A River Town Among Andean Peaks
Gateway in the fortification wall In the verdant Sacred Valley of the Incas beneath the watchful eye of snow-capped peaks lies the friendly town of Urubamba. Endowed with good restaurants and tourist facilities, it's a great base for exploring the surrounding mountains with their spectacular scenery and Inca ruins. The town serves as a transportation hub, thanks to its location in the center of the valley, and is an hour's journey from Cuzco. The Urubamba River flows past it to the south.
Urubamba is the valley's largest town and it boasts a handsome main square, colonial church and sizable non-tourist weekend market. At the workshop of the famous ceramicist Pablo Seminario you can buy pre-Columbian-inspired pottery and if you happen to visit in the first week of June you'll see the town come alive during the El Señor de Torrechayoc festival. There are some Inca ruins nearby as well as the traditional village of Chichubamba where visitors can participate in agrotourism.
The mountains overlooking Urubamba hold some stunning Inca sites and reward hikers, bikers and horseback riders with magnificent views of the Chicón glacier. Heading south of the river you'll first come to the village of Maras, half an hour's walk from the Inca ruins at Moray. Moray consists of terraced sinkholes reminiscent of Greek amphitheaters that the Incas built as an agricultural laboratory. Further on there is an Inca salt mine called Salinas, where a salty spring was diverted to flow into thousands of shallow salt pools. The pools are white with salt deposits and form a dramatic contrast with the surrounding landscape.