The Sacred Valley of the Incas is one of the most sought after destinations in Cusco since the region holds a great cultural expression and the most impressive archeological sites. Ollantaytambo, for example, is one of those gems frozen in time, where history tells itself as you walk through its streets.
If you’re planning a trip to Machu Picchu you surely have heard about Ollantaytambo since it is the starting point for most travelers taking the train to Aguas Calientes. For that reason, we have prepared this travel guide so you get to experience this beautiful town at its fullest.
The visit to Ollantaytambo isn’t limited to the ruins, the town itself is a live museum since it has maintained a great part of its Inca urban distribution. Here you’ll be immersed in a Colonial-Inca scenery surrounded by imposing mountains, evergreen valleys and a lively culture.
Dare to uncover the spellbinding energy of the Andes during your trip, while also exploring and experiencing our mystical cusqueñan lands without missing anything on the way.
Here you’ll get to know all the details about Ollantaytambo so you can plan your trip according to your interests!
Long before the Incas even existed, the region of Ollantaytambo was inhabited by many different cultures that took advantage of the flourishing valleys along the Vilcanota river. We are talking about thousands of years ago when life was primitive and simple, around 1200 B.C.
Evidence has shown that Ollantaytambo was still inhabited by an organized civilization by the time the Incas arrived, who didn’t subjugate to the powerful Quechua culture and led a war between both communities.
Eventually, the Incas defeated them and destroyed their village. According to a Spanish chronicler, Ollantaytambo was rebuilt by orders of the Inca Emperor Pachacutec.
The region was adapted according to their needs, with agricultural terraces built along the river and a complex hydraulic system composed of permanent irrigation channels, which has been maintained until the current date. The Incas also constructed a massive ceremonial-administrative center just next to the village.
The ancient town was used as the last Inca refuge by Manco Inca Yupanqui during the colonization process. They actually defeated the Spanish conquerors in this place and later fled to the jungle where they withstood for many years.
Ollantaytambo is one of the perfect examples of the extensive urban planification knowledge. A great part of its distribution is present in the town we know today.
Nowadays, the small town is one of the principal attractions within the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It offers a great touristic infrastructure, characterized for being the main train departure location to Machu Picchu.
Although Ollantaytambo might be a very small town it offers a unique experience as soon as you step into its magical streets. Here we have gathered the best things to do in a walking distance before heading out to the Inca Citadel:
1. Ollantaytambo Archeological Site
This massive structure is located right at the heart of the town, it is one of the most imposing constructions of the Sacred Valley. The site served as an administrative and ceremonial center, which turned into a fortress during the colonization process.
The ruins are surprisingly well preserved though they suffered some damages during the Ollantaytambo war in 1537 and when the Spaniards gained control of the land. Nowadays, it is one of the most important pre-Columbian settlements in Peru.
If you wish to visit the Ollantaytambo Archeological Site, you must purchase the Cusco Tourist Ticket. Luckily for you, we include this special entrance in all our travel packages.
2. Pinkuylluna Storehouse
If you’ve been looking at the pictures from above the Ollantaytambo ruins, you surely have noticed a particular construction built on the cliffside of a mountain. Well, this ancient structure was also built by the Incas to help the conservation of the crops cultivated in the nearby terraces.
The site was presumably constructed during the Pachacutec reign, about the same time as the city was being rebuilt. The storehouses are strategically positioned at a high altitude to preserve and protect the food.
It is free to visit this archeological site though we must highlight that the hike could be quite difficult if you’re not used to the altitude or don’t have a good physical condition since the trail is very steep.
3. Ollantaytambo Town
As we mentioned before, the town itself is a live museum where colonial architecture merges perfectly with the Inca structures used as their foundations. Ollantaytambo is surrounded by a flourishing scenery and offers a relaxing experience in every corner.
If you’re looking for an authentic experience during your trip to Peru and Cusco, make sure to add the Sacred Valley in your travel itinerary. Take your time to explore each town and make the most of your stay!
Ollantaytambo is located 60 kilometers away from Cusco, right at the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. If you wish to visit this picturesque town, we highly recommend you to do so on a guided tour, that way you won’t miss anything of this special adventure.
Luckily for you, we have a special itinerary where you can visit this and other attractions before boarding the train to Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley Tour will take you on a cultural and historical journey across the Andes in Peru.
Are you ready to experience Cusco at its fullest? Viagens Machu Picchu provides everything so you just have to worry about relaxing and having fun! Get to know our special deals in Peru travel packages while you’re here.