Quillabamba is the capital city of the Province of La Convencion, one of the thirteen provinces that make up the department of Cusco. Known as “The City of Eternal Summer”, due to the pleasant presence of a warm climate throughout the year.
The wonderful geography of Quillabamba and its charming warm climate make it a privileged destination for carrying out tourist activities throughout the year.
Quillabamba in La Convencion is a very extensive and complex Parish, since it not only includes the urban area, already large, but also all the farms and leases, towns and hamlets of the districts of Santa Ana, Santa Teresa Cusco, Vilcabamba (more than 4,000 m), Occobamba, Maranura and Huayopata. The history of Quillabamba in La Convencion is as old as the Inca Empire, from which its name comes: Quillabamba, the Pampa de la Luna.
If you visit Quillabamba and Cusco, we recommend you to visit another impressive destinations in Cusco like the rainbow mountain tour, the humantay lake tour, or the sacred valley tour, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Perú, other archaeological places you can know will be the machu picchu day tours from cusco.
Where is Quillabamba?
Surely you are wondering where is Quillabamba? Well, the town of Quillabamba is located north of the city of Cusco, at an altitude of 1,047 meters above sea level, in the District of Santa Ana, one of the nine municipalities that make up the Province of La Convencion. It is 236 km. from Cusco (about 4 to 5 hours by car), has a population of 35,000 inhabitants (INEI 2014) and occupies an area of 359.4 km2.
It is located in an area called the high jungle. Agriculture is the most important activity, mainly coffee, cocoa, tea and coca. The city is a mix of Andean and Amazonian migrants. The Urubamba River flows through the city from the south. It is a source of rare earth minerals and gold.
History of Quillabamba
Founded on July 25, 1857, the Villa de Quillabamba – the original name of this thriving city – stands out for its preponderant importance in trade between the valleys of Lares and La Convencion, and its remarkable agricultural production. Its great variety of ecological floors makes it possible that among the main agricultural crops the production of coffee, coca, cocoa and various fruit trees (orange, lemon, avocado, banana, among others) stand out.
The Dominican missionaries arrived in this area exactly in 1903, when Quillabamba was only Hacienda Santa Ana. Since then their work is extensive and varied, as is the Parish. Only in QuiIlabamba there are 16 educational centers, 2 Higher Institutes and 1 Agrarian University, with a student population of 8,400 students.
Regarding pastoral work, more than 150 Christian Peasant Communities are served. In addition, the missionaries attend the radio station “Radio Quillabamba” and a Library and Library serving the student community. The Dominican Missionaries of the Rosary are also here and carry out a truly admirable work, in the Hospital, the Schools and the Peasant Communities. On April 23, 1969, the missionaries’ house in Quillabamba became a Convent. In 1997, the first Monastery of the Cloistered Dominican Nuns was established in Quillabamba.
Weather in Quillabamba
Quillabamba is 1047 meters above sea level. The weather in Quillabamba is tropical. Compared to winter, summers have much more rain. According to Köppen and Geiger climate it is classified as Aw. The temperature here is on average 23.6 ° C. There is around 1,195 mm rainfall.
How to get to Quillabamba?
There are two simple ways to get to Quillabamba and both can be found at the “Terminal Terrestre”. Located in the district of Santiago, the terminal is only 10 minutes from downtown Cusco. Many cross country buses pass through this terminal.
The first option of how to get to Quillabamba is to hire a private car. A recommended service is Puerto Málaga Transportes. A cheaper option is to go by bus. Daily buses leave to Quillabamba from the Santiago terminal in Cusco (7-8 hours, ~ 4US $) via Santa María Cusco. Turismo Ampay is the recommended company for this trip. Other destinations are Ivochote (12-14 hours) and Huancacalle (4-7 hours).
The Kintu company gives passengers a bottle of water and a pill for altitude sickness (soroche). On the way to the destination, you will see a diversity of landscapes: from an icy landscape with native flora of the mountains and impressive mountains such as Veronica Mountain; then, little by little, the landscape will change and will be abundant in vegetation due to the tropical climate. Among the most common plants to see are bananas, pineapples, and citrus, among others.
