Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is perched on an Andean hillside in the heart of southern Peru’s Sacred Valley, which runs between the towns of Pisac and Aguas Calientes. The lodge overlooks the valley floor, a vast patchwork of verdant farmland intersected by the meandering flow of the Urubamba River. Modern-day Quechua people farm the area’s fertile soil, just as indigenous people did hundreds of years ago. The valley is still dotted with the stone ruins and agricultural terraces of these early Inca inhabitants, and the traditional colonial towns built by the Spanish conquistadors are now home to local farming and weaving communities.
Cusco is the gateway to the Sacred Valley, as well as the cultural hub of the region. This UNESCO World Heritage site was once designated the imperial city of the Inca, and its pre-Columbian urban structure was preserved when the Spanish conquistadors began building over its framework in the 16th century. The result is a fascinating city of layered architectural styles and varied artistic and cultural influences.
The focal point of this charming town is its namesake Inca fortress, which ascends the surrounding mountain slopes in a cascade of intricate stone terraces. The winding cobbled lanes at the base of the ruins are also a draw—they make up one of the only remaining examples of an intact Inca street grid.
The Inca ruins at Pisac are notable for their curved agricultural terraces, from which you can take in stunning views over the Sacred Valley. The town that sits below the ruins hosts a bustling handicrafts market, where local artisans from across the valley come to sell their wares.
The legendary Inca citadel is nestled in the mountains above the town of Aguas Calientes. The town can be reached by trains originating from Ollantaytambo, a 30-minute drive from the lodge, or Poroy, about an hour and a half away.
The Urubamba River naturally irrigates the Sacred Valley’s alluvial plain, creating fertile soil that has been used in agriculture for centuries. Farmers here grow an array of crops on the valley floor, including corn, potatoes, quinoa, and tropical fruits. As the plain gives way to Andean slopes, the landscape transitions to one of verdant forests and high grasses, punctuated by prickly cacti and colorful wildflowers. The area is rich with wildlife, including rare bird species like the bearded mountaineer, sparkling violetears, and Andean parakeets.
The Quechua make up the largest group of indigenous people in Peru. The Quechua of the Sacred Valley subsist primarily on agriculture, with some villages also reviving traditional Inca weaving techniques to make textiles and other handicrafts for sale. Many other Inca traditions continue to live on in the music, food, and religion of these communities—customs that have largely died out in urban centers.
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