I had originally planed to do these two site as separate posts, but there is actually very little information available about Urco, so considering they are right next to each other, I decided to combine them into one post.
The Inkariy Museum is a relatively new museum that opened in 2014 and is located approximately 4.8 km West of Calca or 16.5 km East of Urubamba, and due to the large statue/sign out front, is really hard to miss. Despite it’s central location in the Sacred Valley, the museum currently does not get many visitors and I often find myself being the only one there when visiting with guests, which is a shame because it is a very well done and informative museum and worth a stop.
One of the things I really like about this museum is the fact that they did not just focus on the Inca culture, but instead gave equal time and space to a total of eight pre-Columbian cultures, starting with the Caral that dates back to about 2600 BC, making it over 4,600 years old. They also include the Chavin, Paracas, Mochica, Nazca, Wari, Chimu/Lambayeque, and Inka cultures, and each of these cultures was chosen because of some contribution they made, or there were aspects of the culture that continued on into later cultures. So if you would like to learn a little more about Peruvian history than just what the Inka did, this would be a good place to plan a visit, and you can generally figure on spending between 1 and 1-1/2 hours here.
If you would like to visit the Museum it is easily done on your own either by bus from Pisac or from Urubamba, or if you are planing to hire a car and driver for the day to tour the Sacred Valley, ask them to make a stop for you. If you are considering using a tour agency for your visit of the Sacred Valley, there are a few companies that offer this as a stop on their tours, Condor travel I believe is one of them, so ask your agency about a stop, you might get lucky.
Many people see at least part of the Urco complex when traveling through the Sacred Valley on a tour, when traveling from Pisac to Ollantaytambo, just after passing Calca there is a large set of terraces on the right side, these terraces are still farmed and there is a small town at the base of them called Urco, which is where the site gets its name, but few people realize there is more to see here.
Just before reaching the Inkariy Museum if coming from Calca, there is a sign on the left side of the road for the archaeological site of Urco, and a small inconspicuous dirt road on the right side. The dirt road will take you up the hill and to a small hidden part of the Urco complex where you will not only find a large round building (not common in the area), but also an interesting frog head fountain.
As I mentioned above, there is not much information available about Urco, I have been told that it is Inka as well as pre-Inka, and while the terraces do look to be of Inka construction, the circular building and nearby constructions do not look very Inka like, so I will just say that this is an interesting site that if you have 15 or 20 minutes to spare, can be worth a quick stop, and you are almost certain to be the only one there if you do decide to visit.
Coming up in two weeks will be a hidden Inka ceremonial site near the town of Ollantaytambo.