The best time to travel to Quillabamba is after the rainy season, ideally from May to October. It is also the best season to travel the Inca Trail 4 days / 3 nights, the Salkantay Trek 5 days / 4 nights, or the Choquequirao Tour 4 days / 3 nights.
How to get from Santa María to Quillabamba.
Mototaxis is the way to get around in Quillabamba. As of May 2013, it was 1.50 soles to get from anywhere to anywhere in the city, although it is good to confirm this before entering.
Tourism in Quillabamba Cusco
Quillabamba has few tourist spots and tourism in Quillabamba Cusco is not very exploited, but there are some exceptional natural and aquatic tourist spots nearby. The streets to the north and south of the Central Market, instead of the eternally sleepy Plaza de Armas, are the commercial center of Quillabamba.
Tourism in Quillabamba Cusco is highlighted by the fairs and the variety of coffee and cocoa produced by its farmers. In fact, the local coffee is considered one of the best in Peru. Also when doing tourism in Quillabamba Cusco, you can try the rich avocados, delicious mangoes, bananas, Huando orange, mandarin and other native products of the area.
Ask a taxi driver for a local guide, they can take you to see some beautiful waterfalls in the jungle. On the way you will pass beautiful wild flowers, you will shade coffee trees and oranges that you can eat from the tree. There is also a small zoo half an hour away, which can be combined with a day trip to the waterfalls.
What to do in Quillabamba?
Quillabamba and its surroundings contemplate many sites and a diversity of landscapes that the list of must-sees would be endless. Of the 10 most visited sites: Sambaray Spa (Sambaray Spa), Villa Rica waterfall, Siete Tinajas waterfall, Huayllayoc canyon, Illapani waterfall, Cocalmayo hot springs, Yanay Mandor waterfall, Megantoni reserve, Coffee Night convention (The night of the coffee).
Another attraction of the city of Quillabamba, is in its central square, and is its cathedral, which, after the destruction of the Municipal Palace, is the oldest building in Quillabamba. Those who visit Quillabamba will also be able to get, in the different markets and fairs of the city, a series of typical products of these lands, such as cocoa, in its different varieties, and at reasonable prices.
So, what to do in Quillabamba? I have chosen three that I would personally recommend, since they are close to the city center, they are accessible and will leave you wanting to return:
The Sambaray Spa is located on the left bank of the Urubamba river and is located about 6 minutes from the center of Quillabamba. It is one of the most frequented places, by locals and foreigners, especially during the weekends. It has all the facilities for country walks or sports activities. The cool Sambaray pools are the mandatory remedy for the hottest days in the warm city of Quillabamba.
Sambaray is a park a bit far from the city center, on the banks of the Urubamba. Get a motorcycle taxi to Sambaray. There is a small zoo with a jaguar, spider monkeys, etc. There are two swimming pools in excellent condition, and it is 1.50 soles to enter. There is a small cafe nearby.
Located 20 km. from the city of Quillabamba, at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level, in the Echarate District (6.5 km from the capital of this district), Siete Tinajas is a magical place, where water and rock have formed unique lithic depressions in the world.
The waterfall has carved the bedrock, creating channels and irregular concavities from which it derives its name as they resemble seven natural ponds, pools or tubs. Its scenic beauty and the presence of some petroglyphs, of great anthropological and archaeological importance, can leave the visitor breathless, who can also enjoy a refreshing bath and a hydromassage session provided by Mother Nature.
Adventurers can practice rock climbing to the top of the natural ravine and take a 1 km hike. to visit the petroglyphs of seven jars. These enigmatic lithic remains show carvings with anthropomorphic shapes, spirals and rhomboid figures. Due to its characteristics, it is presumed that it was possibly a ceremonial center of worship to the water of the first settlers of this area.
To get here, you must first go to Echarate. Get a motorcycle taxi, asking for the bus stop for Echarate. Then get a combination (around 15 soles as of May 2013) for Echarate. From there it is within walking distance.
La Balsa is one of the tourist places of Quillabamba on the banks of the Urubamba. Get a motorcycle taxi. The driver may not know the name of the place, so ask for the park by the river. A short walk downhill from the end of the street brings you to the riverfront. The locals use this place to float downstream in an inner tube, to bathe and wash their vehicles. It is a good place to relax and spend an afternoon.
