What Is The Sacred Valley of the Incas or The Urubamba Valley


If you’re interested in traveling to Peru, no doubt seeing Machu Picchu features prominently on your list of priorities. I highly recommend combining your visit to Machu Picchu with a Sacred Valley of the Incas tour. While Machu Picchu is undeniably breathtaking, it connects you to the past, not the present. Touring the valley, on the other hand, will immerse you in the living culture of the Andean highlands.

What is the Sacred Valley of the Incas?

Also known as the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Incas stretches about 62 miles along the Urubamba River. This river played a key role in the Inca’s religion and their daily life. They considered the river the earthly counterpart of the Milky Way, and its waters supported fertile farmlands and fields that extended up the mountainsides in terraces. Great Inca estates, temples and palaces sprung up here as a result.


Today life continues in the Sacred Valley of the Incas much as it did in the days when the entire area was the personal property of the Inca Emperor.

The valley is dotted with traditional villages where residents speak Quechua and produce crops like grains, avocados, and peaches using traditional tools and methods. A tour of the valley is as much about observing this traditional way of life as it is about enjoying the spectacular scenery and visiting some of the finest Inca ruins in the Americas.

3 Must-Do Activities

Visit Pisac Market: The ancient Inca considered market days an important ritual event, and today villagers continue to celebrate bustling, exciting market days where people from the countryside come to sell their wares.

Visit Pisac Market on Sunday for the full experience and you can shop for top quality llama and alpaca wool textiles as well as fresh produce straight from the fields. If you have time, you can climb the steep hillside behind the town of Pisac and visit some awesome ruins.

See Ruins: You’ll find amazing Inca ruins just about everywhere you look in the Sacred Valley. My favorite is Moray. Here you will find three huge amphitheater-like pits that have been sculpted with concentric rings of terraces all the way down.

Descend to the bottom of one and you may feel the temperature drop by up to 20 degrees. Some experts believe the Incas engineered this temperature drop so they could grow different crops in the bottom fields. Truly a unique sight!

Experience the Via Ferrata: With all this beautify scenery around you, you may feel yourself wanting to get out of town and explore! The Sacred Valley Via Ferrata lets you do this.

Basically you get to climb a 300 meter rock face using iron ladders and rock climbing gear for safety. Then you fly down a zip line for an exhilarating new perspective on the Sacred Valley. Older kids (or adults!) who might be getting tired of archeological sites will love this zip lining in Cuzco activity.

Tips for Travelers

When to Go: The high season for travel in the Sacred Valley runs from June through early September. Expect big crowds and higher prices during this time.

Traveling between November and March exposes you to the rainy season. October just might be the sweet spot for seeing the Sacred Valley in good weather without the crowds.

How to Tour: Tons of companies offer a Sacred Valley of the Incas tour. I don’t recommend doing one of the single day whirlwind bus tours because you won’t have time to really experience everything. Instead, look for multi-day tours, or even put together your own tour using the buses between the different villages in the valley.

You may want to take at least one guided tour of some site in order to get the perspective of a local Quechua guide and hear stories and legends about the area.

Sometimes travelers confuse the Sacred Valley of the Incas with Machu Pichu, they are different.  if you want to learn more about the The Lost City of The Incas make sure you read our article on  Machu Pichu.

The Legend of La Patasola


I am from the mountains of the Andes in the region of Antioquia.  Growing up visiting coffee plantations and listening to “Mitos y Legendas” or myths and legends under the light of the moon was the custom.  Well known stories like La Patasola, La Llorona, El Silbon, El Cuco, etc., abound as they are parto of Hispanic culture.  We used to gather late at night, my cousins and I, to tell stories and scare each other, and we all loved it.

If you ever visit the famous coffee-producing region of Antioquia, Colombia, take care not to wander beyond the boundaries of the towns or coffee plantations you visit, especially at night. According to La Patasola legend, you just might encounter a supernatural creature that will drink your blood for daring to disturb the peace of the jungle.

Origin of La Patasola Legend


Everyone agrees La Patasola used to be a human woman. But beyond that, different versions of La Patasola legend disagree on why this woman must now take such a monstrous form.

One version of the legend says La Patasola killed her own child to be with a man who later rejected her. Another version paints a picture of a beautiful but cruel and capricious woman who enjoyed tempting men.

Perhaps the most popular version has La Patasola playing the part of an unfaithful wife whose husband murdered her after discovering her infidelity.

All the origin stories agree that La Patasola suffered a horrible mutilation just prior to her death, namely the amputation of one of her legs at the hip. After dying of her wounds, her soul became trapped in a one-legged body, which now wanders the mountainous jungles of Antioquia, looking for victims.

She especially likes to catch and kill hunters, miners, loggers, and other men engaged in work that harms the jungle and its creatures.

According to some versions of the legend she also enjoys stealing children from their beds, taking them deep into the jungle where she can suck their blood with her fangs.




How to Identify La Patasola

La Patasola is a shape-shifting siren that draws men to her with pitiful cries of a woman lost in the jungle. At first she looks like a beautiful woman, but once she feels certain that her victim is well and truly lost in the forest, she transforms into a monster. In this form she has an ugly face with bulging eyes, fat lips, a hooked nose, and catlike fangs, which she sometimes hides behind her wildly tangled hair.

La Patasola has one breast and her thighs are fused into one leg with a hoof rather than a foot at the end of it. Despite this she can move extremely quickly through the jungle.

As she hops along, her hoof leaves bear tracks on the ground, making her virtually impossible to track, even with dogs. When it suits her, she can also transform into a big black dog or a black cow.

When La Patasola feels happy, she climbs to the top of a tree or a mountain and sings this song:

Yo soy más que la sirena, en el mundo vivo sola:

y nadie se me resiste, porque soy la Patasola.

En el camino, en la casa, en el monte y en el río,

en el aire y en las nubes, todo lo que existe es mío.

Meaning of La Patasola Legend

Many Latin American legends as well as legends from other cultures feature a siren-like figure who draws men to their doom.

These kinds of folkloric legends seem to exist to help reinforce cultural norms, serving as a warning to men and women alike not to deviate from acceptable sexual behavior.

The legend warns the men not to sneak off into the forest with strange but lovely ladies lest they get eaten, and it warns women not to be unfaithful or wanton lest they get turned into monsters themselves.

La Patasola Today

While the cultural message of La Patasola legend may not have as much relevance today when all kinds of sexual behaviors seem permissible, it is still a core part of Colombian folklore.

If you want to meet La Patasola without risking your life, you can visit the Path of Myths and Legends at the National Coffee Park in Montenegro, Colombia, or attend the annual Myths and Legends parade in early December in Medellín, Colombia to get in touch with true Latin American legends.

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