We visited Chinchero for one day trip, then we visited Maras and Moray separately, but many people visit all three in one day. To get to Chinchero, you can grab a colectivo on Pavitos Street. We were let off on the side of the road next to a very small town, and we weren’t totally sure where to go at first. We wandered into the town, which seemed a bit unusually quiet. We had read that Chinchero was supposed to have a large, bustling artisan market similar to that of Pisac, but the place that seemed to be where a market should have been was instead filled with townspeople. They appeared to be having some kind of town meeting.
We walked up to the ruins, and I think we took the opposite route, because we didn’t pass by the boleto control office. Regardless, we made our way there. Chinchero has a beautiful old church, built in the early 1600s by the Spanish. The inside of the church is extremely ornate; the walls and the ceilings are completely covered in paintings that seemed to combine both the traditional symbols of the Inca people and of Spanish Catholicism.
After we had stopped to admire the church, we walked around the ruins, which were mostly large farming terraces built into the side of a hill.
The next day, we went on our trip to Maras and Moray. This is the only part of the boleto that we decided to visit with an actual tour group and tour guide. We typically like to visit the ruins ourselves and play guessing games to decide what the ruins might have been during their prime, but we figured we would splurge on one tour. The tour cost 25 soles each, or about $7.60 USD.
We joined the tour for the convenience of it, but it actually ended up being a bit more confusing than anticipated. We waited for the bus for a while; one filled up, and we didn’t fit on it. The man leading the group then put us in a taxi, which drove for a bit, then abruptly stopped, and we were told to run to catch up to a different tour bus.
Our group actually ended up stopping in Chinchero, but luckily, we got to see something different than we had the day before. We were taken to a weaving demonstration, as Chinchero is supposed to be the center of traditional weaving in Peru.
Next stop was Maras to see the salineras, or the salt mines. The salt mines are really only active in June and July; the rest of the time, they make for excellent tourist attractions. Our guide told us that there are three functional layers to the salt there; one that is good for salt baths, one to cook with and eat, and one for animals to eat.
Our third and final stop of the day was the terraces of Moray. These were used as a place to experiment with different foods, like corn and potatoes, so they could grow well at varying levels of altitude. The Spanish initially destroyed these terraces when they first discovered them, as they believed it was used as an ampitheatre for rituals. The word Moray comes from the Quechua word meaning “to go in circles.”
It was a full day, and while we definitely saw some benefits to being part of a tour, I think we all agreed we like to explore, visit places with no time restrictions, and play our own guessing games.