Sacred Valley | Ollantaytambo

Explore the fascinating history of Ollantaytambo and learn all you need to know to visit this unique place in the Sacred Valley, including what to see and how to get there.

The last stop before reaching Aguas Calientes and the famous Machu Picchu. This town often overlooked is apart of the Tourist ticket and holds multiple attractions. 

Ollantaytambo Location

On the route to Machu Picchu lies Ollantaytambo, this town has the largest amount and size of Inca ruins within the Sacred Valley . The archaeological sites covers over 4 square Km and hold different sections and neighbourhoods which host their own ruins. However, the town and its outreaches actually span over 600 hectares!The tourist ticket covers all the ruins within these sections. Some which lie outside the town which requires a hike are free. Check out below to see which ones.

  • Distance from Cusco: Via Chinchero-Urubamba – 75 km / Via Pisac – 93 km
  • Distance via Bus: Approx 2 hour / Approx 2 ½ hours
  • Altitude: 2792m
  • Tourist ticket needed for : All Archaeological sites within the towns inner scope.
  • Ruins and Archaeological sites (Opening time 7am-6pm)

The Inca Fortress and Temple of Choqana and inkapintay

Nestled into the mountain side these ruins covers the majority of the Western side of the town. There terraces and the temple on top marks the historical place where the Battle of Ollantaytambo was fought and one of the very few victories of the Incas against the Spanish during the time of the Spanish Conquest between 1532 and 1572. Nowadays climbing to the heights of this temples up the large terraces in the mountain face means panoramic views of the town and landscape and up close views of an ancient temple and battle grounds.

Granaries of Pinkuylluna

Slightly NorthEast of the town and opposite the fortress is the Granaries of Pinkuylluna. These storehouse ruins take an hour and a half of steep hiking to the reach and is only recommended if you are fit and used to hiking as the route takes a sheer and unstable track up. Once this feat is accomplished you will rewarded by an elevated view of the whole town and the fortress opposite in all its glory.
Unlike the Fortress this site needs no ticket. More than likely as it is undertaken by such few people.

Other sites of interest within the site and center include :

  • The MañayRaqay Square (K’uychipunku)
  • The Ñust’a Bath
  • Temple of the condor
  • Temple of the sun
  • The Ten Niche Enclosure

The Hikes

Granaries of Pinkuylluna
To get to these ruins you follow Calle Lares street in the direction of Cusco, up some steep stone steps, after this the track will fork and split to multiple storehouses. To the left is the closest ruins which give you the first views of the Town below. However if you want to make this an extended hike, retreating to the fork and continuing up the right hand path will take you up the mountain to more ruins such as the four towers that has significance to the deity Tunupa (God of Abundance)
A little less challenging in the track to Pumamarca from Ollantaytambo which takes approx 5 hours round trip. These ruins overlook the ‘White River’. Originally thought to be an ancient military control point on the way to Ollantaytambo this site ironically is not controlled today, meaning no entrance fees or opening/closing times. The route that follows Patacalle heading out of town crosses rustic bridges, waterfalls, smaller villages, and the Media

Luna terraces.
Inca Quarries (Canteras)
Another extended hike of approx 5 hours is to the ancient Inca Quarries. This route follows an original Inc trail along the Urubamba River until 800 meters above the valley where the quarries are located. These three closely situated Quarry was used in the construction of Ollantaytambo town in the 15th Century. The quarries contain remnants of this era with supposed tools, shaped rocks and mysterious constructions. If this route is on your list to do then be aware it is an exposed trek, so you will be subjected to the weather be that bazinging sun or tropical storms – be prepared!

Ollantaytambo Town

The town aside from the market is a place of great preserved history with original ican ad colonial style houses and a still used Incan Irrigation system which welcomes snow melt from the mountain above. The plazas and main square within the town are more tranquil and calm than that of neighbouring Sacred Valley settlements such as Piscac, Cusco or Agaus Calientes. There are also many glorious places to stay here that will allow you to enjoy your more authentic experience in a less touristy spot. As well as having a quaint charm the town does offer experiences and tours that venture a little further afield. Just walk along the street or ask any hotel and were sure you will find something that suits you such as historical talks, cooking classes, weaving classes etc.

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