There are Inca ruins all over the Sacred Valley. We visited two sites near Ollantaytambo, Moroy and Salinas de Maras. I had secured a van the evening before in the Ollanta town square, so we headed down to the square after breakfast. Luis was our driver for the day. First he took us to the remote Inca agricultural site of Moroy. The drive from Ollantaytambo to Moroy was spectacular. We headed back toward Urubamba, then turned off the main road. Moroy is on a high (11,500 feet) plateau. We drove for about half an hour on a remote and bumpy road across this plateau surrounded by the Andes. Extraordinary landscape.
Moroy is made up of terraced circular depressions thought to be an Inca agricultural experiment station. It was interesting, and quite different from the the typical ruins we would see, but really it was the remote drive that I enjoyed most. We then headed back to the village of Maras. There was a small square where some local women were selling a fresh batch of raspberry Chicha. Chicha is the local fermented drink, made primarily from corn but apparently made from other current crops as well! We bought a glass and all shared it (kids too). It is not strongly alcoholic, and so I worried about getting sick from it…but no one did. We gave our driver some too. He got a kick out of us all trying it. We also bought some delicious and crazy cheap pastries from a street vendor.
After our snack/chicha break we continued on to the Maras Salt Flats, or Salinas de Maras. This is an amazing site, and a must see for anyone in the region. There are thousands of rectangular salt pools dotting the steep mountainside collecting salt. They evaporate and are harvested. They pre-date the Inca and have been in continual use for well over 1000 years. A fascinating site, and the market at the entrance has great souvenirs.
We headed back to Ollantaytambo, ate some fabulous Peruvian food, drank some lovely Peruvian craft beer, and had a great nights sleep. Did I mention that the nights were quite cold, being winter in Peru and at altitude? Near freezing every night! Brrr…