|Urubamba River (Willkamayu / Willkanuta)|
|- left||Kusichaka River|
|Length||724 km (450 mi)|
The Urubamba River or Willkamayu (Quechua for "sacred river") is a river in Peru. Upstream it is called by its Aymara name Willkanuta ("house of the sun", hispanicized Vilcanota). Within the La Convención Province the naming changes to Urubamba. A partially navigable headwater of the Amazon River, it rises in the Andes to the southeast of Cuzco. It originates in the mountain Khunurana in the Puno Region, Melgar Province, near the La Raya pass. It flows north-north-west for 724 kilometers before coalescing with the Tambo River to form the Ucayali River.
John Walter Gregory, the British geologist, drowned in the river on June 2, 1932 while on a geological expedition to the Andes.
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.
- 1934 first mapping
The lower Urubamba River was mapped for the first time in 1934 by Edward Kellog Strong III. He and two friends from Palo Alto, California, Art Post and Gain Allan John, navigated the river with its ferocious rapids by canoe and balsa rafts provided by the indigenous people. The mapping was done at the request of the Peruvian military when they heard of the expedition planned by the three 18 year olds.
It was turned over to the military when the boys arrived in Iquitos. It was the only map of the river until it was mapped by satellite many years later. The names and places on the latest map came from the original map drawn by Edward Strong.
Start of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu near the village Quriwayrachina at a bridge across the Willkanuta River
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- Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua, Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, Gobierno Regional Cusco, Cusco 2005 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary): Willkamayu - s. Geog. (Río Sagrado) Vilcanota
- Ludovico Bertonio, Transcripción del vocabulario de la lengua aymara (Spanish-Aymara dictionary): Willkanuta - Adoratorio muy célebre entre Sicuana y Chungara. Significa casa del Sol, según los indios bárbaros. Willka - Adoratorio dedicado al Sol u otros ídolos. / El Sol como antiguamente decían y ahora dicen inti. Uta - Nombre. Casa cubierta.
- Ministerio del Ambiente, Estudio linea base ambiental de la cuenca del río Vilcanota, Lima-Peru, 2010 (in Spanish)
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