Moray – Terrace Gardens
There are many places in Cusco where you can admire the technical achievements of the inca in terms of agriculture, such as terraced cultivation and aqueduct irrigation. In Moray, circular terraced fields have been created, demonstrating the high cultural level of the inca civilization.
The village is located 7 kilometers from the village of Maras and about 63 kilometers from Cusco. The thing that will impress you the most here is the agricultural system in circular form, whose terraces are up to 100 meters deep. They are formed by retaining walls connected by an irrigation system.
The Inca plant Moray is a plant consisting of several terraces at different heights. It was built in three larger natural sinkholes of varying depths. The deepest sinkhole, over 70 meters deep, with 28 meters of terraces at its lowest, is called Qechuyoq. The first seven terraces, which span about 15 meters, are arranged concentrically. The eighth terrace breaks out of the scheme in a northwesterly direction, widening the acreage on the seventh terrace. The remaining terraces follow the course of the eighth. Except for the largest sink, the plants are concentric and circular. Until 50 years ago potatoes and barley were cultivated on the area. The terracing and the arrangement in the round results in a superimposition of the macro-climate with several microclimates that are different for each terrace. Moray may have used the Inca as an agricultural trial to study the impact of these microclimates on plant growth. The terraces are held by solid retaining walls made of large stones and filled with fertile soil. Probably about 250 plant species were grown here and supplied by a sophisticated irrigation system.
One can consider Moray as an agricultural experimental laboratory because the Inca created microclimates here to grow different products. When you go down to the terrace steps, you can actually feel that it is getting warmer and warmer down below. The heat difference should be up to 15°C!
Tour combination – Moray Ruins & Maras Salt Mines Tour
On this tour we will enter the Sacred Valley to visit two curious places that date back to the Inca civilization: the salt mines of Maras and the circular platforms of Moray. To explore!
Having been picked up from your hotel at 8:30 am, you’ll leave Cusco behind and head deep into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a valley in the Peruvian Andes that is home to an astonishing number of Incan archaeological sites.
The first stop on your tour will be Maras, a picturesque town surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes, which has given its name to the salineras, or salt pans, that are located here. These salt mines are evaporation ponds that have been used to produce salt here since pre-Inca times, and the natural colour variation of the pools, staggered in terraces down the side of the canyon, make them a breathtakingly beautiful sight. You’ll be able to see them in all their glory from the viewpoint.
You’ll then be taken to Moray, where a mysterious Inca archaeological site is located. The ruins of the circular agricultural terraces, known as andenes, are thought to have been used by the Incas to create different microclimates in order to grow a variety of crops.
At the end of a fascinating Sacred Valley tour, you’ll make the return journey to Cusco’s historic centre, where you’ll be dropped off in Plazoleta de San Francisco at 1:30 pm.
Group Size Minimum
Level of Difficulty
- Pick up from hotel and drop off in central Cusco (Plazoleta de San Francisco)
- Transport by air conditioned vehicle
- English speaking guide
- Entrance to Maras
- Cusco tourist ticket (different ticket packs depending which sites you want to visit)
Frequently asked questions
- Q - How to book?
- A - To reserve the activity, choose the date and complete the form on this page. You will receive your confirmation immediately
If you still have more questions, check out our section on frequently asked questions. If you need help to book an activity or have any enquiries, please contact us.
- Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco between 15 and 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the tour
- This is a bilingual (English/Spanish) guided tour
- Once your booking has been confirmed, you will receive an email containing your booking voucher
- Please print it out or download on your smartphone/tablet to show on the day of the activity
- Free cancellation up to 3 days before the day of the activity. If you cancel under this time or do not show up, you will not be refunded.