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Sacred valley - Chinchero

Tailor-made Travel Consultant Konrad shares his experience of two of the Sacred Valley's most interesting sites.

In the morning we were driven to Chinchero (about 45 minutes’ from Urubamba, one of the Sacred Valley’s main towns), where we visited the home of artist and master weaver Nilda Callañupa. We watched her demonstrate her craft and listened as she spoke of wool spinning, natural dyes, traditional patterns and weaving techniques used in this region of the Andes. After the demonstration, we were shown more beautiful handicrafts that were for sale and we all left happy with our many purchases.

We crossed the Chinchero pampa in the direction of the Maras saltpans and the archaeological site of Moray. Moray’s striking pattern is formed by concentric geological depressions, which have been reinforced by terraces. Apart from its design and vast size, what I found most fascinating about the site is the numerous theories surrounding the question of what it could have been used for. The most common and widely accepted theory is that Moray was an Inca “agricultural laboratory”: it’s thought that this was where the Incas grew various vegetables and grains at different altitudes to experiment and find out what flourished where. Another, more entertaining, theory is the suggestion that it was a landing area for aliens and their space craft…!

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A 30-minute car journey and we had arrived at Maras saltpans, whose bright white salt pools can be seen from far away. These salt mines have been exploited for centuries and continue to be used today. Quite an expansive site, you can walk in between the individual plots and see how the salt is extracted by locals and a few small stalls sell all manner of salt-related products, which make for interesting souvenirs.

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Our visit to Maras and Moray made for one of my favourite and most memorable days in Peru: having wanted to see these sites for years, I'm happy to say I was not disappointed - it was as fascinating as I’d hoped it would be!

Find out more about Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

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