The fourth and final stop on our Sacred Valley tour was to Moray. Unfortunately, we had limited time at Moray because we needed to get back to Cusco before rush hour traffic became extremely congested. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: The traffic (and pollution) in Peru is some of the worst I have experienced in my travels.
Moray is a humongous Incan site known for being an agricultural/crop laboratory. The Incas experimented with irrigation via aqueducts and growing crops at this site.
There are four circular terraced depressions at Moray. The first one that greets visitors is the largest and most well-preserved. I do not know how to describe the site other than it being very impressive. It’s another site where photos do not properly depict its size.
When you look at the above photo, you see the terraces but you probably didn’t notice the people. It takes going to sites like this one to realize that humans are only tiny specs on this planet.
As part of the Incas laboratory testing, they planted the same crop on multiple terraces to test the conditions (wind, temperature, and orientation to the sun) in which it grew best. The largest depression is 98 ft / 30 m deep and the temperature can vary by as much as 27 °F / 15 °C between the top and bottom terraces. The site is very clever.
The other three depressions served the same agricultural testing purpose only on a smaller scale (circumference and depth). I thought that all four depressions were in good condition, especially considering the damage caused by the unusually rainy season in 2010.
There are sections of the terraced walls in all four depressions that have either been rebuilt, are propped up with steel poles, or remain collapsed. Our guide pointed out restoration work to the terraced walls in one of the depressions but, to be honest, it didn’t look like any restoration work was underway or had been underway recently (like within the past several years).
Due to our limited time, we were only able to walk along the upper path that weaved between the four depressions. Aside from spending less time driving, if I could change one thing about our Sacred Valley tour day, it would be to spend less time at Ollantaytambo and more time at Moray. It would have been nice to walk around the lower path to get a different perspective from inside the principal depression.
Regardless, I recommend visiting this area as a must-do in Sacred Valley.
Note: Our day trip to Sacred Valley was on October 3rd, 2019 which is the very beginning of spring in South America.
- Motion sickness medication
- Hand sanitizer
- Sunscreen (apply liberally to your nose)
- BTC ticket (can be purchased onsite)
- Phone charging cords + portable power bank/battery
- Small day pack with a water bladder
- Camera (a proper one since this is a once-in-a-lifetime visit)
- Trainers/tennis shoes
Moray is a flat area that is exposed to the elements. We arrived as the sun was setting and it was very windy. These two things combined made for a chilly visit so bundle up!
Next, Palcoyo “rainbow” mountain.