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Moray Ruins in Cusco

In the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the ruins of Moray, a place with agricultural terraces that, at first glance, look like amphitheaters. These concentric terraces were built by the Incas as an agricultural laboratory. Each of its terraces has its own microclimate, according to the depth at which it is. In total there are 3 circular complexes that are highly visited by tourists.

Where is Terraces of Moray located?

The ruins of Moray are located 7 kilometers from the town of Maras in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You get there on a road trip from Cusco of approximately 50 kilometers. The altitude of the enclosure is 3,500 meters above sea level (11,482 ft).

To get to Moray in Cusco, you must follow a detour on the main road that connects Cusco and Urubamba. While some people decide to go on their own, the best option is to get a tour package that includes transportation, tour guide, and entrance fees.

Moray etymology

Like many other Cusco place names, the word Moray comes from Quechua. There are several versions about the origin of this term. On the one hand, there are those who say that it is a contraction of the words Muyu (round) and Uruy (below or in the lower part) and on the other, those who attribute it to terms such as Aymoray (corn harvest and month of May ) and Moraya or Moray (dehydrated potato).

The importance of Moray in Peru during the Inca period

When you walk through the different archaeological sites of Cusco, you will find the famous Inca terraces, an example of the great architectural capacity of this empire.

The platforms distributed throughout the Sacred Valley, including those of Moray, were used as an agricultural research center. Each of them has a different temperature, so they could sow different types of products. Thus and according to studies, in the Terraces of Moray the Incas managed to cultivate more than 250 types of vegetables.

To irrigate this entire area, they implemented complex hydraulic systems. In addition, at the bottom of the platforms they developed a method with which they managed to store and reuse rainwater.

But some scholars of the Inca Empire speak of Moray in Peru as a center also dedicated to astronomical observation and the prediction of meteorological phenomena.

Location and weather

As in the rest of Cusco, in Moray there are two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

During the dry season, the average daytime temperature is 20ºC, while at night it falls to 1ºC. In the rainy season, the days have an average temperature of 21 ºC and the nights, 7 ºC. However, in the rainy season the roads are more muddy and, on some occasions, access can be difficult.

What am I going to see in ruins of Moray?

  • Beautiful landscapes: The set of platforms that make up Moray are visually beautiful to human eyes and, of course, to the lens of a camera. Many people come there to take the postcard photo and post it on their social networks.
  • Circular platforms: The circular platforms of Moray in Peru were a very important place for Inca agriculture. It is believed that it was a center for experimental studies that the Incas used to sow products that in other conditions could not be cultivated.
  • Adventure sports: There are tours to the Terraces of Moray that include adventure by bike or even ATV. These services can be obtained at any tourism agency located in the Historic Center of Cusco.

The routes to get to Moray in Cusco

The Archaeological Complex of Moray is located 57 km northwest of Cusco. To get here you have different options:

  • Excursion from Cusco: the most common and most used way by tourists who arrive in Cusco and want to visit Moray is to hire an excursion. In the Plaza de Armas in Cusco and in its surroundings you will find countless tourist agencies that offer this Sacred Valley tour, usually combined with a visit to the Salineras de Maras and other archaeological sites.
  • Visit by ATV: an unforgettable option to visit Moray (and Maras) is to do it by ATV. Some of the agencies that you will find in Cusco offer this adventure with which you can travel a part of the Sacred Valley driving this vehicle yourself until you reach the archaeological complex. The duration of the tours to Moray in Cusco, either by ATV or by bus, is at least half a day.
  • Taxi: if you prefer to get to this destination on your own and without so many people, a very good option is the taxi. This alternative is perfect if you are traveling in a group of four people, since this means of transport is cheap in Peru and the price, divided between the four passengers, is quite affordable.