When traveling to Urubamba, Peru, this rustic yet stylish retreat makes for an unforgettable stay in the Sacred Valley with friends or family.
Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley, Higuspucro is a home available for rent to tourists on their way to Machu Picchu or families and friends simply looking for some R&R. Completed in 2003, the two-story home was designed—and, in many parts, constructed—by Tere Grau. A painter, avid traveler, interior designer and art collector, Tere is a Peruvian renaissance woman and each of her interests is evident in this cozy home in Urubamba, Peru.
Location: Where in Peru is Urubamba?
The town of Urubamba is located in the Sacred Valley, in the southeastern section of Peru. For too long this area has been considered merely as a layover point before catching a bus ride to Ollantaytambo (30 minutes) and eventually the train to Machu Picchu (1 hour and 50 minutes). Next to the Urubamba River and below the snow capped Chicón mountain, the area thrives with indigenous flora and fauna, resulting in a storybook setting to the Higuspucro house.
Tucked in a secluded condominium containing just six other villas, Higuspucro is situated in the back and thus provides the utmost privacy from all the other adobe houses with eucalyptus support beams. Plenty of space divides each home, though the lush gardens in between add an extra barrier of peace and seclusion. Ever visible are the green mountain sides that characterize the Sacred Valley.
Upon opening the large, wooden entrance door, guests will be confronted with high ceilings, a spacious living room area complete with a fireplace and endearing window bench, an open kitchen with a large dining table, and an unperturbed peek of the lawn and patio space out back.
Set your bags down and the details, all of which are souvenirs from Tere’s worldly travels, will begin to come into focus: the textiles tastefully strewn, hung and laid out everywhere; the tapestries and ceramics from all regions of Peru; a collection of ceramic bulls (toritos de Pucará) keeping watch, and so much more.
The house comfortably sleeps five, making it ideal for families or small groups of friends. (Large groups may also rent the adjacent space, that sleeps four and has a private bathroom). On the first floor is the master bedroom with a queen size bed and an en suite bathroom. There’s a tub for soaking, and heavy curtains to completely block out the light for a restful night’s sleep. There is also a guest bathroom between the kitchen and master bedroom.
Upstairs is a loft with three twin beds, a bathroom (with picturesque views of the mountains), and a private balcony that looks upon the side garden and is accompanied by the soothing sounds of the creak below.
Guests are welcomed by the housekeeper Marlene, who has worked with Tere for over a decade, and a cup of coca tea to aid with any altitude sickness. A typical breakfast spread of bread, cheese, juice and coffee is offered to visitors each morning of their stay. As well, lunch and dinner can be prepared for an additional fee and should be requested with at least one day’s notice. Meals consist of organic ingredients sourced from the garden of Higuspucro as well as the local market. During our stay we were spoiled with trucha (trout) with rice and salad for lunch, and quinoa and chicken soup for dinner.
What to do nearby
Though it is quaint to most travelers, Urubamba is the largest town in the Valley and absolutely full of history and nature. It is the ideal place to fully relax and enjoy the company of those you’ve traveled with. However, for those itching to see the surrounding area, simply exit the condominium and immediately turn left on the gravel path for an easy hike to the neighboring town of Yucay.
To reach the town’s plaza, turn right for a 20-minute stroll. From there you can enjoy local coffee and pastries from the bakery Migas, stock up on fresh produce from the feria de los productores (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday), and find plenty of souvenirs in the area surrounding the municipal market.
Day trips from Urubamba include the town’s own Chullpas ruins, the ruins in the neighboring town of Ollantaytambo (where you can dine at Chuncho and visit the brewery of Cerveceria del Valle), Maras and Moray (a 40-minute drive), Pisac (under an hour) and the textile haven of Chinchero (40-minute drive).
Those who arrive from mid May to early June can enjoy the Señor de Torrechayoc festivities, a nearly month-long celebration in honor of Urubamba’s patron.
How to get there
Once you’ve arrived at the Cusco city airport, take a taxi to the bus terminal on Grau. Buses depart quite frequently and should charge you no more than S/6 to get to Urubamba. The ride is less than two hours and quite curvy, so it’s better not to eat anything heavy beforehand. Ask the driver to let you down at Recoleta, then either walk 20 minutes by foot to Higuspucro or hail a mototaxi.
If you have the means to treat yourself to a taxi ride from the Cusco airport to Higuspucro in Urubamba, go for it. Once you’ve made your reservation with Higuspucro, Tere can ask her trusted chauffeur to pick you up for about S/80. If you’re traveling with bags and small children, the splurge on comfortable transportation is well worth it.
All photos: Techy Lay
This article was originally published on Ravel in February 2020.