|Level||Moderate to demanding. Need good shape.|
|Duration||5 - 6 Hours hiking|
|Location||Maras – Moray|
|Season||From March to December|
|Description||Hike throw the Andean agricultural laboratory of Moray and the salt mines of Maras to continue descending the sacred valley.|
In the morning, passengers will be met by their guide at the lobby of the hotel to be taken them directly to their private vehicle that will transfer them to the starting point of the hike. We will go head to Maras (11,152ft), which is a small Andean community. Here we will have a short visit around the town before departing on a 2 to 3 hours hike to Moray circled terraces.
This site is not the ruin of a city or a fortress, it is an earthwork. The ancient people of the region took four enormous natural depressions in the landscape and sculpted them into several levels of agricultural terraces that served, hundreds of years ago, as an experimental agricultural station for the development of different strain of crops. This was possible due to the discovery of a fascinating phenomenon: the climates of many different ecological zones were present at a single site.
In the thirties John Earls a scientist found meters of altitude between the bottom and top levels of Moray's main depression. John Earls has recorded a full 15 degrees Celsius difference in temperature. That is equal to the difference between the mean annual temperatures of London and Bombay. Conceivably it was Moray itself that played the key role in the original transformation of maize into a high-altitude crop.
A boxed lunch will be served here, with breathtaking views of the Vilcanota Mountain Range. After a short rest, we will continue our hike for 2 or 21/2 hours until we reach the Maras Salt works (10,824ft). The Maras "salt works" which is also very well known by some people "salt mines" are about 3000 small pools with an average area of 5 m² (53.8 ft²), constructed in a slope of the "Qaqawiñay" mountain. People fill up or "irrigate" the pools during the dry season every 3 days, with salty water emanating from a natural spring located on the top of the complex, so that when water evaporates the salt contained in it will slowly solidify.
That process will be carried out approximately during one month until a considerable volume of solid salt is obtained. After a visit to this fantastic place, passengers will board their vehicle that will transfer them back to their hotel.