Kondor Path Tours

Inca Ollantaytambo Inca Site

Ollantaytambo is a town and Inca archaeological site located in the Sacred Valley of Peru, approximately 60 kilometers northwest of Cusco. The site was built during the Inca Empire and served as a religious, administrative, and military center. Ollantaytambo is known for its impressive stone structures, including its terraced walls, fortress, and Temple of the Sun.

Today, Ollantaytambo is a popular tourist destination and a starting point for those traveling to Machu Picchu. Visitors can explore the ruins of the site, hike in the surrounding mountains, and learn about the culture and history of the Inca civilization. The town itself is also a charming destination, with cobblestone streets, traditional houses, and a bustling market.

The best time to Visit Ollantaytambo

The best time to visit Ollantaytambo is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During these months, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making it ideal for exploring the Inca ruins and hiking in the mountains. The rainy season in Ollantaytambo runs from November to March; during this time, the area can experience heavy rainfall and occasional flooding. While the rain can make for beautiful landscapes and fewer tourists, it can also make hiking and exploring the ruins more difficult and muddy. Overall, if you want to experience Ollantaytambo at its best, visiting during the dry season is recommended.

What to do in Ollantaytambo

There are plenty of things to do in Ollantaytambo, both in the town and the surrounding area. Here are some ideas:

  • Visit the Inca ruins: Ollantaytambo is home to impressive ruins, including a fortress, a temple, and terraced walls. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the history and culture of the Inca civilization.
  • Hike in the mountains: Ollantaytambo is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and there are plenty of hiking trails to explore. Visitors can take a guided hike or explore on their own.
  • Explore the town: Ollantaytambo is a charming town with traditional houses, cobblestone streets, and a bustling market. Visitors can explore the city and soak up the local culture.
  • Visit the local market: Ollantaytambo has a vibrant market where visitors can find local handicrafts, textiles, and food.
  • Take a cooking class: Peruvian cuisine is delicious and unique, and visitors can take a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional dishes.
  • Visit nearby attractions: Ollantaytambo is a starting point for those visiting Machu Picchu, and there are other nearby attractions to explore, such as the salt mines of Maras and the circular terraces of Moray.

Overall, Ollantaytambo offers plenty of adventure, culture, and relaxation opportunities.

Private Sacred Valley Tours

Recommendations to Visit Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley

If you are planning to visit Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, here are some recommendations to make the most of your trip:

  1. Start early: To avoid crowds and make the most of your time, it is recommended to start your day early. The Inca ruins are open at 7 a.m., so consider arriving early to beat the crowds and enjoy the site when it is quiet.
  2. Please wear appropriate clothing. Ollantaytambo is located at a high altitude, so it can get chilly, especially in the morning and evening. It is recommended to bring layers of clothing and wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to hike.
  3. Take a guided tour. A guided tour can enhance your experience and provide insight into the history and culture of the site. Plenty of tour operators in Ollantaytambo offer tours in different languages.
  4. Stay overnight: Ollantaytambo is a charming town with many accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Staying overnight allows you to explore the city more relaxedly and soak up the local culture.
  5. Try the local cuisine: Ollantaytambo offers plenty of opportunities to try traditional Peruvian cuisine, including local specialties such as alpaca meat and guinea pig. Don’t miss the chance to try some of the delicious local dishes.
  6. Plan a day trip: Ollantaytambo is a starting point for those visiting Machu Picchu, but other nearby attractions are worth exploring. Consider planning a day trip to Maras’s salt mines or the Moray’s circular terraces.

Overall, Ollantaytambo is a beautiful and unique destination with plenty to offer visitors. Following these recommendations can make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories.

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Ollantaytambo has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the Inca Empire. It was a strategic location for the Incas, serving as a religious and military center.

The town was named after an Inca warrior named Ollantay, who was in love with a princess named Cusi Coyllur. The couple’s love story is immortalized in a play called “Ollantay,” considered one of the most important literary works from the Inca era.

