Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-On Collisions!

Welcome to the “Moray Ruins in Peru!

Once upon a time….it was New Year’s Day 2016 (& my friend, Tasha’s birthday).  We’d already trekked to Machu Picchu, & upon returning to our digs in Cusco ~ we decided we were ready for another adventure, to ring in the New Year & her birthday.  So, we set off in a taxi for a 50-kilometer jaunt to the Moray Ruins: which are beautiful, circular terraces set amongst the Andes Mountains.  Little did we know that on the way home, our taxi would collide with another car, on a lonely mountain road ~ leaving us to figure out how the HECK to get back to Cusco?! 

What transpired, & how we made our way back to town, follows in the post below….& of course, I’ll give you my best tips for visiting the Moray Ruins in Peru!

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-on Collisions, Girl Who Travels the World

The Moray Ruins in Peru, about an hour outside of Cusco!

Map of Moray Ruins in Peru

Moray Ruins

Cusco

Ollantaytambo

Maras Salt Mines

Tips for Travel to Moray

  • Entrance Fee for Moray: You can buy a single entrance for less than $10 US, OR you can purchase a “Boleto Turistico,” which will get you into 4 sites: Ollantaytambo, Moray, Sacsayhuaman, & Chinchero.  Bring CASH if you plan to buy your ticket at Moray, as they do not accept credit card.
  • Elevation of Moray Ruins: 3,380 meters (11,088 feet).  The air is THIN up here!  But not to worry, because there’s not much walking to do here.  Moray is about the same altitude as Cusco ~ so it’s ideal to acclimate for a day or two prior to visiting Moray, or visit Machu Picchu or Pisac beforehand (both are at lower altitudes). 
  • Best Towns to Visit Moray From: Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Urubamba, or Cusco.  Ollantaytambo is technically the closest, with Pisac & Cusco each being about an hour-drive from Moray. 
  • Great Near-by Adventure: You can easily visit the Maras Salt Fields on the same day you visit Moray ~ & both can be found on the map above. 
  • Best Way to Get to Moray Ruins: By taxi or group tour (I would 100% NOT rent a car & drive yourself!)

Photos of Moray Ruins in Peru

Our journey to Moray started out well enough ~ we hailed a taxi from the luxurious Palacio del Inka, located right in the heart of Cusco, for about 200 soles round-trip (approx. $60 US).  (Note: Hailing a cab from a luxury hotel will likely cost more than if you bargain with drivers on the street.)  Our driver was pleasant, & pointed out interesting sights along the way ~ like a herd of bulls in the street by our car! 

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-on Collisions, Girl Who Travels the World

My friend, Tasha, contemplating life at the Moray circles.

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-on Collisions, Girl Who Travels the World

Surrounded by the Andes Mountains, the Moray ruins are set in a spectacular location.

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-on Collisions, Girl Who Travels the World

We ran into some animals on our ride to & from Moray…

The town of Moray itself is quite small, & you’ll most likely be visiting the ruins from Cusco, Pisac, or Ollantaytambo ~ some of the larger towns in Peru’s Sacred Valley.  Unlike Machu Picchu, there is NOT a ton of walking to be done at Moray, so this is a perfect outing if you’re tired from other treks, or if you prefer less strenuous activity (particularly at Peru’s high elevations)!

Photos of Moray Ruins in Peru

We spent about 90 minutes at the Moray Ruins, which many say were built by the Incas as an agricultural experiment (the different terraces allowed for different temperatures & water levels to experiment with) ~ & many believe that potatoes were the primary crop planted here.  Peru has a rich history & variety of crops, with more than 2,000 varieties of potatoes alone!  (The food in Peru will BLOW you away…it is SOooo good!!) 

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-on Collisions, Girl Who Travels the World

This was taken during happier times, before we got into a head-on collision…

Since we left for Moray at mid-day, & the drive took just over an hour, we started our return trip to Cusco late in the afternoon.  And though our taxi driver was one of the most cautious I’ve EVER driven with in Peru ~ I cannot say the same about other Peruvian drivers!  Bottom line: some are just plain CRAZY.  They’ll try to pass your car, on a curve, on a winding, mountain road. C-R-A-Z-Y. 

And this is close to what happened to us: on a dirt road, not far from Moray, we came around a curve ~ & I can still remember it, plain as day: a smaller car, almost like a tuk-tuk, was also turning the corner…but they seemed to be in the middle of the road, heading STRAIGHT for us!  Our driver didn’t have enough time (or room) to get out of the way, & this little tuk-tuk hit us squarely on the driver’s side window.

WTF?!???!!!

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-on Collisions, Girl Who Travels the World

Snow-capped mountain views…

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-on Collisions, Girl Who Travels the World

Moray Ruins in Peru.

So What Did We DO?!

Tasha & I got out of the back seat, stunned.  Our driver was speaking to the tuk-tuk driver in rapid Spanish, & neither seemed happy.  Luckily, the tuk-tuk had been small & lightweight ~ if a bus had hit us…we might literally be goners, right off the cliff!  But fortunately, neither Tasha or I had any bruises or injuries; nor did our driver.  But his front wheel was busted, & he told us, there was no way he’d be able to get us back to Cusco that evening

Tasha & I slowly looked at each other…& then looked around.  The sun was starting to set, & we were on a dirt road, in the mountains, somewhere in Peru….seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  And the ONE thing I’d heard repeatedly, about South America travel, was: DON’T HITCHHIKE!!!!  Now, just a few days into our trip, we basically had no choice but to hitch-hike.  What the hell?!  What are the chances??! 

So, we started walking downhill, & by a sheer stroke of complete luck ~ there was some kind of tourist attraction, about half a mile down the road, with several buses parked in a dirt parking lot.  We started approaching some, & within ten minutes, found a bus-full of Peruvian kids headed back to Ollantaytambo.  From there, we could catch a bus back to Cusco.  Eventually, & hours later, we arrived in Cusco, worn out from the journey ~ but THRILLED to be in the cozy, plush beds of the Palacio del Inka….SAFE & sound.  What a birthday for Tasha!

Moray Ruins in Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

Ringing in the New Year (& Tasha’s birthday) in Cusco, in 2016.

Moray Ruins in Peru & Head-On Collisions!

Thanks for reading about our crazy journey to the “Moray Ruins in Peru!”  I hope yours is much less eventful than ours was!  What has been your experience on buses in South America??  Any crazy experiences to share?  If so, let me know in the comments below…

Read Next: Best Hotels in Cusco, Peru

Discover more from Girl Who Travels the World

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading