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Ollantaytambo ruins in the Sacred Valley

Ollantaytambo Tours & Adventures

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Tucked below snowy Andean peaks, deep in the Sacred Valley, you'll find the village of Ollantaytambo. While it hasn't garnered the fame of Machu Picchu, it is home to a towering Inca fortress and fascinating ruins that include the streets and the town itself. It holds incredible significance to the ancient Inca empire as their final sanctuary against the invading Spanish conquistadors. The ruins here are both military and religious in purpose and have been very well preserved. In fact, many of the inhabitants of the village have indigenous roots and still practice many of the old ways, making it a great place to get some authentic exposure to culture & souvenirs. Ollantaytambo is conveniently located on the Urubamba river along the train route from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Explore the site before or after hiking the Inca Trail or one of Peru's magnificent treks and adventures.
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8 Ollantaytambo Tours & Short Trips for 2024-2025

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6 Hike the Inca Trail from Ollantaytambo for 2024-2025

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Classic Inca Trail$300910May 22, 2024Follow in the footsteps of the Inca on this classic 10-day Inca Trail Trek. Acclimatize for three days as you explore Inca ruins and bargain at busy …
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Inca Trail Express$19325May 22, 2024This 5-day trip spends 4 days hiking the Inca Trail then visits Machu Picchu for a full day exploring the ruins. Hike with expert guides and enjoy …
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Salkantay & Classic Inca Trail Trek$395112May 22, 2024This 12-day trek takes you along the legendary route of the Inca Trail, through the Sacred Valley and exploring the traditional colonial town of …
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Luxury Inca Trail$687210May 22, 2024Hike the Inca Trail in style and comfort. This 10-day Inca Trail trek & exploration of Andean Peru is combined with an upscale camping experience …
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Inca Pathways$314513May 22, 2024This two-week trek explores the ancient and revered pathway known as the Inca Trail through the Sacred Valley of the Inca. Spend 4 days hiking the …
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Inti Raymi + Inca Trail$437711Jun 15, 2024Spend a few days in Cusco and the Sacred Valley during the Inti Raymi Festival every June as we acclimatize for our trek by exploring ruins and …
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4 Best Explore Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo for 2024-2025

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Machu Picchu by Train$16717May 22, 2024On this 7-day excursion through the Sacred Valley starting in Lima, you'll visit impressive Inca ruins such as Sacsayhuamán near Cusco, then Pisac, …
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Short Inca Trail Hike To Machu Picchu$22447May 22, 2024This 7-day trip culminates in a one day hike on the Inca Trail arriving to Machu Picchu with a full day and a half to explore the ruins. Explore the …
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Machu Picchu by Train with Luxury Hotels$30417May 22, 2024Our mainstay Machu Picchu trip with luxury accommodations. We visit the most important Inca ruins such as Sacsayhuamán, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo, …
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Sacred Valley & Lake Titicaca Multisport$406512May 22, 2024This active 12-day tour through Peru blends exhilarating multi-sport adventures like whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, trekking, and mountain …
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Ollantaytambo Travel Guide

Ollantaytambo: The Living Inca City at the Heart of Sacred Valley

Nestled within the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco, Ollantaytambo stands as a living testament to the ancient Inca civilization. This remarkable town is the only place that has preserved its original Inca urban design, making it a must-visit destination before reaching the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. Rich in history and charm, Ollantaytambo exudes the aura of an ancient Inca captain, Ollanta, whose name inspires the town's Quechua moniker. As you traverse the cobbled streets and encounter Inca architecture entwined with colonial squares, you'll realize why Ollantaytambo holds such reverence among the Peruvian Andes.

Ollantaytambo is situated at the opposite end of Pisac, approximately 80 kilometers from the city of Cusco. With an elevation of 2,700 meters above sea level, this historic town boasts some of the most remarkable Inca structures in Peru. Its Quechua name, 'Ulla-nta-wi,' translates to "place to see down," while the Spanish derivative 'Tambo' signifies a city offering comfort and sustenance for travelers.

At the heart of Ollantaytambo lies its mesmerizing archaeological complex—a center of military, religious, and agricultural significance. Revered for its sheer size, originality, and intricate detailing, this ancient Inca site showcases the ingenuity of its creators. Wander through the well-preserved structures, and you'll be transported back in time to the glory of the Inca empire.

A Historic Haven of Resilience
Ollantaytambo has a unique distinction—it is the oldest inhabited Inca town in Peru. For over 700 years, its cobblestone alleys have been continuously graced by its inhabitants. Explore the narrow streets, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, and capture the essence of local life that has endured through centuries.

A Pivotal Role in Inca History
In the mid-15th century, Inca emperor Pachacuti transformed Ollantaytambo into a grand estate with lavish constructions and terraces for farming. Later, it served as a temporary capital for Manco Inca, who led a brave resistance against Spanish conquest. Although the Spanish took control, Ollantaytambo's legacy as a haven of Inca heritage prevailed.
WHAT TO SEE IN OLLANTAYTAMBO

Nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo is a treasure trove of Inca history and culture. Here's a quick rundown of the must-see spots:
  • Town: Start your tour at the town center, where an old Inca plaza is surrounded by time-tested buildings and structures. Take note of the iconic Inca doorways, indicating importance.
  • 'Araqhama: Cross the Patakancha River to explore 'Araqhama, a large plaza encircled by adobe structures and semicut stones. Don't miss the Roman Catholic church and the intricately carved stone sanctuaries nearby.
  • Temple Hill: Climb the terraces of Pumatallis to reach Temple Hill. Explore the Middle, Temple, and Funerary sectors, each with unique structures like the Sun Temple with the Wall of the Six Monoliths.
  • Terraces: Admire the valleys of the Urubamba and Patakancha Rivers covered with a network of agricultural terraces, some with high-prestige terracing like in Chinchero, Pisaq, and Yucay.
  • Storehouses: Ascend the hills to visit the qullqas, Inca storehouses ingeniously designed for natural ventilation and preservation.
  • Quarries: Travel to Kachiqhata, across the Urubamba River, to see where the Incas sourced stones for building. Explore the quarries and the ancient burial towers called chullpas.
  • Defenses: Notice the strategic defensive structures as you traverse the roads connecting Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and Pisaq. These once formed the fortress lines during the Spanish conquest of Peru.
The charm of Ollantaytambo lies in its continuous occupation since Inca times and the harmony of its structures with the surrounding hills and valleys.

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