About 50 km from Cusco, a little off the beaten track, you will find the visually stunning Inca ruins of Moray. Moray lies in a remote area of the Sacred Valley.  You won’t find Moray ruins mentioned in many guide books and therefore they are not inundated with visitors. Enjoy the expanse and the enormity of this site in peace.

The deep bowl shaped hollows of Moray look like a Roman amphitheater. They are circular in shape and have stair like terraces climbing up to the valley floor above. The full purpose behind these concentric terraces isn’t fully known. However, it is widely believed that the ruins were once an agricultural laboratory used by the Incas. The circular terraces that lie here are thought to have been used as an agricultural research station. Their depth, design, and their orientation with regard to the sun and wind are all telltale signs that they have a specific purpose. Because of the different conditions at each level of the terraces there is a difference in temperature of 15 °C (27°F) from the top to the bottom. It is thought that the Incas used the terraces and the different temperatures to test crops and experiment with them. The different micro climates at the different levels allowed them to study wild vegetation. They used hybridization and modification to adapt crops to make them suitable for human consumption. Peru is famous for its many variations of potato. This is down to the Incas. They experimented and played around with science. And now Peru has more than 2,000 varieties of potato.

Concentric Terraces of Moray

Circular Terraces at Moray Ruins

It is no coincidence that the temperature differences at Moray represent the temperature at sea level farmland and the temperature in Andean farming terraces. The Incas were beyond their time in scientific thinking. Studies done on the soil has shown that the soil comes from different regions and must have been brought to the Sacred Valley. This again shows that the Incas were using this area as an experimental zone. Another fascinating point to note about the Moray ruins is that they never flood, even in Peru’s unremitting rainy season. It is thought that there must be underground channels built to allow the water to drain.

Circular Inca Terraces

The Circular Terraced Bowl of Moray

A trip to Moray ruins is well worth it and can be easily turned into a full day Sacred Valley excursion by including a visit to the nearby salt flats of Maras. You will be awed by its expanse and cleverness and marvel the forward thinking and intelligence of the Incas. Take your time and take it all in.

Getting There

One can take an organized tour from Cusco as part of a group. You can organize this with your hotel or with your tour operator. Alternatively you can go by yourself, by taxi and collectivo, to the Sacred Valley. Go early and you will hopefully have the place all to yourself. Taking a taxi to Moray is the more expensive option, and will set you back about 80 soles one way. For a cheaper fare you can take a collectivo from heading from Cusco to Urubamba. Collectivos for Urubamba depart from Avenida Huascar and cost 6 Soles (US$ 2.00) per person. when you get on tell the driver you want to get off at the road for Moray/Maras. This shouldn’t be a problem at all. When you jump off at the signposted road, there will be a number of taxis waiting to take you the rest of the way to the ruins. It is also possible to hike from Urubamba or Chinchero to Moray which takes approx. 2-2 ½ hours. You can also take the adventurous route and bike to the ruins from Chinchero.


Entrance to the Moray Ruins is strictly with a Cusco Tourist Ticket (BGT). A full ticket costs S/130. A partial ticket will allow you entrance as well, and costs S/70. Tickets can be purchased at the site or in advnace in Cusco.

(Post Read – 1748)