What to Do When Visiting Ollantaytambo?

When visiting Ollantaytambo, there are several activities and attractions you can enjoy. Here are some recommendations for things to do when exploring Ollantaytambo:

  1. Explore the Ollantaytambo Archaeological Site: Start your visit by exploring the impressive Ollantaytambo Archaeological Site. This Inca fortress features massive stone terraces, intricate stonework, and well-preserved ruins. Climb to the top of the site for panoramic views of the town and the surrounding Sacred Valley.
  2. Wander through the Town’s Historic Streets: Ollantaytambo has well-preserved colonial architecture and narrow cobblestone streets that make it a delight to explore on foot. Take a leisurely stroll through the town, visit the local market, and appreciate the traditional houses and Inca foundations that blend into the modern structures.
  3. Visit the Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries: Hike up to the Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries, located on the hillside overlooking Ollantaytambo. These ancient Inca storage structures offer a glimpse into the Inca agricultural and preservation techniques. The hike offers beautiful views of the town and the surrounding landscape.
  4. Explore the Local Museums: Ollantaytambo is home to a few small but interesting museums. The Museo Inkary is dedicated to Inca history and showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the region’s rich cultural heritage. The ChocoMuseum is a chocolate museum where you can learn about the cocoa-making process and even make your own chocolate.
  5. Take a Scenic Walk by the Urubamba River: The Urubamba River flows through Ollantaytambo, offering a picturesque setting for a relaxing walk. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, listen to the sound of the river, and take in the beautiful natural scenery.
  6. Experience Traditional Andean Life: Engage with the local community and experience traditional Andean life by participating in a cultural exchange or visiting a local community project. You can learn about traditional weaving techniques, agricultural practices, or even participate in a cooking class to discover Andean cuisine.
  7. Shop for Local Crafts and Souvenirs: Ollantaytambo is known for its vibrant craft markets and artisanal products. Take some time to browse through the markets and shops where you’ll find textiles, jewelry, ceramics, and other handmade crafts. It’s an excellent opportunity to support local artisans and bring home unique souvenirs.
  8. Enjoy Outdoor Activities: The surrounding area of Ollantaytambo offers opportunities for outdoor adventures. You can go hiking in the nearby mountains, explore other archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley, or even engage in adrenaline-pumping activities like ziplining or river rafting.

Remember to take into account the altitude of Ollantaytambo and give yourself time to acclimatize if you’re coming from lower elevations. Stay hydrated, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and check the weather conditions before planning outdoor activities.

Ollantaytambo offers a mix of history, culture, natural beauty, and local experiences, making it an exciting destination to explore in the Sacred Valley of Peru.

8 Best Ollantaytambo Trekking & Hiking Trips for 2023

I can provide you with a list of popular trekking and hiking trips in Ollantaytambo that have been favored by visitors. It’s always a good idea to research and check with local tour operators or travel agencies closer to your desired travel dates for the most up-to-date information and availability. Here are eight well-known trekking and hiking trips in the Ollantaytambo area:

  1. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: The classic Inca Trail is a multi-day trek that takes you through breathtaking landscapes, ancient Inca ruins, and diverse ecosystems, ultimately leading to the iconic Machu Picchu. This trek requires advance planning and permits due to its popularity.
  2. Salkantay Trek: An alternative to the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek offers stunning views of snow-capped mountains, high-altitude passes, lush valleys, and remote Andean villages. It typically takes around five days and ends with a visit to Machu Picchu.
  3. Lares Trek: The Lares Trek is a cultural trek that allows you to experience Andean village life, interact with local communities, and appreciate the beautiful mountain scenery. It often includes visits to hot springs and ends with a visit to Machu Picchu.
  4. Choquequirao Trek: This challenging trek takes you to the impressive Choquequirao ruins, often referred to as the “sister city” of Machu Picchu. The trek is known for its remote and rugged terrain, offering a sense of adventure and solitude.
  5. Huchuy Qosqo Trek: This shorter trek is a great option for those with limited time. It takes you through stunning landscapes, high-altitude passes, and the lesser-known Inca site of Huchuy Qosqo, offering a glimpse into Inca history and culture.
  6. Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca) Trek: While not located in Ollantaytambo itself, the Rainbow Mountain trek has become increasingly popular. It features vibrant-colored mountains, high-altitude landscapes, and stunning views, making it a memorable adventure.
  7. Pumamarca Trek: This lesser-known trek takes you from Ollantaytambo to the archaeological site of Pumamarca, where you can explore ancient ruins and enjoy beautiful views of the Sacred Valley. It’s a shorter and less challenging trek compared to others.
  8. Yanacocha Lagoon Trek: This trek offers a unique experience of hiking to the scenic Yanacocha Lagoon, located at high altitude and surrounded by picturesque mountains. It’s a day trip from Ollantaytambo, ideal for those looking for a shorter adventure.

