Urubamba: what to do and know in one of the most beautiful cities of Cusco

Urubamba: what to do and know in one of the most beautiful cities of Cusco

30 November 2021

The city of Urubamba is located in the province of the same name in Cusco. This city is the capital of the province in which it is located and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Cusco. This city is located in the heart of the Sacred Valley, therefore, wherever it is observed, it will always present a wonderful view for the visitor.


Among the tourist attractions that are located within the city of Urubamba, are places such as the Plaza de Armas of the city. Around this central point in the city, is the main church of the city, which is known by the name of Iglesia de San Francisco, in which it is still possible to observe the presence of Inca platforms, as well as foundations of the same time, which have served as the basis for Catholic construction.


Among the natural attractions found in the territory of the city, is the beautiful Urubamba River, which is presented as an interesting route for those interested in practicing canoeing. Canoeing on this river can be practiced between the months of December to March, and has areas up to level IV for the practice of this sport.


Another important date to get to know the beautiful and fertile city of Urubamba, is the San Francisco de Asís Patronal Festival, which in addition to masses and processions in honor of this saint, also includes among its celebrations, the burning of fireworks, display of traditional dances of the region, historical performances, among other events.


Visiting the city, during its main celebrations, guarantees the possibility of accessing the fairs, where traditional products of the region are exhibited and sold. Whoever visits Urubamba then, can also take the opportunity to taste the typical dishes of the metropolis, among which are: Asado de cuy, peasant trout, chicharrones, trout ceviche, trout with vegetables, broth of hen, roast lamb, sweat trout, among many others that will provoke new experiences on the visitor's palate.


Meaning or Etymology of "Urubamba"



Urubamba means "pampas a day's walk" although it is somewhat distant from the function that the current city exercises and exercised in the sacred valley of the Incas, one of the most important agricultural centers of the Inca empire and one of the main producers of the best corn from Peru.





The city is located 78 kilometers from the city of Cusco, it is crossed by the Vilcanota river, about 2875 meters above sea level, it is a perfect place to acclimatize and get used to the sometimes difficult Cusco.


Some of the History of Urubamba:



During the time of the Incas it was the entrance to the land of the chunchos, crossed by the Vilcanota river (which next to the city takes the name of Urubamba) or Willka Mayu, a sacred river for crossing the land where some of the the most impressive and sophisticated cities of the old empire of the sun, such as Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Machupicchu and Choquequirao. It was also one of the main agricultural pre-production centers in the Tawantinsuyo empire.


Interesting data:



The most common way to go to Machupicchu is taking the train from the Ollantaytambo station, where they depart constantly, however, from Urubamba part one called Peru rail Sacred Valley, an option that offers us comfort and luxury, part once a day and takes us to the Aguas Calientes station.


In this place is the House of Martin Pio Concha, the last Spanish governor of Cusco in the 19th century, this place houses around 380 archaeological pieces found in Machupicchu which were returned by the Yale University and are exhibited in this place.


The town of Yucay covered in exuberant beauty and always full of life and lively is located next to Urubamba and guards the palace of Sairi Tupac.


Snowy peaks:

Undoubtedly something that characterizes this province and is easily appreciated when one visits it are its snow-capped peaks and these are innumerable, if we think about the entire province and its rich geography, among them we can mention Willka Qasa, Chakikucha, Ch 'ikin, Hatun Luychu, K'urkur Urqu, Llama Wasi, Llawlliyuq, Marquni, Masanayuq, Minasniyuq, Muyuq, Pata Kancha, Pinkuylluna, Puka Q'asa, Phutuq K'usi, P'allqay, Qhapaq Saya, Qhispi Rumiyuq, Q 'illu Urqu, Runtuqucha Q'asa, Sallqayuq, Sut'uq, Tampu Mach'ay, Taruka Kancha, Uqhupampa, Waqra Tanka, Wamanripayuq, Wayanay, Wayna Pikchu, Willka Wiqi, Yana Urqu, Yuraq Urqu, and many more that surely on We were able to register, however the most outstanding ones, due to their size and their location, are the Veronica or Waqay Willca, the Salkantay, Chicon, the Pitusiray and Sawasiray, which are easily visible in the access to Urubamba from the Chinchero route.


Urubamba Attractions



Explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Acquire a tourist pass and visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas that forms the Urubamba River, which, in its day, was the epicenter of Inca culture until the arrival of the Spanish settlers. The valley is home to the ruins of Cusco, the thermal baths of Calca, the pre-Inca villages of Piquillacta, the incomplete temples of Ollantaytambo and the lakes of Wakarpay.


  1. Know the capital of the Inca Empire

Machu Picchu is the most emblematic citadel in Peru. It is located at the top of a mountain range that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. Located less than 20 kilometers from Urubamba, it is a hypnotic scene of Inca ruins located among the green Andean hills. To explore these Quechua ruins it will be good for you to drink coca leaf tea, as it will help you minimize altitude sickness.


  1. Practice adventure sports

The Urubamba environment is ideal to activate adrenaline with such exciting experiences as rafting in Chuquicahuana, which allows you to descend some of the most beautiful rivers in Peru, or zip line while enjoying incomparable views of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.


  1. Buy handmade pottery

Located on Avenida Berriozabal, the Cerámicas Seminario store sells authentic Peruvian pieces made of ceramics. Before starting the tour, you will be taken to a garden where you will enjoy an audiovisual presentation on the traditional ceramics of the Inca peoples. Next, you will meet its owners, the artists Pablo Seminario and Merilú, while they work in their store maintaining the authentic techniques of the traditional style of the Andes.


