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The main square of Urubamba, the Plaza de Armas, is attractively framed by a twin-towered colonial church and pisonay trees. Dozens of mototaxis, a funky form of local transportation not seen in other places in the valley (and widely seen in only a few other places in Peru), buzz around the plaza in search of passengers. Worth visiting in town is the beautiful home workshop of Pablo Seminario, a ceramicist whose whimsical work features pre-Columbian motifs and is sold throughout Peru. Visitors either love or hate the style, which was once sold by Pier 1 Imports in the U.S. The grounds of the house, located at Berriozábal 111 (tel. 084/201-002; www.ceramicaseminario.com), feature a minizoo, with llamas, parrots, nocturnal monkeys, falcons, rabbits, and more. The workshop is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Seminario now has shops in the Sonesta Posadas del Inca hotel in Yucay as well as Cusco. Lanandina (tel. 084/201-390; call for directions), operated by an Austrian resident of Urubamba, makes fantastic handmade wool house shoes, bags, and hats using a centuries-old Mongolian formula (there's also a shop in Pisaq on the main square, Casa del Arte y Te, where you can find the slippers and hats).

Yucay, just south of Urubamba, is a pleasant and quiet little village with extraordinary views of the surrounding countryside. The Spaniards "bequeathed" the land to their puppet Inca chieftain, Sayri Tupac, who built a palace here. Inca foundations are found around the attractive main plaza, and some of the best agricultural terracing in the valley occupies the slopes of mountains around the village. Worthwhile side trips from Urubamba and Yucay are the ancient Inca salt pans of Maras or the Inca site at Moray

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