Salt Mines & Moray
Bike Ride: Salt Mines and Moray
Time: 3 to 5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate, requires off road experience (* or ask us about our beginners option!)
Highlights: This mountain bike trip visits to of the most interesting and unique Incan archaeological sites in all of Peru – Moray and the Salt Mines of Mara. These two Incan sites are on everyone’s “must see” list -as they should be, as both are fantastic!
Click here to see a short video of the ride.
We begin this trip from Ollantaytambo, it is one of our most popular mountain biking tours and is a great half day activity. We will drive first about thirty minutes through the Sacred Valley of Peru to the site of Moray, which is a set of circular terraces built by the Incas as a ceremonial crop site.(Although conventional accepted theory is that was an agricultural experimental station, we don’t believe that to be the case. Before we begin mountain biking, your guide can explain further the various theories and their reasons for support).
Regardless, it is a stunning place. Entrance is included with most Boleto Turisto tickets, otherwise entrance is only 10 soles. (not included). After spending around a half an hour exploring this fascinating place, we will start the main part of the mountain bike ride, which is a 9 kilometer route of gentle up and down single track through gorgeous farmland and views of the Urubamba glacier range. The riding is of an intermediate level – basic off road experience and skills are required – but with those, anyone can do this ride and enjoy it.
After our nine kilometer ride across the Andean altiplano, we will arrive mountain biking at the town of Maras – originally settled as a station for distributing the salt supply and also known for its unique, carved stone doorway headers that date back up to 500 years ago. After a brief rest, we continue on the mountain bike ride, taking a steeper downhill and somewhat rocky path down to the Salt Mines themselves. These salt pans were built even before the time of the Incas and are still functioning today. Particularly during the months of May to December, we can see first hand how the sunny climate evaporates the naturally salinated stream as it slowly flows through the gravity-fed evaporation pools.
We also will be able to see the actual harvesting of the salt by local families, each of whom controls a half dozen or so of the pools, of which there are hundreds in total. We can go down into the pans itself and taste a little of the salt or even buy a small souvenir bag for the post-ride margaritas on our rooftop deck !
After our visit, we have one final stretch of mountain biking singletrack before ending down at the Urubamba river, the same river that goes through the base of Machu Picchu before eventually making its way out to the Amazon jungle and Atlantic Ocean. You will have time for a cold beverage while we load the mountain bikes on the vehicle and head back to Ollantaytambo, or we can also help you go straight back to Cusco. This ride makes an ideal half day excursion before taking the train to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo; also many of our guests do this trip on their way back to Cusco.
What to Bring: Sunscreen, sun hat to wear while visiting the sites, light windbreaker or fleece, bottle of water. .
This tour requires basic off-road experience at a minimum, and includes all vehicle transportation, FREE rental of full suspension mountain bike with hydraulic disc brakes, helmet, gloves, and professional guide. Entrance to official sites not included. The cost of the trip is $74 per person with a minimum of three people. We can do a private trip for only two people but there is a $5 per person private trip charge due to the high cost of transportation in the Sacred Valley. Sorry but we do not accept credit cards, we accept either dollars or Peruvian soles.
This map is for our guests who also arrive by taxi, hiking etc. For bike tour guests do not pay attention to the “optional” route markings, we will bike the whole route. It is just to explain to others how they can hike only part of the route if they go in taxi.