The Moray Inca ruins with kids was a great warm-up for our next day tour. After visiting Chincheros, we head to Moray Inca Ruins called Quantus Raquay, it was right before Salt Maras Moray Pond.
Also, Moray was a great warm-up for Ollantaytambo which we visited the following day. Usually, you can get this tour together because their proximity is convenient. I strongly recommend you to do your research to customized your tour if possible.
Basically, in Moray, Quantus Raquayis is an Inca ruin that contains circular terrace used for an irrigation system. The Incas build this system to grow crops in different microclimates. Every level has different temperatures. It was sort of Inca agriculture laboratory used to grow resistant plans high in the Andes.
Seems that they were build to use the different microclimates that the Peruvian Andean terrain provided and experiment growing of different types of plants. A true statement of the genius of human archeology and hydraulic.
To get in here you need to buy tickets on the entrance, get the partial tourist ticket III (Sacred Valley) for $25 or the full ticket for $47. Get your tourist ticket at the office or DICERTUR Main square at Calle Mantas from Monday to Sunday or on site.
Once there we were lucky to witnesses a ceremony where they recreate the ceremonies that use to happen here.
We climb up and down and admired and learn about this amazing place!
I hope you find this helpful t travel here with your kids. good luck!
After visiting Moray we head with the kids to Maras Salt Ponds, a truly amazing place. Although I have visited Cusco several times, this was my first time visiting Maras Salt Pond. Sacred Valley manages to still show new amazing places used by the Incas. I couldn’t be happier that kids got to see this amazing place. You won’t believe it!
Maras Salt Pond was a great place to take the kids. The pond is located on the mountain and surrounded by a gorgeous view. The bus drive by a cliff in a two ways road. It is scary!!! I’m not going to lie, my heart almost stopped when we turn a curve and another bus was going in the opposite direction. We were by the cliff side Oh! I could see the cliff so close…. fortunately, the driver was an expert and we made it. The good news is that the road will improve soon because an airport is projected to be built on Chicheros.
WHAT IS IT?
Basically, this is a salt farm and it has been used by Incas at the time. This place is full of salt evaporations ponds. The salt comes from the salty water from the underground stream.
Almost every pond is four-meter square and no more than 30 centimeters depth. It is own by the community in a cooperative system. Every family owns a pond that takes cares of. Basically, a whole family and the size of the pond depends on the size of the family.
When the water evaporated from the ponds, water become oversaturated and salt in the form of crystal precipitated to the surface. After closing the water feeder the water dries and the salt can be scrapped from the pond. Families are in charge of taking care of this process.
After getting off the bus and walk in a very narrow parking lot, we walked down the dirt path. It is very dusty so I cover my kids’ faces with their t-shirts (I wasn’t ready for the mush dirt, I wish I brought sunglasses for them).
Once we pass all the stores there are at the entrance, we went down the stairs and the amazing view opened. The guide explained to us that this has been working since Inca’s time and is maintained by locals with a comunity system. It was pretty easy to see how the water run down and form this pond and touch the crystals that grow around there.
We were fascinating, we touched the water and the salt. We learned something new and I was so happy they learn this about the Incas. I found out they were super hydraulic engineers!
Let me know if you have any question when planning your trip. I am happy to help!
Our first stop exploring the Sacred Valley was an amazing visit to Chincheros with the kids. Chincheros is well known for its great artisans. It is located in Urubamba before Moray and Mara’s Salt Pond’s
The first thing you want to know about Chincheros it is that is a small town close to Cuzco. It has great artisans that have created beautiful textiles since the Inca’s time.
Second, I highly recommend it for kids. They are great weaving centers and local women gave us a great educational show. They explained the Inca’s process of getting colors from plants in English and Spanish in a very entertained way. You can watch the video here. scroll down
Once there you get inside and find this little ginny pig house where they raised them. The kids were able to see them, they are kind of cute.
Next, we are greeting by the artesian and proceed to seat down.
We can find on the display what plant belongs to a specific color. It was wonderful and educational to see where they come from. I feel this visit was very educational for the kids.
Basically, they ground in a mortar the desired color. Once they get the sheep wool they watched and make it boiled together with the desired color.
