Should You Stop in Urubamba?
Cusco is just the beginning of an adventure to see all the great Incan ruins of the Sacred Valley. Pariwana Cusco is a superb place to get you ready, and possibly to team up with other backpackers to head out into the valley. There’s so much to see, and you’ll have to consider time when deciding if stopping in Urubamba is a good idea.
Urubamba is the biggest town in the Sacred Valley, and you’re probably going to be passing through it anyway. To the east you will find the road to Calca and Pisaq, where those great ruins await you. However, you should probably be coming from that direction in order to make the best of the valley by doing a loop down toward Moray at the end of the day.
Urubamba is bigger that other towns, but it is a town nonetheless. If you have spent the whole day hiking the ruins of Pisaq and the others along the road, then you might want to make Urubamba a good resting place. The market is pleasant, even though it doesn’t have the trinkets that tourists usually are after. It does however have fruit and vegetables, and since it is not a tourist-packed site, you get a feeling of authenticity that you’ll cherish.
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Urubamba has several renowned ceramic workshops, whose goods you can also find in Cusco. The town might not have the features that a town like Chinchero has, but it is decidedly Peruvian; and why else did you come to Peru if not to get to know the local culture?
Urubamba is at the crossroads of the two highways that snake their way back to Cusco. As a backpacker, you’ll want to see them both. However, the road first goes onward, all the way to the hydroelectrica before Machu Picchu. You can opt to stay at a hotel or hostel in Urubamba, but if you have a tent we suggest you camp at the gated field, where it’ll cost you just 2 sols per night.