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The Urubamba River (Rio Urumamba) is a river in Perumarker. A partially navigable headwater of the Amazon River, it rises in the Andes to the south-east of Cuzcomarker near the Puno Region border, where it is called the Vilcanota River (Rio Vilcanota). In the Sacred Valleymarker, between Písacmarker and Ollantaytambomarker, it is also called the Wilcamayu (sacred river). It flows north-north-west for 724 kilometers before coalescing with the lower Apurímac Rivermarker to form the Ucayali Rivermarker.

The Urubamba is divided into Upper Urubamba and Lower Urubamba, the dividing feature being the Pongo de Mainique, an infamous whitewater canyon.

John Walter Gregory, the British geologist, drowned in the river on June 2, 1932 while on a geological expedition to the Andes.

Upper Urubamba

The Urubamba River (December 1999).


The Upper Urubamba (Alto Urubamba) valley features a high population and extensive irrigation works. A number of ruins of the Inca Empire lie in the valley, including the Incan city of Machu Picchu.

Lower Urubamba

The Lower Urubamba (Bajo Urubamba) is relatively undeveloped and features a significant indigenous population consisting of the Campa tribes, principally the Machiguenga (Matsigenka) and Ashaninka. The economy is based on forestry and the nearby Camisea Gas Project. The main settlement in the region is the town of Sepahua.

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