Our visit to the gem of the Sacred Valley was the perfect warm up to Machupicchu for our family. Visiting Ollantaytambo with kids was the highlight of this day. What to see there? I will tell you now:
Sacred Valley – Urubamba
The Urubamba Valley or Sacred Valley is impressed, not just for the natural beauty, also because it has one of the prettiest cities build by the Incas – Ollantaytambo. This town was the royal estate of Inca Emperor and it was built with sumptuous constructions and undertook extensive works of terracing and irrigation in the Sacred Valley.
Exploring Sacsayhuaman with kids
Our next stop, on our way to the Sacred Valley, was Sacsayhuaman, a place where Incas constructed walls with huge stones. On this place, the workers carefully cut the boulders to fit them together tightly without mortar. The most amazing part is that Sacsayhuaman was built on the shape of Puma looking from high. It is a labyrinth made of beautiful huge stone that kids love to admire.
Next, we made a quick stop at a local market, to get some snacks as well as suveniers and pictures of course:
Sanctuary Animal Cochahuasi
Then, we visited the Sanctuary animal Cochahuasi, which is an organization that has dedicated itself to the Rescue of Animals that have been abused of or come from the Illicit Traffic of Wildlife. Therefore we found many species of beautiful animals like Lama, Alpaca, Vicuna, a Puma, Andean geese, flying condors, guinea pigs. Therefore, most of them are rescued and we enjoyed learning about their rescued stories. Most important we were very grateful for the labor of love of this organization. And the best part was when Condors flew over our heads! so impressed!
Following our trip on the Sacred Valley, our next stop was Visit Pisaq Qantus Raqay. This was a small town where the working class used to live, we found a terrace where the Inca people used to grow a different kind of food for their daily needs
Finally, we arrived in Ollantaytambo and kids were right away impressed by the terrace!
the highlight of our visit to the gem of the Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo is known as an ancient Inca fortress built around the middle of the 15th century and is the second most well-preserved ruin in Peru. It was built with terraces for farming and irrigation system. This terrace is called fortress or temple Hill. The town was home of Inca Nobility. originally built for religious purpose became the center of battle when Inca Manco chooses to retreat from Spanish invasion for its strategical location. Unfortunately didn’t last long.
Ollantaytambo is separated into 4 distinct areas: The ancient town, the temple hill, the ceremonial area, and the agricultural sector. You probably will need the whole day to visit ruins, but since we were with kids we respect the altitude of 2,792 meters and we took it easy. The terrace is taller and wilder of the average man, and when in the top you find the Temple of the sun, The wall of the six monoliths and the Enclosure of the ten Niches.
We took our time hiking to the top. The severe height will take away our breath and we need several stops. The views around you are just so beautiful. At the top, the wall of the Six Monoliths will dominate the view.
Terraces of Pumatallis
Ollantaytambo is surrounded by mountains, and the main access routes run along the Urubamba Valley. The Incas built roads connecting the site with Machu Picchu to the west and Pisaq to the east. The terraces where the Inca once had planted corn and potatoes. which start at the bottom of the valleys and climb up the surrounding hills.
The Andenes permitted farming on otherwise unusable terrain; they also allowed the Incas to take advantage of the different ecological zones created by variations in altitude. Terraces at Ollantaytambo were built to a higher standard than common Inca agricultural terraces; for instance, they have higher walls made of cut stones instead of rough fieldstones.
Terraces of Pumatallis
Pinkullyuna is the hill with Incan storehouses overlooking the town and facing the main ruins. They made the access to the storage hard due to the value of food for low temperature on a high hill and for military purposes. It is impressive how the build in such a steep hill.
To get to the path up to these ruins, follow the road closest to the base of the hill. After a short but steep hike, you can admire the breathtaking scenery of the Sacred Valley, the mountains that surround the town and the Inca ruins. Pinkullyna Hill is really a perfect viewing point.
The purpose of the storehouses was to store the food items harvested from the terraces. The grains were poured into the windows and the high altitude and windy conditions produced a microclimate that helped to prevent the decay of crops. The storehouses even had their own ventilation systems – holes in the appropriate places in the walls created drafts that dried the agricultural products.
Templo del Sol
We finally reach the Templo del Sol – a temple to worship the sun. Each stone is said to weigh more than 50 tons. How these monoliths were transported to this spot from the quarry in one piece remains a mystery. This area is unfinished and there are several theories for it, but nobody really knows what on when they stopped it.
Temple de Aguas
Going all the way down we visit the artificial channels and fountains to the Templo de Aguas. There is a deeper story to the hydraulic masterpiece the Incas created here.
So much to see, the next day we were ready for Machupicchu!