What to see and do in Maras Moray
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is famous for its archaeological sites and beautiful landscapes.
Among them, the salt mines of Maras and the terraces of Moray are less touristic sites than their neighbors, but really fascinating.
Here is my complete guide with all the practical information and tips for you to organize your visit, either on your own or with a tour.
The salt mines of Maras
The salt mines of Maras offer one of the most beautiful natural spectacles of the Sacred Valley.
If you know Pamukkale in Turkey, you will see that it has something very similar, but it is much bigger!
These salt pans have been used since the time of the Incas to extract salt with an evaporation process, from a natural source of very salty water.
Today there are more than 3000 water wells exploited by 800 families from local communities.
Access to the salt pans is limited so as not to damage them, but you can take fantastic pictures!
Visit Maras with a local community
Medialuna is a community that has developed community-based tourism activities to share their traditions with travelers.
They organize day or half-day tours, featuring for example chicha, traditional textiles, medicinal plants and their guinea pigs.
The full day includes a walk with Don Tiburcio through the salt mines of Maras. It is a different and very interesting way to visit the salt mines of Maras.
On your own
This is the best option to go to Maras and Moray without an agency.
Take a colectivo (shared cab) from Pavitos street in Cusco to the intersection of the highway with the entrance to Maras (10-15 soles per person).
At the same place where you get off, you will find cabs that can take you to the salt mines of Maras and Moray for about 50 soles (or 30 soles if it is only for Maras).
To return to Cusco, wait on the road for another colectivo to pass.
Take a bus from Cusco to Urubamba.
From Urubamba, take another bus to Moray.
You can also take a cab from Urubamba (40 soles to Moray, or 15 soles to Maras and Moray, per person, if you share).
Try to negotiate to include the return trip in the fare.
By private cab:
A cab from Cusco to Maras, Moray and Chinchero can cost about 100 soles per day.
How much is the entrance fee to Maras and Moray?
Moray is included in the tourist ticket and it is mandatory to buy it (130 soles per person or 70 for the partial ticket – valid only for 2 days). It is not possible to pay only the entrance to Moray.
Maras is not included in the ticket and costs 10 soles.
La Casona Real Cusco: for more comfort, I suggest this nice traditional style hotel located in a very quiet street, a step away from the Plaza de Armas. Very clean, hot water, good wifi, excellent reception, breakfast included, from only 30 € per night!
Hotel Tierra Viva Cusco San Blas: is a very charming hotel in San Blas. The rooms are quite spacious, very comfortable beds, nice modern decoration with some traditional elements of Cusco, an interior patio, breakfast buffet included, from 75 € per night!
Antigua Casona San Blas: here is a chic and intimate little hotel in the very center of the San Blas district. The rooms are very comfortable, its modern and traditional decoration offers a cozy atmosphere and the Piedra & Sal restaurant is one of the best in Cusco. Its excellent breakfast is included. From 140€ per night.
Palacio del Inka Luxury Collection: is a large colonial house located opposite the Coricancha and 5 minutes from the Plaza de Armas, has retained its authentic essence, with its large stone walls, interior courtyards and classic decor. It has a swimming pool, an excellent restaurant, a chic bar, and the Andean Spirit Spa offering traditional treatments. A hearty breakfast is included. From 180 € per night.
Staying in Ollantaytambo
Janaxpacha: This is the best option for economical lodging in Ollantaytambo. It is run by a young and friendly American-Peruvian couple and their lovely dog Molly. Simple, but nice, clean and with a good breakfast. Feel free to ask them for advice, they know the surroundings by heart and have given me several very good tips for excursions. Rooms from only 18 euros per night!
Inti tambo Hotel: if you want a little more comfort, this is a small hotel in a quiet area, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist streets, and don’t miss their terrace with a breathtaking view of Ollantaytambo’s big tourist attraction: the fortress! Rooms from 43 euros per night.
Apu Lodge: Located at the foot of Pinkuylluna and close to the main tourist sites of Ollantaytambo, this country-style hotel is ideal for a couple’s stay, thanks to its beautiful flower garden, its view of the mountains and its restaurant with the best pizzas in the region.