Moray Ruins

Moray terraces

Nestled among the stunning Andes mountains, the Moray ruins are a fascinating ancient site in the Sacred Valley in Peru. They have intrigued researchers and travelers for a long time. The most remarkable feature of Moray is its three groups of circular terraces. These terraces have 12 levels, and the biggest one is an impressive 600 feet wide. If you go from the highest step to the lowest, it’s like descending 490 feet, which makes Moray one of the most captivating human-made places.

the history of moray archaeological site

Understanding Moray’s past is a bit like solving a puzzle. Because the Incas didn’t write things down, we have to piece together what we know. It seems that the lower six steps at Moray were built by people who came before the Incas, between the 6th and 10th centuries. Then, during the 12th to 14th centuries, the Incas added to it. They probably used Moray to grow different crops using it as agricultural experiments. From the 1930s to the 1970s, local communities even used the site for farming, After the 1970s the National Institute of Culture (INC) protected Moray and it is now is used as a tourist attraction, Moray isn’t just a historical site; it’s also a place where people love taking photos. It’s a must-see spot in Peru and one of the most Instagram-friendly places in Cusco.

Moray, a Picture-Perfect Spot

The Amazing Farming Place

Incas and Farming at Moray

Many smart people who study old things (archaeologists) think that Moray was like a big science experiment for farming. One clue is the clever way they made sure plants got enough water, using a system that brought water down from a high place in the mountains. Another interesting thing is that each step has a different temperature. It’s like they were testing which conditions were best for plants to grow. All of this shows that the Incas knew a lot about nature and how to use it for farming.

What Did the Incas Grow?

Even though they didn’t leave written notes, we can guess what the Incas probably grew based on what other people in the same area grew. They likely grew things like potatoes and quinoa, and plants from the Amazon that like milder weather. Corn was likely a very important crop for them because it was part of their special ceremonies.

How Moray Terraces Were Built

A Close Look at the Steps

Imagine carving out steps from the side of a mountain! That’s what the Incas did at Moray, and it’s really amazing. They built each step really strong, using rocks and dirt to make sure water could flow away. Researchers even think they brought soil from different places in Peru to make the steps even better for growing crops.

what to do in moray

Experience the temperature shift Standing at the entrance of the Moray archaeological site, you can truly grasp the scale of its design. The expansive view from the lookout point reveals the largest set of terraces, cascading 490 feet (150 meters) down to their circular base, where visitors below appear tiny. Descending with your guide, you’ll notice the distinct temperature change as you walk between each terrace level.

Best Time to Visit Moray

When to Go to Moray

Moray is located in the Sacred Valley, surrounded by mountains. The weather is generally cool, and it can be quite cold at night. Snow is rare, and temperatures usually range from 30-50°F (1-8°C).

Dry or Wet Season

There are two main seasons in Moray, just like in other parts of Peru. The dry season is from April/May to October. This is a great time to visit because there’s a lot of sunlight and not much rain. But remember, many people visit during this time, so it might be busier.

The wet season is from November to March. It’s called the wet season because there’s a lot of rain. This is when Moray turns super green and lush. It’s a special time to see it in a different way.

Breathing Easy at High Places

Dealing with High Places

When you go up really high, the air has less oxygen, which can make you feel not so good. This is called altitude sickness. Moray and Cusco are at about the same high place, so if you spend a few days in Cusco first, it should help you adjust. Still, it’s good to be careful. Here are some tips:

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Rest a lot.
  • Eat light meals.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Try coca tea, a special drink that can help.

adventure to Moray Inca ruins

Adventures Beyond the Ruins

Moray isn’t just for looking at old stone terraces. The area around it has lots of exciting things to do. Alongside exploring Ollantaytambo and the Pisac ruins, here are four fun activities to try:

1. Riding Bikes in the Mountains

Moray is in the amazing Sacred Valley, perfect for adventure seekers. One super fun way to see Moray is on a bike! You can go on a special bike tour, either with a guide or on your own. There are different paths you can take, each showing off the incredible views of the Vilcanota mountain range.

2. Exciting ATV Rides

Another cool way to see the Moray area is by riding on an ATV. These are like small, powerful vehicles made for off-road fun. The ride starts in a place called Cruzpata, not far from Cusco. It takes you to Moray and also to the Maras salt mines, which are like big natural salt ponds. This adventure always comes with an experienced guide to show you all the best parts and make sure you stay safe.

3. Riding Horses in the Mountains

Lots of people love riding horses around Moray. You can join a group in a place called Piscuyo, and then go on a one-hour ride up a hill. You’ll get to see amazing views from the highest point. Then, you’ll ride along a flat part and get to Moray. It’s a great way to enjoy the mountains and the fresh air.

4. Delicious Food at the MIL Restaurant

MIL is a special restaurant right near the Moray ruins. It was started in 2018 by a chef named Virgilio Martinez. MIL is a unique place because it continues the farming experiments that the Incas began so long ago. At the restaurant, you can try different, tasty dishes made with local ingredients. The MIL restaurant offers a special 2-3 hour meal with an 8-course menu that will definitely make your taste buds happy.

Don’t Miss Moray’s Magic

When you visit the Sacred Valley, you absolutely have to see Moray. If you have more questions about this place or anything else in the Sacred Valley, feel free to reach out. And if you’re ready for even more adventures in Peru, check out the top things to do in the city of Cusco.

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