Ollantaytambo: Complete local guide

Ollantaytambo Local Guide

Welcome to Ollantaytambo, a picturesque Peruvian town nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Pronounced “O-yan-tay-tombo,” or simply “o-YAN-ta” by the locals, Ollantaytambo offers a unique blend of living Inca culture and awe-inspiring natural beauty. In this guide, we’ll delve into the essence of Ollantaytambo, providing you with a detailed overview of everything from its rich history to practical tips for your visit.

What Is The Sacred Valley Of Peru?

The Sacred Valley, known as “el Valle Sagrado,” encompasses the breathtaking Andes region surrounding Cusco, the ancient Incan capital. This region is a testament to both the enduring legacy of the Inca civilization and the splendor of Mother Nature. The remnants of the Incan Empire, preserved in the form of archaeological parks, draw visitors from around the globe. The locals, fluent in both Kichwa and Spanish, add a unique cultural dimension to the experience.

Getting Around The Sacred Valley

Upon arriving in Cusco, your transport options to Ollantaytambo include taxis or colectivos, shared vans. For convenience with luggage, we recommend either of these options. Shared taxis typically cost 35-40 soles, with the price per person decreasing for a group of four. Colectivos range from 10-15 soles per person. Note that they depart from Pavitos, Avenida Grau, so a short taxi ride may be necessary from the airport or hotel in the downtown.

The journey to Ollantaytambo takes approximately 2-2.5 hours. The town itself is eminently walkable, but taxis, colectivos, and moto-taxis are available for those with heavier baggage or shorter timeframes. Exact change is advisable for moto-taxis, which costs s/.1 per ride but the price will change according to the distance.

Accommodation in Ollantaytambo

Selecting the right lodging can greatly enhance your experience. Here are some highly recommended options:

  1. Mama Simona Ollantaytambo
    • Cost: Approximately $13 per night
    • Highlights: Inexpensive, communal kitchen, hot water, ideal for groups
  2. Hostal Chaska Wasi
    • Cost: Around $8 per night
    • Highlights: Budget-friendly, central location, near amenities
  3. Sol Ollantay Exclusive Hotel
    • Cost: From $80 per night (varies with occupancy)
    • Highlights: Upscale, inclusive breakfast, stunning views, central location

Things to Do in Ollantaytambo

1. Exploring the Market at Plaza de Ruinas

  • Description: A bustling market with an array of handmade crafts and souvenirs.
  • Tips: Negotiate prices, and seek out stalls away from each other for better deals.

2. Hiking and Enjoying the Scenic Beauty

  • Description: Wander the town and take in the breathtaking landscape, especially during sunrise or sunset.

3. Strawberry Fields Adventure

  • Description: Visit a working strawberry farm, an intriguing experience unique to Ollantaytambo.
  • Tips: High season is October-February; follow the path parallel to the train station.

4. Exploring the Main Food Market

  • Description: Discover a variety of fresh produce, meats, and local products.
  • Tips: Bargain for fair prices, consider visiting during Tuesday morning fruit truck arrivals.
  • Also you can explore the downtown the layout is Inca original even the water canals are from the Inca town this is the reason why Ollantaytambo is known as the Inca living town.

5. Archaeological Parks: Parque Arqueológico Pinkuylluna

  • Description: A visit to these sacred Incan sites offers a less crowded, leisurely hike with stunning views of the town, but the hike is very steep to get to the storehouses as you climb you will have spectacular views of the town the religious sector of Ollantaytambo.

6. Main “Ruins” or Archaeological Park

  • Description: A significant tourist attraction, the most visited areas are the regius sector where you will find the unfinished sun temple with massive stones, although profits primarily go to the government in Lima.

hike to the quarry and the sun gate

if you have one day in Ollantaytambo and you like adventure this day hike is for you you can hike up to the sun gate in Ollantaytambo from where you can have a stunning view of the sacred valley and to Veronica Glacier this is a moderate hike it will take you 3 hours o more to get to the summit and 3 hours to come back, on the halfway you will see the Inca quarry from where the Incas extracted stones to built Ollantaytambo.

Read more at: Best things to do in Sacred Valley.

Weather in Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo experiences a diverse climate that can greatly influence your visit. Understanding the weather patterns can help you plan your activities effectively.

Dry Season (May – October)

During the dry season, Ollantaytambo enjoys clear skies and minimal rainfall. This period, which aligns with the Peruvian winter, offers excellent conditions for exploring the town and its surroundings. Daytime temperatures typically range from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F), making it a comfortable time for outdoor adventures. However, it’s important to note that nights can be quite chilly, with temperatures dropping to around 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F).

Wet Season (November – April)

The wet season in Ollantaytambo brings more frequent rain showers, especially from November to March. While the landscape becomes lush and vibrant, some outdoor activities may be affected by the rain. Daytime temperatures remain relatively consistent, ranging from 18°C to 24°C (64°F to 75°F). Nights are milder compared to the dry season, with temperatures ranging from 7°C to 12°C (45°F to 54°F).

Pro Tips:

  • Packing Essentials: Regardless of the season, it’s advisable to bring layers of clothing, including warm clothing for the evenings. A sturdy pair of walking shoes, a waterproof jacket, and sun protection are also recommended.
  • Rain Gear: If you’re visiting during the wet season, pack a reliable raincoat or umbrella to stay dry during occasional rain showers.
  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses: The high-altitude sun can be intense, so protect yourself with sunscreen and sunglasses, especially if you plan to spend extended periods outdoors.

Remember to check the weather forecast closer to your travel dates for the most accurate information.

Can I start the Sacred Valley tour from Ollantaytanbo?

Yes you can, Usually only in in a private service this sacred valley tour from Ollantaytambo finishes in Cusco

Conclusion

Ollantaytambo stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Inca civilization and the splendor of the Andean landscape. From exploring vibrant markets to venturing into archaeological parks, this town offers a wealth of experiences for every traveler. Embrace the rich culture and natural beauty of Ollantaytambo, and make your visit an unforgettable adventure.

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