Peru’s Sacred Valley
Day 2 – Moray and Maras Salt Ponds.
Holy Trails uses this route as a more chill day of riding and an opportunity to see more Inka History and partake in local culture. The town of Maras allows access to two archaeological Inka sites – the Moray Inka Ruins and the Maras Salt Ponds. We drive through Maras and were dropped off at 3800m at Misminay.
From there we ride through villages to view the Moray Terraces. These were built by the Inka and are thought to be research terraces where the Inka would plant different crops at different elevations and aspects to see how they would grow. This South side of the valley is considered drier then the North side which has the more glaciated peaks. It is perhaps this geological aspect that also helped to create the next archaeological site we passed through, the Maras salt mines.
After seeing the Moray Terraces, we continue riding though more fields, then the town of Maras at 3400m and down to the Salt Ponds. This is a unique high salt spring that the Inka’s or maybe pre-Inkas discovered. At Maras there is a geological fault through which salt percolates from sea level through fissures. A system of channels focuses salt-infused water into pools and ponds all of which are 4sqm and 30cm deep. The ponds are maintained to create a consistent flow down the slope to subsequent ponds where the water evaporates and the salt collected. This cooperative effort has existed since the creation of the Maras salt mine with all money from the ponds goes back to the community.
We did buy some salt here; it’s highly recommended by gourmet cooks worldwide. We then rode past the ponds and down to the community of MediaLuna at Tarabamba on the Rio Urubamba at 2880m.
Another day at Villa Urubamba with a filling breakfast.
Hans railing berms above Maras
Young Peruvians in the town of Maras getting ready for Peru to play New Zealand for a spot in the World Cup finals. VAMOS PERU CARAJO!
Fast zoom-zoom trails to the Maras salt mines
The Maras Salt Mines
Town of Tarabamba/Media Luna at 2880m
Back at Villa Urubamba by midday allowed us time to take a moto taxi into the city center of Urubamba to check out the market. While a taxi costs about 7 Soles, the moto taxi cost 3 or 4 Soles depending on your bartering skills. Since Urubamba isn’t really a tourist town, the market is for real, with products that people within the community would buy, as well as food. If you haven’t been into a South American meat market, its pretty interesting… There are some goods tourists may want to buy, Lee did get his Bandera and Peruvian Jersey, one can also buy pretty much anything you’d find in a North American Walmart.
Villa Urubamba – Our Room, Breakfast, parking lot where Holy Trails MTB picked us up each day, the Villa grounds.
Mototaxi, yes its a two stroke motor bike that is covered. This would be amazing in North America if it was electric!
Mercado – the sights, smells and sounds are hard to describe
We got back home, chilled at Villa Urubamba and then went for at dinner at Pakakuna which was a short walk from our hotel. This was the restaurant that also provided us with our boxed lunch each day.
Dinner at Pakahuna – Trucha Ceviche, Lomo Saltado and Aji de Gallina
Trailforks Ride Log