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TRAVEL ABCs :Urubamba Valley, unbelievable gateway to the Incas

Machu Picchu is the pinnacle of any visit to Peru, but the ancient citadel of the Incas is actually only one requisite stop in the Sacred Valley, or in local lingo, the Urubamba Valley, my favourite U for this ABC series.

The town of Urubamba is where most visitors to the Inca trail stay thanks to its central location to the area’s attractions, but also for its more comfortable altitude. But it’s worth a visit for its peaceful atmosphere, set amidst the rolling foothills and snowy peaks of the Andes, but also for its amazing, colourful market – a slice Peruvian life seemingly unbeholden to the modern world.

Machu Picchu

Following the lovely Urubamba River, the valley is bookend by Machu Picchu (a worthy M in my list, but aggregated here), which needs no introduction, and at the end other Cuzco (technically a few miles away from the start of the valley), a major city, but filled with history – both Inca and Spanish – and culture.

In between are countless Incan archaeological sites – Pisac and Ollantaytambo, the bowl of Moray, etc., but also the bucolic countryside, revealed from a multitude of scenic views on plateaus and along switch-back roads.

I didn’t hike – a ubiquitous activity in the region – or raft on the river, but was nevertheless consumed by the colourful culture of the local Quechua-speaking indigenous people, who are prodigious weavers and craftspeople, tenders of llamas, raisers of guinea pigs (I looked but did not eat); and brewers of corn beer, amongst other attributes.

Taken together, the Sacred Valley – Urubamba – is unbelievable.

At market, Urubamba

Honourable mention: United Arab Emirates
Bucket list: Uruguay

Unlike the song, I have not been everywhere, so please don’t wonder why one of your favourites wasn’t one of mine. Instead, tell me at I’m already thinking about my next list.

Stay tuned to future issues for the rest of the list. And for previous entries, click HERE.


First published at Travel Industry Today

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