During the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti, Ollantaytambo was expanded and developed into a major center for agricultural production and a military stronghold. It was strategically located at the Sacred Valley entrance, making it an essential stop on the Inca Trail.

When the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 16th century, Ollantaytambo was among the last Inca strongholds to fall to the conquistadors. In 1536, the Inca leader Manco Inca launched a rebellion against the Spanish, and Ollantaytambo was a key site of resistance. Although the Incas were eventually defeated, the town remained an important center of agriculture and textiles during the colonial period.

Today, Ollantaytambo is a popular tourist destination and a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the Inca civilization. Visitors can explore the town’s narrow streets, marvel at the impressive stone structures of the Inca ruins, and learn about the history and culture of this fascinating region of Peru.


The name “Ollantaytambo” comes from the Quechua language, which the Inca people spoke. The name is believed to have two parts: “Ollantay” and “Tambo”.

“Ollantay” is the name of a legendary Inca warrior who is said to have lived in the area. His story is immortalized in the Inca play “Ollantay,” which tells the tale of his forbidden love for a princess named Cusi Coyllur.

“Tambo” means “resting place” or “inn” in Quechua. It refers to the fact that Ollantaytambo was an important stopping point on the Inca Trail, where travelers could rest and find supplies before continuing their journey.

So, Ollantaytambo can be translated as “the resting place of Ollantay,” reflecting the town’s historical and cultural significance in Inca times.

When was Ollantaytambo built?

The exact date of when Ollantaytambo was built is not known, but it is believed to have been constructed during the late 15th century by the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. It was expanded and developed into a major center for agricultural production and a military stronghold during his reign.

The town was strategically located at the entrance to the Sacred Valley and served as an essential stop on the Inca Trail. The Inca Empire flourished during this time, and Ollantaytambo played a crucial role in its growth and development.

Today, Ollantaytambo is recognized as one of the best-preserved examples of Inca urban planning and architecture, with many of its original stone structures still standing. Its historical and cultural significance has made it a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world.

The best restaurants in Cusco

Many great restaurants in Ollantaytambo offer a variety of delicious Peruvian dishes. Here are some of the best ones to check out:

  1. Hearts Cafe: This restaurant offers vegetarian and vegan options and supports a local charity that provides education and training for at-risk youth.
  2. Puka Rumi Restaurant: This restaurant offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere and delicious traditional Peruvian dishes.
  3. Apu Veronica Restaurant: This restaurant offers a wide range of dishes, including vegetarian options, and has a beautiful outdoor seating area with views of the surrounding mountains.
  4. Chuncho Restaurant: This restaurant offers a variety of dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and has a lovely outdoor seating area with views of the nearby ruins.
  5. El Albergue Restaurant: This restaurant is located in a beautiful old train station and offers delicious Peruvian cuisine made with organic ingredients from their farm.
  6. Kaia Restaurant: This restaurant offers a fusion of Peruvian and international cuisine and a great selection of cocktails and wines.

No matter where you choose to eat in Ollantaytambo, you’re sure to enjoy the delicious food and warm hospitality this charming town offers.

How to get to Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is located in the Sacred Valley of Peru, about 60 kilometers northwest of Cusco. There are several ways to get to Ollantaytambo:

  1. By train: The most popular way to get to Ollantaytambo is by train from Cusco. The train ride takes about 1.5–2 hours and offers stunning views of the Andes Mountains and the Sacred Valley. Several train companies provide service to Ollantaytambo, including PeruRail and Inca Rail.
  2. By bus: You can also take a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. The bus ride takes about 2–3 hours, depending on the route and the traffic.
  3. Private transportation: Another option is to hire a private taxi or van to take you from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. This is a more expensive option, but it offers more flexibility and can be more comfortable.
  4. Trekking: For those who enjoy hiking, several routes lead to Ollantaytambo, including the Inca Trail and the Salkantay Trek. These routes take several days and require a guide and permits.

No matter how you choose to get to Ollantaytambo, the journey itself is part of the experience, as you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Andes Mountains and the Sacred Valley along the way.

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