Visiting Maras and Moray: Where to Go in Cusco on a Budget

Cusco is probably best known as the gateway to Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel in the Andes Mountains in Peru. Although you probably need to spend an extra budget for the latter, you can find some affordable things to do if you're not sure where to go in Cusco for cheap.

Maras salt mines and Moray village are two of the best places to go in Cusco, and you can explore both easily from the city without breaking a bank. Visiting Maras and Moray is easily doable from Cusco, whether you plan to join a tour or prefer a DIY travel plan to explore the villages. 

This time, we have Owen from My Turn To Travel to share his experience of traveling to Cusco on a budget. So, let's dive in!

Why You Should Visit Maras and Moray from Cusco

For many countries in South America, USD $10 can get you by pretty comfortably. Perhaps 3 meals a day or a full-day tour in less touristy places.

In Peru, USD $10 is roughly PEN $32. It might not get you to Machu Picchu, but there are tons of other activities to do in Cusco.

A meal at a local restaurant can set you back as low as USD $2 – if you skip the restaurants catered to tourists. Of the 15 or so notable museums, many of them are free.

But if I were to suggest fully utilizing PEN $32, I’d suggest going on a tour to the famous 2 M’s – Maras and Moray.

Moray Terraces

There are hundreds of tour operators around the main square and if you do a little searching (and speak a little Spanish) you can find some that provides the tour for PEN $25 (USD $7.50) – complete with hotel pick-up, transport and tour guide.

Moray Terraces – My Turn To Travel

Most tours bring you first to the town of Moray, famous for its alien-like terraces. These huge concentric terraces were built into a natural depression in the ground during the Inca period. They act as an agricultural laboratory; used by the Incas to simulate different microclimates.

The result? Peru has over 4000 varieties of potatoes.

Maras Salt Mines

Following that, the tour brings you to the nearby town of Maras and its ridiculously photogenic salt mines.

These salt mines are strategically tucked into the hill of Maras, forming a network of ancient salt deposits built way before the time of the Incas.

The white cascading shallow salt pools are like a combination of Bolivia’s salt flat and Asia’s rice ponds and provides a stark contrast to the dull brown of the surrounding hills.

Maras Salt Mine – My Turn To Travel

What is amazing is the fact that salt water can be found in the Andean mountains and the salt crystals that can be harvested from it provide the locals here a way of living.

The 2 M’s are a testament to the impressive feats of ancient engineering and understanding of Pachamama’s (Mother Earth) delicate equilibrium, and how it provides for her children – humans. Plus, they make for very pretty Instagram photos.

Note: Maras and Moray are usually a packaged-deal when going with a tour. The tour can cost under USD $10, but there is an entrance fee to Maras (PEN $10 / USD $3) and Moray is included in the Tourist Ticket (Boleto Turisto) that you probably will get when in Cusco.

Contributor: Owen from My Turn To Travel

After graduating from university, Owen jet off on a one-way ticket to South America to chase his dreams. He spent one-year backpacking solo on the continent and counts Cusco as his favorite city in South America. Oftentimes, being the only Asian guy in the lesser known destinations, he hopes to inspire more people to travel far and wide. 

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