On our trip to South America, we also had the chance to spend a day in the Sacred Valley. After an adventurous journey to Cusco, we had a driver take us through the Sacred Valley. Before getting to our hotel Casa Andina near Ollantaytambo we stopped at Chinchero, Moray and the Salt Mines of Maras.
Chinchero is about 30km away from Cusco. This small Andean village consists of traditional mud houses and many locals still follow up their traditions. When you walk up towards the village you pass many street vendors (you should definitely have one of the maize with cheese!).
There are still some ruins from the Incas. Both the main plaza and the ruins can be accessed only upon buying a ticket. There is a touristic ticket which allows for entry of several sites in the surroundings.
From Chinchero we drove towards Moray. This was to be honest the most exciting part of our day, as the roads were in quite bad condition because of the rain and so we got stuck in a mud paddle shortly before arriving.
With lots of endurance by our driver and the help of a group of motorcyclists, we managed to free the car again and could continue our way.
Moray is another Inca site situated on a height of around 3500 metres. It contains circular, terraced depressions. The different depths of depressions create a temperature difference of up to 15 degrees Celsius. This is why some experts speculate that Moray was used as a place to study climatic effects on crops.
We made our last and final stop at the Salt Mines of Maras. The Salt Mines are embedded in a huge mountain and look like huge mud beds filled with water. Obviously, their texture and colour changes depending on the time of visit.
To be honest I cannot explain you how excactly the salt winning works, but if you have the time you can have a guided tour that gives you a full explanation on it. Sadly, we just had a very short look at the Salt Mines as we were running late due to our little unplanned stop on the journey.
I thoroughly enjoyed our tour through the Sacred Valley. The sites are anything but touristic and the landscape of the Andes during our drive was just breathtaking. While everyone says Machu Picchu is the must-see on a trip to Peru, I think the Sacred Valley is indeed the true gem of this area and much more seclusive!