Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
Ollantaytambo is stunningly stark in its simplicity. The cobblestone streets belie the current year, as water gushes melodically along through the ancient Incan planned viaducts as children careen around sharp corners rushing to get home after school, silently attesting to the safety of the car-less streets.
It lies nestled in the green hills of the Sacred Valley, protected by the sentinel fortress of Ollantaytambo on one side, and ancient Incan granaries on the other side. It’s a wonderful place to stay a few days before your trip to MP.
It’s the perfect point to stop if you’re going by the cheaper trains (which leave out of Ollantaytambo, or if you follow my cheap guide to Machu Picchu).
So you’re in Ollanta, and are unsure of what to do…
1. Climb to the granaries on the right side out of town. It’s a fairly easy (if not steep) 45 minute ascent and 30 minute descent hike. The views of the fortress and the valley are stunning.
2. Visit the fortress itself. If you don’t have a boleto turistico, the big tourist ticket for the area, no problem. See my forthcoming post on sneaking into the fortress of Ollantaytambo.
3. Wander the back alleyways of Ollantaytambo
4. Visit the Incan quarries, a beautiful full day hike into the surrounding countryside to visit the Incan rock quarries.
Ultimately, Ollanta is well worth a day or two. Beautiful hikes, calm tranquil atmosphere, and beauty that envelopes you.