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Ollantaytambo: Complete Visitor’s Guide

Ollantaytambo ruins - Inca Peru Travel

Ollantaytambo’s History

Nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Ollantaytambo stands as a living testament to the rich history of the Inca Empire. Believed to have been built during the reign of Emperor Pachacuti, this ancient town served both strategic and ceremonial purposes. Ollantaytambo played a significant role during the Spanish conquest, showcasing the resilience of the Inca resistance led by Manco Inca Yupanqui.

Ollantaytambo’s Architecture

The architectural marvels of Ollantaytambo reflect the ingenuity of the Inca civilization, and is often called the last “living Incan city”. The town features meticulously crafted stone structures, including the famous Temple Hill, where massive pink granite blocks were quarried and transported from the nearby mountains. The urban layout, with its narrow cobblestone streets and agricultural terraces, provides a glimpse into the advanced city planning of the Incas.

Ollantaytambo’s Ruins

The Ollantaytambo archeological site, perched on the mountainside overlooking the town, offer a captivating journey into the past. Explore the Sun Temple, characterized by its colossal stone blocks and intricate carvings, showcasing the exceptional craftsmanship of the Inca builders. The terraced agricultural areas, strategically designed to maximize sunlight and water usage, reveal the agricultural expertise of the ancient inhabitants.

Hours: 7:00AM-6:00PM

Which Tourist Ticket?: With the purchase of the touristic ticket circuit #3, you will have access to access to not only the ruins in Ollantaytambo, but to the following sites as well in the Sacred Valley: Archeological Park of Pisac, Archeological Park of Chinchero, and Archeological Park of Moray. Find more about the touristic ticket here!

Price: S/70.00. Valid for two days from date of purchase.

What Else to See in Ollantaytambo

Beyond the historical and archaeological wonders, Ollantaytambo offers a vibrant local experience. Visit the Main Square, where colonial architecture meets indigenous charm. The Ollantaytambo Market is a sensory delight, filled with colorful textiles, traditional crafts, and local produce. Don’t miss the opportunity to interact with the friendly locals and immerse yourself in the daily life of this Andean town.

How to Get There

Ollantaytambo is approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of Cusco. Travelers can take a scenic bus ride or hire a private taxi for a more personalized experience. The journey takes about two hours, offering breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley along the way. Alternatively, you can purchase a tour through the entire Sacred Valley with transportation from a tour agency.

Where to Eat

Hearts Café:

Indulge in delicious, locally sourced dishes at Hearts Café, known for its commitment to sustainability and community support. The cozy atmosphere and terrace seating provide a perfect setting to enjoy a meal while overlooking the Ollantaytambo ruins.

Puka Rumi Resto Bar:

For a taste of both Peruvian and international cuisine, Puka Rumi Resto Bar is a popular choice. Located near the Main Square, this restaurant offers a diverse menu in a relaxed and welcoming environment.

Uru Pampa:

Experience traditional Andean flavors at Uru Pampa, where the menu highlights local ingredients and culinary techniques. The restaurant’s location, overlooking the town, adds to the overall dining experience.

Where to Stay

El Albergue Ollantaytambo:

Immerse yourself in comfort and luxury at El Albergue, a charming hotel with a blend of traditional and modern design. Conveniently located near the train station, it offers a unique and relaxing atmosphere.

Tunupa Lodge Hotel:

For a cozy and intimate stay, Tunupa Lodge Hotel provides comfortable rooms and personalized service. The central courtyard and terrace offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Apu Lodge:

Apu Lodge, nestled in the heart of Ollantaytambo, offers a rustic yet comfortable ambiance. With its eco-friendly practices and commitment to responsible tourism, it’s an excellent choice for environmentally conscious travelers.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Ollantaytambo is during the dry season, which spans from April to November. During these months, you can enjoy clear skies, pleasant temperatures, and optimal conditions for exploring the ruins and hiking in the surrounding areas. Keep in mind that June to August is considered the peak tourist season, so plan accordingly for crowds.

Ollantaytambo’s Train Station

The Ollantaytambo Train Station is a vital hub for travelers heading to the iconic Machu Picchu. Situated conveniently within the town, the station serves as a gateway to one of the most scenic train journeys in the world.

Train Services:

Expedition Train:

Operated by PeruRail, the Expedition Train offers a comfortable and affordable option for travelers. With large panoramic windows, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley during the approximately 1.5-hour journey to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

Vistadome Train:

For those seeking an upgraded experience, the Vistadome Train provides panoramic windows and a glass ceiling, immersing passengers in the stunning landscapes. Enjoy entertainment, snacks, and beverages during the journey.

Inca Rail:

Another option is the Inca Rail, offering a variety of services including the Voyager, 360°, and First Class trains. Each provides a different level of comfort and amenities, ensuring a memorable travel experience.

Train Schedule:

Train schedules vary, so it’s essential to plan your journey in advance. Trains depart from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes regularly, especially during peak tourist seasons. Check the latest schedules to optimize your visit.

Ticketing:

Secure your train tickets in advance, either through the official websites of PeruRail or Inca Rail or by visiting authorized agents in Ollantaytambo. Consider booking a round-trip ticket for convenience.

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