenirs and bathrooms available at the entrance of the Salineras.
How To Get There:
You can get to the Salineras and Moray on a tour or on your own. If you decide on a tour, the cost will be S/30 ($8.90 USD). If you wish to get there on your own you will need to get a colectivo bus from Pavitos street in Cusco to Maras. This is the same colectivo that goes towards Ollantaytambo. If you ask the driver, they will drop you off on the way. At the cross road you can then hire a taxi to take you to the Salineras. Tip: Depending on the supply of taxis at the time you arrive, the cost will fluctuate. What’s the best option? The tour cost is very low and hassle free. In our opinion it is the best option for the price. If you are looking to spend an entire day here, then go on your own.
What To Bring:
Boleto Turistico/Cusco Tourist Ticket (for Moray Only). The Salineras are not considered part of the Cusco Tourist ticket. Entrance to these is S/10 ($2.97 USD) per person.
It is unbelievable the amount of things there are to do in Cusco, but Moray and the Salineras where a unique spectacle on their own. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss it!
In Peru you will find a very small amount of locals that speak English.
Download the XE Currency App to get live exchange rate info anytime, anywhere!
CREDIT CARDS AND BANKS
Cash is best for buying at local markets, street food or small stores as these do not accept credit cards.
ATMs are readily available.
We mostly used Banco De La Nacion while in Peru since this one allows us to take money out with out any fees.
VISA REQUIRED FOR US CITIZENS:
Visas will be given at time of entry into Peru. The length of approved stay will be determined by border officials when you enter the country and can range from 30-183 days. Be aware of the time they allow you to stay in the country. If you overstay, you will be fined and it will be a hassle when you try to cross your next border, specially if traveling by land. (This happened to us!)
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 month and have 2 free pages in the visa section when entering Peru.
(Make sure to check with your local embassy for visa updates.)
We decided to fly to Cusco from Lima since we had a predetermined date to visit Machu Picchu. You can also take a bus into Cusco. We would recommend using Cruz Del Sur for your travels. There are other buses less expensive, but we felt completely safe with them. They are the only ones we saw which go above and beyond to make you feel secure.
Breathalyzer tests are given to their drivers before starting their journey
Always have 2 drivers who must rotate every 4 hours
Video record all passengers traveling
A hostess is available for you 24/7 and attends to your needs on the bus
Meals are included like breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on your time of travel (the food is really good!)
You get a personalized screen to watch movies in Spanish with English subtitles
They can’t drive faster than 90kmph, there will be a screen showing how fast the bus is going (in some cases it even beeps when the driver goes over).
TIP: If you decide to buy your tickets with Cruz Del Sur, their website has the ability to change languages. For us, it defaulted to English, but if you can read Spanish or figure out the steps to book in Spanish, do it! Once their website is changed to Spanish, the cheap tickets will appear. You will have access to some seats being sold at a 50% discount! This obviously depends on demand and some planning on your end.
(In no way, did we get any commission or free rides with Cruz Del Sur to write this piece, we really loved them!)
We had heard mixed opinions about safety in Peru. Some cities seem to have more of a bad rep than others, but through out our stay we always felt safe. Even when riding on night buses. I was mostly concerned about all the road accidents you read about online, but if you book with a good bus company you should not worry. Just like in any other place in the world, use common sense like you would in any country. Make sure to steer clear of the roudy neighborhoods.