Remember, trekking and hiking trips require physical fitness, proper gear, and sometimes acclimatization to the high altitude. It’s crucial to choose a reputable tour operator or guide, as they will ensure your safety and provide necessary support throughout the journey.

How to hire a local guide to Visit Ollantaytambo

Hiring a local guide is a great way to enhance your visit to Ollantaytambo and gain deeper insights into its history, culture, and significance. Here are some steps to help you hire a local guide:

  1. Research and Recommendations: Before your trip, conduct some research to find local guides in Ollantaytambo. Look for recommendations and reviews from other travelers, online travel forums, or guidebook resources. This can help you find reliable and knowledgeable guides who can provide a memorable experience.
  2. Contact Tour Agencies: Ollantaytambo has several tour agencies that offer guided tours of the town and its archaeological sites. Reach out to these agencies through their websites, email, or phone to inquire about hiring a local guide. Provide them with your preferred dates, group size, and any specific interests or requirements you have.
  3. Hotel or Accommodation Recommendations: Your hotel or accommodation in Ollantaytambo may have recommendations for local guides. Speak to the front desk staff or concierge and ask for their suggestions. They may be able to connect you with reputable guides or recommend trusted tour agencies.
  4. On-Site Hiring: If you prefer to hire a guide on the spot, you can visit the main entrance of the Ollantaytambo archaeological site. There, you will likely find local guides who offer their services to visitors. You can discuss your requirements, negotiate the price, and choose a guide who best fits your needs.
  5. Verify Credentials and Language Skills: When hiring a local guide, it’s important to ensure they have the necessary credentials, licenses, or certifications to operate in the area. Additionally, if you prefer a guide who speaks a specific language, confirm their language skills beforehand to ensure effective communication throughout the tour.
  6. Discuss Itinerary and Price: Once you’ve found a guide, discuss your desired itinerary and the duration of the tour. Let them know about your interests, whether it’s history, culture, architecture, or any specific aspects of Ollantaytambo you wish to explore. Agree on the tour price, payment method, and any additional costs such as entrance fees or transportation expenses.
  7. Confirm Meeting Point and Time: Before the tour, confirm the meeting point and time with your guide. It could be at your hotel, the archaeological site entrance, or any other designated location. Clear communication and understanding of the meeting arrangements will help ensure a smooth start to your guided tour.

Remember to be respectful and appreciative of your guide’s knowledge and expertise throughout the tour. Consider tipping your guide at the end of the experience if you are satisfied with their services, although tipping practices can vary depending on local customs.

By hiring a local guide, you can gain valuable insights, learn fascinating stories, and make the most of your visit to Ollantaytambo.

What is the Maras and Moray inca site

Maras and Moray are two fascinating Inca sites located near the town of Maras in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Each site offers unique features and provides insights into the advanced agricultural and architectural practices of the Inca civilization. Here’s more information about Maras and Moray:

  1. Maras Salt Mines: The Maras Salt Mines (Salineras de Maras) are a network of thousands of salt pans or pools that have been in use since pre-Inca times. The salt pans are located on a steep mountainside, and salty spring water flows into the pans, which evaporates under the sun, leaving behind salt deposits. The local community continues to maintain and harvest salt from these pans using traditional methods. The panoramic view of the salt pans against the surrounding Andean landscape is truly stunning.
  2. Moray Terraces: Moray is an archaeological site featuring a series of concentric terraces in the form of agricultural experimental platforms. The terraces resemble a natural amphitheater, with the largest terrace measuring approximately 150 meters (490 feet) in diameter and 30 meters (98 feet) deep. Each terrace has a slightly different microclimate, creating varying temperature and humidity conditions. It is believed that the Incas used these terraces to study and experiment with different crop varieties, adapting to different elevations and climates.

