Climb Machu Picchu

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Machu Picchu is an obvious must see, however, the Inca ruins of which it is a part of extends past the site covering an area of 32,592 hectares throughout the Vilcanota-Urubamba river basin into what the locals call the Sacred Valley. Most people fly from Lima to Cusco visiting Machu Picchu on a day trip setting time aside to see other Inca sites such as Moray and the Inca Salt Pans.


Moray is an archaeological site approximately 50 km northwest of Cuzco on a plateau at about 3500 m.  Consisting mainly of several enormous terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is about 30 m deep, the site was possibly used by the Incas for agricultural experimentation. 

The depth and orientation of these depressions with respect to the wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 C between the top and bottom. This large difference was possibly used by the Inca to study the effects of various climatic conditions on crops.

It also boasts a sophisticated irrigation system as do many Inca sites.

Inca Salt Pans

Located fifty-eight kilometers from Cuzco in an isolated part of the valley, Salineras de Mara or the Inca Salt Pans consist of thousands of mismatched white squares plotted along a steep green to brown hillside with a small salty creek coming out from the mountain.

The small plots are filled with water and upon evaporation a crystallization process takes place and salt can be panned out. Used for centuries, the salt pans were allotted to the citizens of Maras with each one getting a certain number of the plots to which they keep the profits of the salt that is packaged and sold. Families pass the plots down from generation to generation like heirlooms.

 On any given day several workers can be seen performing the exhausting, back-aching extraction process.

Machu Picchu

              Some people choose to reach Machu Picchu by way of the Inca Trail – a three day hike starting at kilometer 82 of the train to Cuzco while others chose to ride the train to Aguas Calientes then board a bus for the site.

Built by the Incas in the 15th century, Machu Picchu was used as both a religious shrine and a palace for the Inca emperor.  Located midway between the tops of two mountains 450 meters above the valley and 2,438 meters above sea level, the site contains 172 buildings in the main area. 

Check out my Machhu Picchu Video

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