Ollantaytambo is a village in the Sacred Valley of south Peru. It's known for the Ollantaytambo ruins, a massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside. The Ollantaytambo ruins often considered the warm-up to Machu Picchu, offer a great taster for what lies ahead. The major sites within the complex include the huge Sun Temple and the Princess Baths fountain. The village's old town is an Inca-era grid of cobblestoned streets and decorative buildings.
How to get to Ollantaytambo
You will most likely get to Ollantaytambo from Cusco, if so here are the ways to get there:
Collectivo – These are mini vans that carry around 9 people. Collectivos wait for the vehicle to fill up with passengers before leaving, so there is no fixed departure time. This is a cheap way of getting Ollantaytambo. It will cost around S/.10-12 per person. The journey takes around 90 minutes.
Taxi – This is a more expensive but worthwhile option, especially with children. It will cost around S/.80. The advantage of having a private car is that you can make frequent stops for photo opportunities as the journey to Ollantaytambo has some truly beautiful landscapes.
We hired a private car to take us to Ollantaytambo. Along the 1.5 hour drive we stopped off at a textile production outlet and viewpoint overlooking the Sacred Valley. We had initially intended to take a collectivo (shared minivan) to Ollantaytambo. The private taxi option, although more expensive allowed us the flexibility to stop at some unique and interesting places along route, breaking up the journey and offering some incredible views.
Where to stay in Ollantaytambo
Finding accommodation in Ollantaytambo is pretty easy, there’s a plentiful mixture of homestays, hostels and hotels. It’s a very small village so it really doesn’t matter where you stay, everywhere is walkable.
If you do however feel too lazy to walk around the town there are tuk tuks that charge S/.1 per person to go pretty much anywhere in the village.
There are a few bigger fancier hotels on the outskirts of town, but will require driving in to the main square and ruins.
We arrived in Ollantaytambo just after lunch and stayed in the Ollantaytambo hostel (Main Square). This hostel has an open kitchen overlooking the ruins and they do a good breakfast.
Things to do in Ollantaytambo with children
Ollantaytambo ruins - It’s said that the ruins here are the warm up to Machu Picchu, but don’t overlook them!! The town, the ruins and the people here are awesome. The ruins are a short walk from the main square, not too difficult to climb and worth every grumble in getting to the top.
Moray - Moray is about an hour’s drive out of Ollantaytambo and set against a glorious backdrop of mountains. The iconic Moray ruins are worth the drive, offering a picture perfect Birdseye view of the plantation. For those up for a challenge you can even walk down into the ruins and hike back up.
Salineras -The Salineras are worth a look with an entry of 10 Sol, this a fully operational salt mining site, you can get down to the actual salt shelves and see it up close.
Machu Picchu – the famous Inca ruins on the mountain top is only a few hours by train from here, see out Machu Picchu Page
Pisac Ruins – Ancient hilltop Inca Citadel. Relatively few tourists.
Chinchero – small village between Cusco and Urubamba, it’s the home of Peruvian weaving and colourful market places, it also has the ruins from the Inca.