Machu Picchu has long been one of the top tourist sites in South America and certainly the top in Peru. In recent years, the annual visitor count has risen to over one million people. Those visitors who have a bit more time for their trip are starting to explore more and more of the ruins and towns of the Sacred Valley, which extends from Cusco to Machu Picchu. We had a total of 10 days in Peru, so we decided to spend a few nights in Ollantaytambo before heading to see Machu Picchu. What a great decision that turned out to be.
Ollantaytambo is about a two hour drive from Cusco, including a couple of stops for pictures and a quick lunch. We set up our transfer ahead of time with taxidatum.com and they were waiting at the airport with a sign when our flight arrived. Our driver didn’t speak more than a few words of English, but his son was there to make sure we were on our way with no problems. It gave me a great chance to get to work on improving my Spanish right away.
As we pulled in to the town of Ollantaytambo, we knew right away that it would be a great place to explore. Stone walls, narrow walkways, and ruins on the mountainsides was just what we were looking for. Over the next few days, we would learn that in addition to being a great place to base yourself for day trips to other Sacred Valley sights, the town of Ollantaytambo itself was worth a few days to enjoy.
Ollantaytambo – The Town
The Perfect Ending
If Machu Picchu is on your list, make sure to plan enough time to explore some of the rest of the Sacred Valley too. You have a few options for where to stay, but I would definitely recommend spending a couple of nights in Ollantaytambo. The people are friendly, the food is delicious, and the sights are amazing.