5 Must-Do Activities in Ollantaytambo in Peru
Sadly, too many tourists who travel to Cusco only experience Peru’s Sacred Valley through the squeaky clean windows of a luxury train en route to the mystic and majestic Machu Picchu and forget about Ollantaytambo.
In fact, while Cusco and Machu Picchu are incredible, the neighboring Sacred Valley villages of Pisac, Moray, Chinchero, Urubamba, the Maras salt ponds, and the ex-fortress of Ollantaytambo, deserve a visit as well.
Ollantaytambo is full of history. Indeed, the town and the Inca archaeological site located an hour and a half away from Cusco used to be the temporary capital of the Inca Empire when Cusco was in the hands of the Spanish conquistadors.
To me, Ollantaytambo is one of the most beautiful, mysterious, captivating towns in all of South America, if not the world. Much of the town’s traditional Inca architecture has been preserved; walking down its orthogonal streets makes you feel like you’ve traveled back 600 years.
As I said, Cusco and Machu Picchu deserve all the fame they get, but please, if you plan on travelling in the Cusco region, don’t miss on Ollantaytambo because there are great things to see and do in the Inca’s resistance stronghold.
Visit the famous ruins of Ollantaytambo
The impressive terraced fortifications are Ollantaytambo’s main draw. The ruins, which require you to buy the boleto turístico (tourist ticket to access archeological sites) to access, are well worth the slightly demanding climb even if you are not a history enthusiast – the view is astonishing!
Climb the Pinkullyuna Mountain
On the opposite side of the valley, you will find more ruins on the sloping Pinkullyuna Mountain. The path is a bit sketchy, but it’s 100% free, although a guy tried to cover me at the beginning of the climb. Just tell him “No soy gringo” and you should be fine… welcome to Peru! 🙂
Once again, there’s a beautiful and rewarding scenery waiting for you along the way.
Stroll around the Old Town
When I talked about time travelling 600 years in the past, I was directly referring to Ollantaytambo’s picturesque Old Town. Cobbled streets guarded by massive walls, around which mountain water flows down Inca irrigation channels… The atmosphere is unique!
Cross the Inca Bridge and see where it leads you
The bridge in itself isn’t very impressive. But if you dare cross it and keep walking on the same path, you will be amazed by the landscape and the surrounding vegetation.
Learn the basics of Andean Weaving and woodworking with our org Awamaki
You can’t leave Ollantaytambo without visiting Awamaki, one of the many orgs we work with in Peru! For example, Awamaki will give you the opportunity to learn how to weave your own bracelet out of alpaca wool and to cook a traditional Pachamanca meal.
What are you still doing here? Take a flight to Cusco and come down the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo.