It is typified by a degree or Class I, II, III and during Inca times it was called Sacred River or Willcamayu; because this river passes through the main Inca villages, it was the main source of irrigation of the platforms of the Sacred Valley.
This river originates in the knot of Vilcanota, hence, which initially is called Vilcanota River; the origin point is exactly in the snowy Cunurana to 5,443 m., department of Puno. It has a path northwest, going through major provinces of Cusco, begins its journey in Cusco, through the town of Raqchi, an important archaeological site at 3,450 m. (Temple of God Viracocha Inca); continued down valley, reaching Urcos, continuing through the town of Andahuaylillas, tourist place where is the call Sistine Chapel of America. There he is at a height of 3,150 m. to 36 km from the city of Cusco.
Urubamba river, passing through the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
In this district, the Vilcanota River continues its journey to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, through tourist district of Pisac, where is found, the Archaeological Site of Pisac belonging to the Inca Culture, built by Pachacutec, with ceremonial and administrative purposes. Continues, its journey through the various districts and provinces of Cusco, watering important farmlands, reaching the province of Urubamba to 2,875 m.
In this province, which produces the maize more larger in the world, change its name from Urubamba River to Vilcanota River or High Urubamba. The flow becomes turbulent with presence of rapids, until Class III; up there has a length of 110 km; and a flow rate of 600 m. cubic per second. The Urubamba, after bathing the fields of corn, continued its descent and the channel narrows through the Ollanta District, where is the Temple of Ollantaytambo, where the train to Machu Picchu is addressed.
Here, at a height of 2,792 m. it joins with the Rio Patacancha. Throughout this tour has a number of landscapes very attractive cultural and natural own the valley, the height decreases. The Urubamba River, goes interning to the jungle; continuing its route to Llactapata, which is the Inca Village, where begins the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, reaching the Town of Aguas Calientes (2,000 m.). On this site the buses leading to the Inca city of Machu Picchu are addressed. On this site, the river has the distinction of skirting in a circular form to the Mountain Huayna Picchu, forming a meander and an enigmatic landscape in amidst lush vegetation.
The Sacred river, plentiful and very busy continues its route to the capital of the province of the Convention in Quillabamba and Santa Teresa in the middle of a jungle landscape. It is here where the Canyon forms the Canyon of Mainique from where it is called the Lower Urubamba, receives water from Camisea, an important place of gas extraction; continuous to the northbound; goes into the Amazon jungle, joins to the Basin of Amazon, in the Ucayali River and Marañon, then flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Wilkamayu, Sacred River of the Incas was during this time inhabited by otters, abundant wildlife, and its banks were protected by dikes, that was channeled so that that protected from excesses, that could damage the farms of the riverbanks. You can see some evidence of Inca bridges, overhanging the one of Ollanta.
Nowadays, in the waters of the sacred river inhabits the torrent duck, among the nearly 300 species of birds; on its banks there is abundant flora and rocks. As, we move towards Machu Picchu increases flora and fauna; and once that is in the territory of the Historic Sanctuary to 2,040 m., the forest comes as home of the spectacled bear, the national bird of Peru "Cock of the Rock", of abundant species of butterflies and insects. Also will abound orchids, lianas, bromeliads, mosses and lichens.
Finally, this river that runs 862 km in Urubamba and Ollanta, allows the practice of rafting in the dry season, with a degree of I, II and III of difficulty.
By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last Update, 30-11-2015