Visiting Cusco doesn’t mean you have to stay within the city. There are plenty of places to visit and one of the more attractive for many tourists is the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It consists of many towns in the beautiful valley that was once home to the Incas.
One of the quainter towns in the area is Ollantaytambo. It’s a lovely little place to go for a few days to escape from the city and see another side of Cusco. The climate is a little warmer as it sits at a slightly lower altitude (2,792masl). We’ve got some tips on things to do if you decide to go there.
Visit the Ruins
This is, without a doubt, the most popular place to visit in this small town. It’s a very impressive Incan archaeological site that was a military and religious center. Its location is quite spectacular and it towers next to the town’s main square.
The ruins are in great condition and you‘ll get to visit some of the more important areas such as the Temple of the Sun, the Monumental Cover, and the Bath. From here they faced Spanish troops. You can imagine what it would have been like for them at that age.
The ticket is part of the Boleto Turistico (Tourist Ticket) that you can purchase at many other sites around Cusco and the valley.
Catcco means Andean Center for Technology and Culture of the Communities of Ollantaytambo. It’s a small cultural site that gives you a great insight into what they produce in this area.
You’ll find one-of-a-kind handmade pieces that have been created by the locals. There’s also an exhibition about the origins of the town and a conference room for cultural events in the area.
This is the busiest area of Ollantaytambo. It’s a very cute little spot that offers benches to relax on and is surrounded by quaint cafes, restaurants, and shops. It’s a lovely place to sit and enjoy a drink on one of the outdoor tables and watch the world go by.
Explore the Backstreets
Did you know that this is the ONLY town in all of Peru that has preserved the original Inca urban design? It’s true. It’s a real mix of Incan, colonial, and modern designs and is fascinating to walk around.
If you head a little out of the center you’ll come across some beautiful sights like the Vilcanota River and the rest of the Sacred Valley. You can get everywhere on foot as it’s a small place and you won’t find taxis here.
Pinkuylluna Archaeological Site
This is one of the lesser-known sites around Cusco. It’s in the middle of a steep mountain and from there you get the most wonderful view of the whole town and surrounding landscapes. You can see the site from the town that were Incan warehouses.
This is a natural attraction that is a short trek from the town. You can go by yourself or with an organized group. They are over 100 meters tall and often visited by the locals. There’s no need to buy any entrance tickets. Just make your way there and enjoy nature at its finest.
Explore Ollantaytambo During Your Time in Cusco
We highly recommend visiting this place when you’re here. It’s close to Cusco and is a great way to spend some time in the countryside and get to know a little more about the Incas. You’ll experience some amazing landscapes and explore the side of town that not everyone gets to. Don’t forget to enjoy a drink in the plaza and visit museums. You’ll be glad you made the effort to visit once it’s time to leave.
You can also see the traditions and history of Ollantaytambo (Video)
Written by: Liv Palmer
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