Coffee and cocoa fair
The province of La Convencion has a diversity of coffee crops, producing some of the best in Peru. Therefore, for coffee and cocoa lovers there is a fair every end of the month organized in agreement with the coffee growers and the Municipality of Quillabamba. By visiting these fairs you can taste the different varieties of coffee, chocolate, coffee liqueurs, coffee cocktails and cacoa, among others. Keep an eye out for brands like Paititi, Kienti, and Agroindustrias Megantoni.
Municipal swimming pools
In addition to the pools at the Sambaray Spa, Quillabamba has several municipal pools that stand out for their modern facilities and the use of specially treated water. The Torrechayoc pool is one of them, and it is located on the Torrechayoc esplanade. Open every day from 10:00 am. at 10:00 pm.
Echarate (or Echarati) is the capital of the district that bears the same name and which is also part of the Province of the Convention. It is located 27 km. from the city of Quillabamba, about 20 minutes by car on a completely paved road. Throughout its territorial extension it presents valleys, streams and mountains of great ecological wealth, which invite to develop eco-tourism activities.
The town of Echarati has undergone significant development in recent years and this has been mainly due to the gas canon produced by the exploitation of the Camisea field. The visitor will be able to enjoy a warm city with all the facilities while preparing to visit the wonderful attractions of the area: the Condor Sencca viewpoint, the Illapani waterfalls, the Pongo de Maenique or the Torontoy Petroglyphs, among others.
The Urusaywa or Urusayhua mountain, with its 2893 m.s.n.m., is one of the highest in the Echarate District. Also known as Apu Urusaywa (or Jealous Guardian), it is the perfect setting to develop adventure sports such as climbing, paragliding or hang gliding.
The Urusaywa hill has a rugged geography in which its crystal-clear waterfalls and its rocky slopes of up to 800 m stand out. The microclimates it possesses make possible the presence of numerous species of birds to the delight of fans of bird watching (birthwatching). The mountain is also home to several protected species, such as the Spectacled Bear and the Gallito de las Rocas. The flora is diverse and species such as wild bamboo, orchids, alizo, palo blanco, yanay, among others, stand out.
Also called Reserva del Megantoni, the Sanctuary is located in the Echarate District and has an area of 215,868.96 hectares. Megantoni stands out for its impressive beauty and natural wealth, which includes the Pongo de Mainique, one of the greatest wonders of nature. This geographical feature (Pongo), formed by the Urubamba River that divides the mountain chain by breaking the buttresses of the Eastern Cordillera of the Peruvian Andes, has a length of 3 km and a width of 45m.
The Megantoni National Sanctuary has 378 identified species of birds, among which the meganto macaw (ara militaris) – to whom the sanctuary is named – stands out, and 32 species of mammals. There are an estimated 4,000 plant species, of which only about 1,400 have been cataloged. This place is a true paradise for lovers of orchids and ferns.
Kashiriari native community located 350 km. approximately from Quillabamba, here is the most important natural resource in Peru. Tropical area of great natural and ecological beauty.
The best-known communities are the Machiguengas, Ashaninkas and Piros. The nomadic communities are the Nahuas and KugaPakory. The only community of cannibals is the Mascos. It is visited sporadically by national tourists and some foreigners who visit the city of Quillabamba.
Just 15 minutes from the city, you can reach the Huayllayoc Canyon by typical transport of the area. This is between the road from Quillabamba to Echarati, at the height of Quinta Ponderosa and El Paraíso. It has yet to become a major tourist attraction so you can enjoy it to the fullest. The five-meter waterfall releases a considerable flow of water that runs along a rock face into a small rock pool. To get to this place, you will have to walk a bit, but you will be rewarded with a view of coffee and cocoa crops, as well as citrus fruits, in addition to a pleasant landscape.
Yanay Mandor Waterfall
Yanay Falls (also known as Mandor Falls due to its location close to the Mandor sector) is a 30-minute drive from the city center. You can take a car from the Maranura stop along the Quillabamba-Mandor-Maranura route; Upon reaching the Mandor sector, take a detour in the direction of the waterfalls