Closure of the Urubamba Bridge in the Sacred Valley
January 7, 2013
Last week the news quickly spread that the Urubamba Bridge in the Sacred Valley located between Cusco and Machu Picchu had been closed to the public. The closure of was due to damage caused to the bridge when two heavy trucks attempted to cross the bridge at the same time. Under the excessive weight the bridge to buckled rendering it unsafe for public use.
The Urubamba Bridge forms part of an important tourist route from Cusco to the Sacred Valley, and is the main route for tourists using the Ollantaytambo train station. Click here for a map of the Sacred Valley.
Local authorities have not yet released any information on how long the Urubamba Bridge is expected to be closed, but here at TheOnlyPeruGuide we believe it could several months before the bridge is reopened. Most likely, absolutely nothing will happen until the rainy season has passed, and the river levels and the rain have returned to normal. The rainy season in Peru runs from December through until mid-April.
A similar style of bridge at Pisac in the Sacred Valley was closed for several months after receiving damage during floods in January 2010. A temporary bridge was erected 6 months later, and it still stands today.
How will the closure of Urubamba Bridge affect you?
Although the closure of the Urubamba Bridge will affect most visitors to the Sacred Valley, it will only mean a minor detour to another bridge located at the town of Pisac, some 30km’s east of Urubamba. Allow an additional 30 – 40 minutes on top of the usual travel time if you are travelling to Urubamba, Ollantaytambo or Ollantaytambo train station.
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The tourist attractions of Moray and Las Salineras which are located on the road from Cusco to Urubamba will still be accessible. However, if you plan to travel onto the Sacred Valley afterwards you may have to first return to Cusco before travelling to Pisac and onto the Sacred Valley. There is another possible option if you do plan to travel onto the Sacred Valley, but it is not 100% certain. Local taxi drivers know of a dirt track that takes you from Moray to the village of Huarocondo in between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. At Huarocondo there is a small bridge crossing the river. The road is not paved, and access during the wet season may be difficult. If you find a taxi driver that is willing to take you on this route, expect to pay a premium for the journey.
Will this closure affect the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
The train does not use the Urubamba Bridge on the route from Cusco to Machu Picchu, therefore, the closure of the bridge will not affect train journey’s originating in Cusco.
Estimated journey times
Cusco to Pisac: (not affected) allow 40 minutes
Cusco to Urubamba: (affected) allow 1h15 minutes in total
Cusco to Ollantaytambo: (affected) allow 1h45 minutes in total.
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