  1. Tour Moray

Moray is an agricultural complex created by the Incas in ancient times. Made up of artificial terraces, it resembles in design Greek and Roman amphitheaters. On the other hand, its interior is formed by craters that descend 150 meters underground. Be sure to admire the irrigation canal systems they used to grow potatoes, wheat, quinoa and pantyhose.


What activities can I do in Urubamba?



Urubamba's main square welcomes us with the beautiful San Pedro Apóstol Church, which is characterized by its colonial architecture and its twin towers. As there is a lot of commerce, you can find means of transport such as motorcycle taxis, which facilitate the transfer from one place to another in the town.


In the square, we can also find the workshop of the famous ceramist Pablo Seminario, who sells his artistic pieces throughout Peru. Don't stop appreciating his works!


You can also visit the Yucay community. Here you will witness beautiful landscapes and you can have the best photos to remember.


The story goes that the Spanish gave this town to an Inca named Sayri Tupac. Said Inca ordered a palace to be built in this community that belongs to Urubamba and can still be seen.


Options for adventurers



If you are looking for a bit of adrenaline or extreme sports, we recommend you visit the Urubamba River, known as Wilcamayu, which means “sacred river”. In it you can do rafting and enjoy a different experience. We recommend doing this activity between the months of December to March.


Another option for your trip is rock climbing, a recurring alternative for visitors to Urubamba. You can be part of the famous "Via ferrata", a route to climb a mountain with a permanent security system.


This type of route can be done by any visitor and the experience of moving between the mountainous settings will give you an unbeatable feeling. On the other hand, the zipline is also recommended in this area. 


Historical attractions



If you want to know more about the city, we recommend you visit the house of Martin Pío Concha, this was the last Spaniard who ruled in Cusco. Here you can find archaeological pieces that were found in Machu Picchu such as skeletal remains, metal, ceramic and lithic pieces.


You can also visit the ruined palace of the Inca Huayna Capac in Urubamaba. This Inca was the eleventh emperor of the Inca empire. The palace still conserves some of its infrastructure, this building has high walls, towers that served the Incas to observe the entrance and exit to the city. It was also useful as a resting place for travelers and, at the same time, it was a center of prayers or adorations. 


What can I find near Urubamba?



From Urubamba you can take a car and visit Moray. This place was an Inca laboratory, here they experimented with different altitudes and different temperatures through the orientation and design of the site.


It is also advisable to visit the Maras salt mine, once you arrive, you will think that everything is snow in this area, but no, the place is full of salt. It is an excellent landscape to observe and, above all, it has an enveloping mystique.


About thirty minutes from Urubamba, is Chinchero. Town in which the Inca Tupac Yupanqui resided. The Inca palace shows remains of what was this imposing fortress of the Inca nobility.


You can also find the colonial church of Chinchero, this place shows the skill of the Inca artists with stone and clay finishes. On Sundays you can enjoy the textile fairs that the residents themselves carry out to sell their products to the tourists who visit them. 


And the tourist attractions continue



Another place that you cannot miss is Ollantaytambo. This site was a very important center that had three purposes: to serve as a religious, agricultural and military center. This last point served a lot during the defense against the Spanish due to its strategic location.


In this same place, you will find the Ñusta Bath, La real Casa del Sol and La Portada Monumental. The most important thing is that here is the Temple of the Sun, a construction known as Aracama. This temple was a place of ceremonies that the Inca nobility celebrated.


One hour from Urubamba, there are also the ruins in Pisac. Made up of archaeological sites such as Intiwata Neighborhoods.





So far, we have touched on the most important points to visit Urubamba, but the accommodation is lacking. In Urubamba you will find a wide variety of hotels with prices and amenities to your liking.


Can you imagine sleeping in a kind of capsule located at the top of a mountain? Skylodge Urubamba invites you to have a different experience to observe all this fabulous landscape when you wake up or to be able to see even the last star when you sleep. If you think that sleeping 400 meters high is a good idea, then you are ready to enjoy this adventure.





The climate in Urubamba is temperate and warm, with temperatures ranging between 4 ° C and 21 ° C. There are 2 clearly differentiated stations. The dry season runs from April to October and is characterized by sunny days. During the rainy season (from November to March), on the other hand, river rains occur more frequently. The river and Vilcanota and the mountains that surround this town create a climate, known as one of the most pleasant in Cusco.


How to get to Urubamba?



On your own:

The best way to visit Urubamba and indulge ourselves is by hiring a taxi in the historic center of the city of Cusco, this will cost us around $ 30, where we will take control of the trip and we can make all the stops we can want to take photos or enjoy of the landscape full of flowers and snow covered all the way.


Something more viable and cheaper is to take a bus in calle pavitos in the historic center of the city, near Avenida Grau, and they leave throughout the day, as soon as they are full, these cost only a fraction of the price of a taxi, around 10 soles, we will pass through Poroy and Chinchero before reaching Urubamba.


With travel agency:

To provide services, the various travel agencies, depending on the itinerary that is contracted, generally go only through this place, or use the food services of the various tourist restaurants that exist throughout the town. However, it is also possible to use the bariados hotels in this province as a center of operations for your entire visit to the city of Cusco, especially if you want to reduce the impacts that height may have on you and after completing all your activities throughout the city. Sacred Valley Circuit and Machupicchu You can return to enjoy Cusco, much more adapted to the heights of the Andes.


Tours in Urubamba


There are many walks that can be excellent alternatives, if you did not manage to reserve the permits to travel the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Salkantay, Lares and Ausangate are some of them, and although they do not end directly in Machu Picchu, they will give you the opportunity to see it. However, if your main objective is to achieve Machu Picchu.

  • Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Short Salkantay to Machu Picchu
  • Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek
  • Lares Trek to Machu Picchu
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