When you follow a Spanish language course at AMAUTA Spanish School in Cusco, you have the opportunity to follow part of your Spanish lessons in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This way you combine different locations and travel to differet places where you can continue your Spanish course. You can even go to the Amazone and continue your Spanish course in the Rainforest.That sounded very appealing to me so I signed up for one week of Spanish classes at the Sacred Valley campus. During this week we visited Moray (Inca ruins) and the Maras Salt Mines with AMAUTA staff as part of our program, that consists of Spanish classes, accommodation with all meals, activities and tours.
First we went by minibus towards Moray. Moray is located on the top of a mountain, and when we got we were all so surprised because of the stunning views! Moray is very different in comparison to the other Inca ruins we had seen in the Sacred Valley. Moray consists of circles that the Incas used as a sort of laboratory. The circles descend down so it looks like a volcanic crater. Very special! The circles are evenly structured and reach a depth of 150meters. The Incas used this construction to make crops that had to get used to the new ecosystem of the Andes. An irrigation system and a filter system were made to ensure that when it rained a lot, the floods would not damage the crops. In the times of the Incas, the circles were not only used for growing crops and experimenting, but in the deepest circles ceremonies to the Earth (Pachamama) took place. So the circles were also used for spiritual purposes. You can make beautiful pictures because you can admire the circles from above. After a short and beautiful walk, we took the bus from Moray to Maras. It took us about half an hour, to Maras.
The salt mines of Maras: Las Salineras
When you arrive in the little valley of Maras, you immediately see the salt mines (in Spanish: las Salineras) of Maras. A source of extremely salty water comes out of the mountains and since the time of the Incas the salt mines consists about 3,000 small fields with an average size of 4 m² and a depth of 10 centimeters. Still today these sources are used to produce salt through evaporation. The fields are filled with salt water and because of the altitude, the sun will evaporate the water quickly. This ensures that the salt stays in the field. People are working in the fields throughout the day to fill the fields and collect the salt. They produce different qualities of salt and each quality has a different color.
Because each field has a different color, it looks really beautiful, the salt is shining in the sun. At Salineras you can make spectacular pictures. It is one of the greatest mysteries of nature.
For Moray, you need the Boleto Turistico (so you either bring it with you from Cusco if you already have it, or, you buy one here). To enter the Salineras you need to pay 7 soles entrance.
If you are not studying Spanish at AMAUTA Sacred Valley, you also have the option to book a tour to Moray and Salineras from Cusco.
If you do the half-day tour, you will leave Cusco around 9:00 and then you will be back at 14.00. For more information you can contact AMAUTA’s travel partner Dos Manos Peru, via their website or you just visit the agency which is located in the same building as AMAUTA Spanish School.