Visiting Maras and Moray:

  • Accessibility: Maras and Moray are located approximately 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) apart, and both sites can be visited on the same day. They are accessible by road from Cusco or the nearby town of Ollantaytambo.
  • Transportation: You can hire a taxi, join a guided tour, or arrange for a private driver to take you to Maras and Moray. Alternatively, some tour operators offer organized day trips that include these sites along with other attractions in the Sacred Valley.
  • Admission: As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, a separate admission fee is required for each site. Make sure to check the current ticket prices and availability at the entrances or with local tourism authorities.
  • Guided Tours: To gain a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural significance of Maras and Moray, consider hiring a local guide. They can provide informative commentary and share fascinating stories about the sites.

When visiting Maras and Moray, wear comfortable walking shoes, bring sunscreen and a hat for sun protection, and carry sufficient water. Remember to be respectful of the sites, follow any designated paths or rules, and refrain from touching or removing any artifacts or natural elements.

Exploring Maras and Moray offers a unique opportunity to witness the ingenuity and agricultural expertise of the Inca civilization, while enjoying the natural beauty of the Sacred Valley.

What is the Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries

The Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries are a set of ancient Inca storage structures located on the hillside overlooking the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of Peru. These granaries were used by the Incas to store agricultural products and other goods.

Here are some key details about the Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries:

  1. Location: The Pinkuylluna Granaries are situated on the eastern side of the town of Ollantaytambo, opposite the main archaeological site. They are easily visible from the town and can be reached by taking a short hike up the hill.
  2. Purpose: The granaries were built on the mountainside to take advantage of natural ventilation and temperature regulation. The location provided ideal conditions for preserving food and preventing spoilage. The Incas used these granaries to store crops such as corn, potatoes, and quinoa, as well as other valuable items.
  3. Architecture: The Pinkuylluna Granaries consist of several stone structures and terraces built into the steep hillside. The walls are made of fitted stones without the use of mortar, a characteristic feature of Inca architecture. The design includes narrow openings and ventilation shafts to maintain airflow and regulate temperature inside the storage areas.
  4. Hiking Trail: To access the Pinkuylluna Granaries, you can follow a hiking trail that starts from the main square of Ollantaytambo. The trail is moderately steep and takes approximately 30-45 minutes to reach the granaries, depending on your pace and fitness level. As you hike, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of Ollantaytambo and the surrounding valley.
  5. Free Entry: Unlike the main archaeological site in Ollantaytambo, the Pinkuylluna Granaries are not part of the paid ticketed area. Visitors can explore and access the granaries free of charge. However, there may not be any official guides or interpretive signage available at the site.
  6. Photography Opportunities: The Pinkuylluna Granaries offer fantastic photo opportunities, especially with the stunning backdrop of the town and the mountains. The unique architectural structures against the natural landscape create a picturesque setting.

When visiting the Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries, it’s important to bring water, wear comfortable shoes, and be mindful of your surroundings. Exercise caution while exploring the site, as some areas can be uneven or steep. Additionally, be respectful of the historical significance of the granaries and refrain from climbing or touching the structures to help preserve them for future generations.

What is the Boleto Turistico

The Boleto Turístico, also known as the Tourist Ticket, is a ticket that grants access to various archaeological sites, museums, and cultural attractions in and around Cusco, including some sites in the Sacred Valley. It is a convenient and cost-effective way to visit multiple attractions within a specified timeframe.

Here are some key details about the Boleto Turístico:

  1. Types of Tickets: There are different types of Boleto Turístico tickets available, depending on the sites you plan to visit and the duration of your visit. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there were three ticket options:
    • General Tourist Ticket: This ticket includes entrance to most of the major archaeological sites, such as Sacsayhuamán, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, and Moray, among others. It is valid for 10 days from the date of purchase.
    • Partial Tourist Ticket: This ticket grants access to a selection of sites within the Sacred Valley and Cusco city. It is divided into two circuits, each covering different attractions. Each circuit is valid for one or two days.
    • Single Site Tickets: For some sites, such as Machu Picchu, individual tickets are required, and they are not covered by the Boleto Turístico.
  2. Purchasing the Ticket: The Boleto Turístico can be purchased at the official ticket offices in Cusco or at the entrance of participating sites. You will need to show your passport to purchase the ticket, as it is tied to your identification.
  3. Validity: The ticket’s validity period begins from the date of purchase. The General Tourist Ticket is valid for 10 consecutive days, while the Partial Tourist Ticket is valid for one or two days, depending on the circuit chosen.
  4. Prices and Discounts: The prices of the Boleto Turístico vary for foreign tourists, Peruvian citizens, and foreign residents in Peru. As of my knowledge cutoff, there were discounted prices for students with a valid ISIC card (International Student Identity Card). It’s recommended to check the official website or inquire locally for the most up-to-date information on prices and discounts.
  5. Usage: Each time you visit a site included in the Boleto Turístico, your ticket will be stamped or scanned for entry. Ensure you keep your ticket safe and present it when required.
  6. Site Exclusions: It’s important to note that some prominent attractions, such as Machu Picchu and the Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca), are not covered by the Boleto Turístico. Separate tickets need to be purchased for these specific sites.

