By: María Elena T. (Costa Rica)
In this article I will tell you about my time in Cusco and especially my ATV adventure to those beautiful places called Maras and Moray. I traveled with my boyfriend after a long time planning it. We chose the most famous places in Cusco such as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Humantay lagoon, the city of Cusco and of course Machu Picchu. Since we had one day left over, we chose to do the ATV tour to Maras and Moray. I’m going to tell you everything!
My days in Cusco and Machu Picchu
The first day in Cusco I felt a bit sick (probably due to altitude sickness) so we just walked around the city on our own. The next day me and my boyfriend did the city tour of the city. And after that day the tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas (I loved it). And so on, we made the tours to Machu Picchu and the Humantay lagoon. As we had six days in Cusco, we left the last day free to decide what to do. In the end, after asking several tourist agencies, we decided to do the ATV tour to Maras and Moray.
- More information: In the streets of the city center there are many tourist agencies. Choose the one that suits you the most. I chose the tourism agency that included everything, that is, the tickets, the ATV, the guide and transportation. I’m not complaining, the agency did what it said.
The route on ATVs
Early, at about eight in the morning, a minivan picked us up near our hotel. We traveled through very beautiful fields, although I had already seen those landscapes on the tour to the Sacred Valley, I will never get tired of seeing the mountains, the green fields, etc. Later we arrived and a man quickly taught us how to drive the ATVs. The truth is it’s not difficult, it’s very similar to riding a motorcycle, only a little harder because of the weight. With my boyfriend we went on a motorcycle for two people. One group went by one route and we by another that did include Maras and Moray. The ATV route was great. We went in a group of ten bikes more or less. We drive to Moray for 1 hour I think. We arrived safe and sound, happily.
- More information: Tours can be done on one-person motorcycles or, as in my case, on two-person motorcycles. I believe that some tourists did not choose to visit Moray so they left in their ATV in the direction of a lagoon. In our case, most of us went to Moray. We didn’t have any problems on the route except for some tourists who took a long time because they didn’t learn how to drive their motorcycle well.
The visit to Moray
After an ATV adventure we arrived at the Inca platforms of Moray. The guide gave us our tickets and we went to enter. The first sight of this site blew us away. It looked like an immense amphitheater of the Incas but after the tour guide explained to us that they were platforms in the shape of a circle. We just walked around the site a bit because we had to return by ATV to the same place where we started the route. There the minivan was waiting for us along with the other tourists. The return route by ATV was 1 hour too. When we arrived we were ready to leave for the next destination, the salt mines of Maras.
- More information: The entrance to Moray costs 70 soles but in addition to this site it allows the visit to Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. All these three places are included in the tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. If you go on your own, without a tour, you can see everything. I visited all these sites with a tour, but in the end it depends on each person.
The salt mines of Maras
We did not go to the Salineras de Maras by ATV but by minivan. The trip was quick, but we made a stop beforehand at a store where they explained to us how the salt in that place is created. I bought some very nice souvenirs. Later we went to the Salineras, which are a set of many salt pools. The whole set looks gorgeous so I took quite a few photos. The guide gave us free time for photos. He said that the Incas also used this salt. And that it is one of the few places where pink salt is produced. At the end we returned to the minivan ready to return to the city of Cusco.
- More information: In Moray and in the Salineras de Maras it was very hot so it is mandatory to wear a hat or a cap. If you can, also bring sunscreen. Ah, ATVs make your clothes very dirty because of the dust from the roads. They can wear sportswear that will still get dusty. Bring water too. A little cash if you want to buy a souvenir.
The return to Cusco
And so was my tour of Maras and Moray by ATV. They also offered us to do the tour just like that without an ATV but we like adventure so we didn’t think much about it. ATVs are not dangerous but you still have to drive carefully. The return to the city of Cusco is by minivan. It all started around 8 in the morning and ended a little after 1 in the afternoon, ready to go to a restaurant for lunch. The next day, very early, our flight departed for Lima to finally return to Costa Rica. Thank you Peru! My trip was unforgettable!
- More information: Before the tour, the guide made us all sign a document that said that we were responsible for the ATVs and our own health if an accident occurred. Be careful with that because no tourism agency covers health insurance or anything like that. It still seems to me that it is a safe tour, only that we must be careful.