Besides rainbow mountain, another easy day trip that we took from Cusco city was to the Moray archaeological site and the Maras salt mines. Both very interesting and definitely worth a visit.
Our first stop was Moray where our guide Yom explained how the super smart Incas experimented with different temperatures to grow crops, including the yummy avocados that they now have! The temperature increases as you go down the terraces, so by the time we were at the very bottom, we had to remove our jackets.
There are steps at the side of the walls to go from one level to the next. The terraces were also built at an angle so that water could flow round the circular paths and irrigate the crops. But of course no one really knows for sure because the Incas didn’t leave written records. These terraces do look like something out of the x-files. Mysterious and reminds me of crop circles.
Next, we drove towards the salt mines. The view from the top of the valley was super cool and Darren flew his drone for a bit from there. There were hundreds of salt ponds and each is owned by a different family with ownership being passed down through the generations.
Extremely salty water flows into each pond from the nearby mountains and when the water evaporates, the salt remains behind and gets harvested and sold. It was a little scary walking along the narrow paths! Make sure you don’t fall into these ponds. You can also purchase the harvested salt near the entrance.
Yom also took us to a look out point at the top of a mountain where we got our first pictures with a baby alpaca whose fur was extremely soft, and this is the reason why baby alpaca fur is so expensive!
On our journey back, we stopped by a little village outside Cusco called Chinchero. Here we had a short break and some food and also walked around the village where they were selling some souvenirs and crafts.
Magdalene, channeling her inner Michael Jackson.
We visited an old church and more Inca ruins and terraces. Just right opposite the church on another hill is a small weaving village. The ladies showed us how they dye alpaca fur naturally and weave them into scarves, bags, clothes, table cloths, etc.
They mentioned that their weaving method is so good and strong that the clothing is supposedly water resistant. We definitely could pass off as locals here 😛