Remember to check the official website or consult with local tourism authorities for the latest information on ticket prices, inclusions, and any updates to the Boleto Turístico system.

How to Acclimatize to Olantaytambo Tour

Acclimatizing to the high altitude of Ollantaytambo and the surrounding areas is important to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable tour. Here are some tips to help you acclimatize effectively:

  1. Gradual Ascent: If possible, try to gradually ascend to higher altitudes rather than going directly from a low altitude to Ollantaytambo. This allows your body to adjust more easily. For example, if you’re arriving from Cusco, which is also at a high altitude, spend a day or two there before heading to Ollantaytambo.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Hydration is crucial at high altitudes. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and reduce caffeine intake as they can contribute to dehydration.
  3. Take It Easy: Allow your body time to adapt to the altitude by taking it easy on your first day in Ollantaytambo. Avoid strenuous activities and rest if you’re feeling fatigued. Take slow walks around the town to get accustomed to the altitude gradually.
  4. Medication: Consult with your healthcare provider about the possibility of taking medication to prevent altitude sickness. Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a commonly prescribed medication that helps with acclimatization. However, it’s important to discuss potential side effects and dosage with a medical professional.
  5. Proper Nutrition: Maintain a balanced diet with foods rich in carbohydrates and avoid heavy meals. Carbohydrates provide energy and can help combat the effects of altitude.
  6. Coca Leaf Tea: Coca leaf tea is a traditional remedy for altitude sickness in the Andean region. It’s believed to help alleviate symptoms and aid in acclimatization. You can find coca leaf tea in many places in Ollantaytambo, but consume it in moderation.
  7. Oxygen Supplements: In severe cases of altitude sickness, supplemental oxygen can be beneficial. Some hotels and clinics in Ollantaytambo may have oxygen available for guests if needed.
  8. Pay Attention to Your Body: Be mindful of any symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, or shortness of breath. If you experience severe symptoms or they persist, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Remember, everyone reacts differently to altitude, and it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your activities accordingly. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before traveling to high-altitude destinations.

What is Pumamarca ruins in Ollantaytambo

Apologies for the confusion in my previous response. There seems to be a mistake regarding the mention of Pumamarca ruins in Ollantaytambo. Pumamarca is not located in Ollantaytambo but is a separate archaeological site in the Sacred Valley of Peru.

Pumamarca is a lesser-known Inca ruin located near the town of Ollantaytambo. It is situated approximately 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) northeast of Ollantaytambo, in the direction of Calca. Pumamarca is characterized by its agricultural terraces and stone structures, reminiscent of the Inca civilization.

The site offers an interesting perspective on Inca agricultural practices and provides a glimpse into the ancient civilization’s ability to work with the landscape. The terraces of Pumamarca were likely used for agricultural purposes, allowing the Incas to cultivate crops at varying altitudes to take advantage of different microclimates.

While Pumamarca is not as well-known or extensively excavated as the Ollantaytambo ruins, it is a worthwhile visit for those interested in Inca history and culture. The site offers a peaceful and less crowded experience compared to some of the more popular archaeological sites in the region.

When planning your visit to Pumamarca, consider hiring a local guide who can provide historical insights and help you navigate the site. Additionally, it’s recommended to check the opening hours and accessibility of the site beforehand, as facilities and services may be limited.

