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Moray, Maras & Ollantaytambo, Peru

This morning you will set out into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your first visit will be the Maras salt pans, a fascinating system of platforms used since the Inca times to extract salt from a natural mountain spring. Visually the shining salt-encrusted terraces are extraordinary. There are beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains of Chicon, Veronica and Salcantay and the stunning altiplano of the Andes that surround you. Maras is a typical Andean village that boasts a beautiful 400-year colonial old church.

A further 6km down the road are the experimental agricultural terraces of Moray. Here, different levels of terraces are carved into huge bowls, two large and one small. Part of the landscape is thought to have occurred naturally and part of which was developed further by the Incas. Their exact purpose is unknown but it is thought that the terraces created varied micro-climates in which the Incas determined the optimal conditions to grow their crops.

You will also visit the sturdy remnants of Ollantaytambo, once an important Inca administrative centre. Solid stone terraces are built around the contours of the valley wall and on mountainside opposite, you can see a carved face believed to be that of a messenger from the gods. Lunch is included. You will return to Cuzco in the evening to your accommodation.

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Audley Travel specialist Caroline

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Photos of Moray, Maras & Ollantaytambo