Ollantaytambo is a small town found in the Sacred valley of Peru. It sits 2700 metres above sea level and is an hour and a half on the train from Machu Picchu. Ollantaytambo was the last stronghold during the Spanish invasion and today provides a great little stop before heading to or from the mountain. With rich history making the town attractive, activities including whitewater rafting, ATV, horse riding, hiking and mountain biking attract those feeling adventurous. The town has changed since the Incas but you can still walk the cobbled streets and explore the local ruins.
The houses are original Incan built with some becoming hotels, allowing you to stay in the same buildings as the Inca’s. Throughout the grid-like pattern of streets, the sound of the cool mountain water running through the water diversion system will serenade you. The main square is home to restaurants and mini markets. Find yourself a balcony and look up at the empowering mountains while you have a drink.
The main attraction are the fortress ruins. They are 70 soles for a single visit or 130 soles for a 10 day entry pass to all the ruins. See our Cuzco guide for options. Choosing the right time to see the ruins will create different experiences. Tour buses arrive around 11am and around 3pm. You can hire a guide at the bottom near the entrance and also look around the Peruvian markets.
If you have seen lots of ruins where you paid already or want to see more, you can visit Pinkuyllana Granary for free. It takes about 25 minutes to walk up and provides great views of the city. The store sheds were built to allow for a natural breeze to flow through. This provided a cooling system with no refrigeration. The track can be narrow in some places so take extra care.
Other ruins near Ollantaytambo include Punku Punku and the remains of an Incan bridge. Punku Punku is the Inca gateway to the town. It’s a 10-minute walk from the plaza but be careful as you walk along the road. To visit the bridge, keep following the road until you cross the railway tracks. The bridges base are the only remaining parts built by the Incas.
Food is 15-45 soles but averages about 30 soles at most restaurants. For a delicious meal, head to Chuncho. Chuncho restaurant is in the main square and uses food from local farmers so the menu is always changing. The food is fresh and delicious and prepared so you can eat with your hands. Don’t worry if you order soup though, they provide a spoon.
Due to the Andean climate, cacao beans thrive. This has led to Peru being a world leader in quality chocolate. With all these beans you can find a few museums and shops scattered through the mountainous region. Ollantaytambo has a chocolate museum with a roofless courtyard and chocolate shop. Find out how to make chocolate by taking part in a chocolate making class.
For those people thinking about heading to Peru, I would recommend stopping in at Ollantaytambo and staying two nights, if not more. Please reach out via Facebook, Instagram or through our contact page if you have questions.