Andean Explorations – 19: Moray and Salinas

This post is part of my Peru travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery

“Middle of Nowhere”: You might have heard this phrase, but I have actually been there!

I wanted to go to Moray and I asked my driver to let me off at the appropriate spot. He did. I got off the bus and he sped away in no time. I looked to my left:

Then I looked to my right:

Thats right, I was in the middle of nowhere. All I could see was a side road going to the middle of nowhere else. 🙂

Clearly, it was fruitless to panic, so I sat down on a big rock enjoying the views. Since there was nobody around, I started singing loudly in my unbearable sweet voice to my iPod music and reading my guidebook and lazily searching for any sign of human presence. After waiting for a while I saw a bus arriving and a Spanish-French couple got out. They had the same puzzled look on their faces that I had 20 minutes ago. – haha, amateurs!

Moray – The Agricultural Laboratory:

Crazy Incas. Moray is noted for a large complex of unusual Inca ruins. These include most notably several enormous terraced circular depressions that were perhaps used to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. The depth of the pits creates a temperature gradient of as much as 15° C between the top and the bottom. As with many other Inca sites, it also has a very sophisticated irrigation system for providing the plants with water. These guys built a natural greenhouse-slash-botanical research laboratory!

That’s me at the center

Yes that’s me, and the picture is not even taken from the top. I gave my camera to the couple I met and sped down while they took the picture. It took a while to climb back, but I didn’t like the picture, so I jumped down again for the second time. pheww! Later I thought that it was futile to do this exercise anyway (I could have done it in photoshop.)

The sites are gigantic and this is only one of them. Civilizations usually construct towers, but Incas dug and went inside the earth. Thinking out of the box?

Stairs, Inca architecture, prevalent at most sites including Machu Picchu.

Salinas – Salt pans on a mountain:

Bizarre. A spring with salty water was discovered in the mountains surrounding the valley. The Incas built salt pans to harvest salt from them. And guess what, these salt mines are still operational! There are about 3000 odd cubicles where water is evaporated to get salt. This salt is iodized and sold as specialty salt to North America and Europe. When I asked what was special about the salt, the guy at the desk answered, “Very good salt.” hmm.


These sites were my last activities in the Sacred Valley. This was the last native Peruvian thing I saw and what a fantastic way to end this trip 🙂 These are off beat locations and the standard tours don’t visit here, so its very quiet. Oh wait, the trip is not yet over, there are 3 (or maybe 4) more posts.

This post is part of my Peru travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery