Like I mentioned before, we had already passed through Ollantaytambo on our way to Machu Picchu. We took a combi from Cusco to Ollanta, and then the train from Ollanta to Machu Picchu. On the way back, we saved room for a night in Ollantaytambo, to see the ruins there and check out the town. The image above is taken at the Ollantaytambo train station around dusk.
Ollantaytambo is a small town on the Rio Vilcanota, dominated by large ruins on the east, and the remains of buildings on the cliffs to the west. The train station is located just southeast of the center of town, a short walk away.
Ollantaytambo was a great little spot to slow down. If you’ve been running around Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, take a day or two off in Ollantaytambo, and enjoy the slow mountain town atmosphere. There are a few hostels to choose from, we stayed at the Sumac Chaska Hostel. The staff was excellent, but the showers aren’t quite hot, and no lockers, so weigh your options!
There are some great restaurants in town for classic Peruvian food, as well as some dishes targeting the tourist crowd. Eat the river trout while you’re here! I ordered some trout, and we watched someone physically walk in with a live fish about 20 minutes later. It was the best meal I had in Peru, by far!
The ruins in the west require the Boleto Turistico, but if you want to check out the ruins on the other cliff side, it’s free. Just hike up one of the paths on that end of town, and you’ll be good to go.
The main ruins tower over the town, they can’t be missed. It’s a large, terraced fort with cliffside trails to other sections. All the ruins in Peru were amazing, but I have to admit, Ollantaytambo was particularly cool to wander around. We learned that Ollanta used to be a center for trade in the Quechuan Empire. Three major routes joined in Ollantaytambo, and it was a vibrant trading community in Inca times.
Check out some of the pictures below!
Not a lot to write on Ollantaytambo. We took our one day there a little slower than some of the other stops we made on our trip. The town was gorgeous, the ruins were cool, and it’s an awesome spot to slow down for a bit. If you find yourself enjoying Peru, you’ll appreciate Ollantaytambo. Ollanta was just so different from the other places we visited.
Remember, if you’re taking a combi back to Cusco, make sure you have plenty of time! We had to be back to Cusco in time for a bus and left about three hours for a on hour trip. It took our combi that full two hours to fill up. The combis don’t leave until they’re full of passengers, and Ollantaytambo is much slower than Cusco. Cusco: about 5 minutes to fill up the combi, in Ollanta: 2 hours…
Next stop was Arequipa, Peru.