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Discover the fascinating ruins of Moray in Cusco

Discover the fascinating ruins of Moray in Cusco

Throughout the Sacred Valley, the Incas left us a great legacy of archaeological and architectural sites that are preserved to this day. Thanks to them we have been able to learn much of the history and culture of this empire that inhabited Peru for around 100 years, between 1438 and 1533.

One of the most fascinating places you can find in the Sacred Valley is Moray, an archaeological complex used by the Incas as an agricultural research center.

Without any doubt, Moray is one of the mandatory destinations in your visit to Cusco. To get to this place understanding its history and its origin, here we tell you all you have to know.


Etymology of Moray

Like many other names of Cuzco places, the word Moray comes from Quechua. There are several versions about the origin of this term. On one hand, there are those who say that it is a contraction of the words Muyu (circular) and Uruy (downstairs or in the lower part) and on the other hand, those who attribute it to terms such as Aymoray (corn harvest and May) and Moraya or Moray (dehydrated potato).


The importance of Moray during the Inca period

When you walk through the different archaeological sites of Cusco, you will find the famous Inca platforms, an example of the great architectural capacity of this empire.

The platforms distributed throughout the Sacred Valley, including those of Moray, were used as an agricultural research center. Each of them has a different temperature, so they could plant different types of products. Thus and according to studies, in Moray the Incas managed to cultivate more than 250 types of vegetables.

To irrigate this entire surface, they implemented complex hydraulic systems. In addition, at the bottom of the platforms developed a method with which they managed to store and reuse rainwater.

But some scholars of the Inca Empire speak of Moray as a center also dedicated to astronomical observation and to the prediction of meteorological phenomena.

Fascinating, right?


Location and climate


As occurs in the rest of Cusco, in Moray there are two different seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

During the dry season, the average temperature during the day is 20 ºC, while at night it drops to 1 ºC. In the rainy season, the days have an average temperature of 21 ºC and the nights, of 7 ºC. However, in the rainy season the roads are more muddy and, on some occasions, access can be complicated.


The routes to get to Moray

The Archaeological Complex of Moray is located 57 km northwest of Cusco. To get here you have different options:

  • Excursion from Cusco: the most common and most used by tourists who arrive in Cusco and want to visit Moray is to hire a tour. In the Plaza de Armas of Cusco and its surroundings you will find plenty of tourist agencies that offer this tour, usually together with a visit to the Salineras de Maras and other archaeological sites.
  • ATV tour: an unforgettable option to visit Moray (and Maras) is to do it in four-wheel drive. Some of the agencies that you will find in Cusco offer this adventure with which you can travel a part of the Sacred Valley driving yourself this vehicle until you reach the archaeological complex.


The duration of the tours, whether in ATV or bus, is, at least, half a day.

  • Taxi: if you prefer to get to this destination on your own and without so many people, a very good option is the taxi. This alternative is perfect if you travel in a group of four people, since this means of transport is cheap in Peru and the price, divided among the four passengers, is quite affordable.


Tips and recommendations

The Archaeological Complex of Moray will amaze you. But for having a perfect visit, we recommend you take note of the following tips:

  • Buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket. This ticket allows you to visit different tourist places in the city and its surroundings and you could only access to some of them, like Moray, with this ticket.
  • Hire professional guides. If you decide to visit Moray in an excursion with a guide, hire the services in an official tourist agency.
  • Go prepared for the changing climate of Cusco. Never mind if you visit Moray during the dry season or the rainy season, it is always advisable to bring a hat, sunscreen and rain jacket in your backpack. The climate of this region is unpredictable.
  • If you have a few days in Cusco, you can take the trip from the Imperial City to Ollantaytambo and make stops in the Sacred Valley. You will see such wonderful places as Moray.
  • If you arrive to Moray on your own, take the opportunity to visit other near places of the Sacred Valley such as the Salineras de Maras or Chinchero.

We assure you that the Sacred Valley is one of the most impressive places you will go to in your life. You will not regret visiting it!