One of the highlights of my trip in Cusco was taking an ATV tour to the Sacred Valley. We rode through two brilliant archaeological sites of the Incas: Moray and Maras Salt Mines. The tour takes about 4 hours and is perfect for adventurous travelers who crave some adrenaline.
Helpful tip: book your ATV tour while in Cusco. Travel agencies have shops within Plaza de Armas where you can book your trip for cheaper than if you were to book online.
From pickup in the city centre, it takes around 40 minutes uphill to reach the starting point and meet your guides. From there, you pick up riding gear that includes a vest, gloves, and helmet. Our guides didn’t speak much English which was quite terrifying when trying to understand their directions on ATV usage and safety. Luckily, Brian and I have both ridden ATVs in the past.
While you’re gearing up, the tour guides line up all the ATVs along the side of the road. To my dismay, the bikes were pretty rusty and the only downside to the tour. You are given the option to ride your own ATV or buddy up. I underestimated the size of the ATV and opted to ride my own. 20 minutes into the tour struggling to control my ATV and nearly crashing, I ditched my bike and rode with my boyfriend.
After riding 40 minutes through the valley, we reach Moray. The archaeological site was breathtaking from the sight of huge crop circles. Moray was where Incas experimented different crop growing techniques based one elevation and soil to grow potatoes, coca, and corn.
Maras Salt Mines
The salt mines is an extraordinary site and has been around before the Incas. Thousands of small squares of salt ponds fill the valley with water coming from underground. Today, the salt mines are owned by the local community and workers collect the salt and sell them through shops.
Things to Keep in Mind
1. Wear sunscreen
The Sacred Valley’s weather may be mild but there are various degrees of weather during the tour. It’s also a long day riding a quad bike and sightseeing, so protect your skin!
2. Bring money
Moray and Maras Salt Mines charge admission fees outside of the ATV tour price. Expect to bring about 100 soles for entrance fees and souvenirs.
3. Bring a jacket
Like I said, the weather can be temperamental. It started to drizzle rain on the way back from Maras.
4. Plan accordingly
The ATV tour takes a full day. The tour itself takes 3-4 hours, but the bus ride to and from city centre takes an additional 40 minutes each. I would plan to have dinner when you get back and take it easy the rest of the night.