Tips to Travel Ollantaytambo

If you’re planning to travel to Ollantaytambo, here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:

  1. Plan Sufficient Time: Ollantaytambo has a lot to offer, so make sure to allocate enough time to explore the town and its surrounding attractions. A day trip may not be enough to fully experience everything, so consider spending at least a couple of days in the area.
  2. Acclimatize to the Altitude: Ollantaytambo is located at an altitude of around 2,800 meters (9,200 feet). If you’re arriving from a lower altitude, it’s important to give yourself time to acclimatize and adjust to the thinner air. Take it easy on your first day, drink plenty of water, and avoid heavy physical exertion until your body has adapted.
  3. Dress in Layers: The weather in Ollantaytambo can be unpredictable, with temperatures varying throughout the day. It’s a good idea to dress in layers, so you can adjust your clothing accordingly. Additionally, pack a waterproof jacket or umbrella, as rain showers are common, especially during the rainy season (November to March).
  4. Stay Hydrated: Due to the high altitude, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent altitude sickness and keep your energy levels up.
  5. Purchase the Boleto Turístico: To visit most of the archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley, including Ollantaytambo ruins, you’ll need to purchase the Boleto Turístico (Tourist Ticket). This ticket grants you access to multiple sites and is valid for several days. Check the ticket options and prices to choose the one that best suits your needs.
  6. Consider Booking a Local Guide: Hiring a knowledgeable local guide can greatly enhance your experience in Ollantaytambo. They can provide historical and cultural insights, explain the significance of the sites, and take you off the beaten path to hidden gems. Guides are available for hire at the entrance of the main archaeological sites.
  7. Book Machu Picchu Tickets in Advance: Ollantaytambo is a popular starting point for those visiting Machu Picchu. If you plan to visit the iconic Inca citadel, make sure to book your Machu Picchu tickets well in advance, as they often sell out quickly. You’ll need to take a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) and then continue to Machu Picchu from there.
  8. Be Mindful of Local Customs: Respect the local culture and customs while visiting Ollantaytambo. It’s advisable to dress modestly, particularly when visiting sacred sites or interacting with indigenous communities. Ask for permission before taking photos of locals, and always be polite and friendly in your interactions.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy your time in Ollantaytambo and make the most of your visit to this beautiful and historically significant destination.

What to do in Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is a small town located in the Sacred Valley of Peru, known for its well-preserved Inca ruins and charming atmosphere. There are several things to see and do in Ollantaytambo that will give you a glimpse into the region’s rich history and natural beauty. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Ollantaytambo Ruins: Explore the impressive Ollantaytambo ruins, which served as both a temple and a fortress during the Inca civilization. The site features massive terraces, intricate stonework, and a breathtaking view of the surrounding valley.
  2. Temple Hill: Climb the steep stone steps to reach the top of Temple Hill. From there, you can appreciate panoramic views of Ollantaytambo, the surrounding mountains, and the Inca ruins. It’s a great spot for photography and soaking in the beauty of the area.
  3. Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries: Take a short hike to the Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries, located on the hillside opposite the main ruins. These ancient storehouses were used by the Incas to store crops and goods. The trail offers great views of Ollantaytambo and the surrounding landscapes.
  4. Ollantaytambo Town: Explore the narrow cobblestone streets of Ollantaytambo town, known for its well-preserved Inca-era architecture. Wander through the local market, visit the central plaza, and immerse yourself in the town’s traditional atmosphere.
  5. Pumamarca Ruins: If you’re up for more exploration, consider visiting the nearby Pumamarca ruins. This lesser-known archaeological site features terraces, a ceremonial center, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a relatively quiet and peaceful site, offering a chance to connect with the ancient past.
  6. Local Community Visits: Ollantaytambo is home to several indigenous communities that still maintain their traditional way of life. Consider arranging a visit to one of these communities to learn about their customs, traditions, and artisanal crafts.
  7. Outdoor Activities: The Sacred Valley is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding through the stunning landscapes. There are also opportunities for whitewater rafting on the Urubamba River or zip-lining across the valley.
  8. Maras and Moray: These two fascinating archaeological sites are located within driving distance of Ollantaytambo. Maras features thousands of salt pans used for salt production, while Moray showcases unique Inca circular terraces. Consider visiting these sites on a day trip from Ollantaytambo.

Remember to check the opening hours and admission fees for the archaeological sites in advance. Additionally, consider hiring a knowledgeable local guide who can provide you with historical and cultural insights during your visit.