Ollantaytambo

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Ollantaytambo is a town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas near Cuzco in the Southern Sierra region of Peru. This is where the Incas retreated after the Spanish took Cuzco. Much of the town is laid out in the same way as it was in Inca times.

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Points of Interest in Ollantaytambo

  • Take a stroll through the town. There are still several houses dating back from Incan time.
  • Ruins of Ollantaytambo - ruins of largely religious significance, they doubled as the the last and largest defensive structures near the plains below where the Incas defeated the Spaniards in battle. Admission with boleto turistico (can be purchased at entrance to ruins) or 130 soles for just this site, 70 soles for students. Local guides can be hired in the market area below the ruins (20 soles). Or, do it yourself by purchasing the book most of the guides use, ¨Cuzco and the sacred valley of the Incas¨(salazar and salazar) which has an extensive section on Ollantaytambo. The book can be purchased in the market below the ruins (50 soles) or in advance in Cuzco (35 soles). Neither the guides nor the guidebook discuss the battles, for information on this research on your own in advance. Tours focus largely on the unique architectural significance of the sun's rays on the cad face of the canyon wall and on the temple walls, the still functioning fountains, and the large stone operating table. Even if you're not an archeology buff or ruins fan, these are worth seeing. Beautiful views abound.
  • Pinkullyuna is the hill with Incan storehouses overlooking the town and facing the main ruins. To get to the path up to these ruins, follow the road closest to the base of the hill (the rightmost one in the town grid when facing Pinkullyuna). You will see a small sign with an arrow pointing to a steep path, which takes you up to a series of ruins and storehouses. Admission is free, and from here you can see some of the most spectacular views of the Ollantaytambo ruins and town and the Urubamba Valley. It's a lovely hike, and can be done in just an hour or two. Some parts of the various path can be a little harrowing, especially the less oft used side paths (all of these also lead to ruins that are less apparent). Go with a friend or at least make sure you let your hosts at the hostel know where you have gone in case something should happen.

Ollantaytambo Terraces

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About Ollantaytambo

Activities

Look for houses with red plastic bags hanging outside on posts. These houses are where locals go to drink chicha, a local brew made out of corn. It is a great way to experience the local flavor, provided that you speak enough Spanish to communicate with the other chicha drinkers. It is advisable that you look for a place that serves things other than chicha, as some people find the taste unpleasant. However this is an acquired taste and can be overcome easily. Chicha, unlike masato made in the rainforest is not made by mixing with saliva as erroneously stated in the entry that this is correcting. Careful with the chicha, however - it is sometimes made under unhygienic conditions and it could make you quite sick.

  • Visit the Old Town unique in all of Peru, this part of Ollantaytambo was built by the Incas over five hundred years ago is inhabited to date. Entering an Inca cancha or courtyard is like travelling back in time.
  • KB Tambo. A hostel, restaurant, mountain bike, and adventure tour office rents mountain bikes by the day and arranges tours. If you're lucky, KB himself will lead the tour; if you get this opportunity you should jump on it, and be advised you're likely in for some serious adventure.
  • Chicha Tours http://www.chichatours.com/, the best way to experience Chicha (described above). Led by two quirky expats, they'll take you to the best and safest chicherias in the Sacred Valley while teaching you about the history and production process of this unique beverage. A fun and informative way to experience the local culture first hand.
  • Awamaki Weaving Project, Calle Convencion s/n. Awamaki is a small non-profit organization that works to support Quechua women weavers from remote, rural communities in the Patacancha Valley.Awamaki runs a small-scale sustainable tourism initiative to support this project, conducting tours to the Quechua communities where it works, and coordinating workshops in traditional Andean crafts. Tours to the community of Patacancha offer the chance to experience and learn about Andean indigenous culture, while also contributing to its survival and to the well-being of rural indigenous women and their families. Awamaki also works to promote sustainable tourism with families in town. They can arrange homestays in Ollantaytambo or even in the indigenous communities where they work.

For bookings and inquiries please contact tours@awamaki.org or stop by the Awamaki fair trade store in Ollantaytambo.

Food

There are several restaurants in Ollantaytambo:

  • El Albergue Restaurant. Within the El Albergue B&B this new restaurant has a first rate open kitchen where you can see your alpaca and trout dinners being prepared. Menu options include homemade fettuccine, sandwiches and great breakfast. In the evening white table cloths are spread, candles are lit, and the restaurant becomes a first rate dining experience.
  • Cafe Mayu. Is on the Ollantaytambo train station where you can grab a very good espresso or cappuccino as well as chocolate chip cookies and brownies. You can browse their menu for great breakfast and lunch options.
  • Kusicoyllor Restaurant Cafe offers novo andine & international cuisine,provide a good an unique view to the ruins, a candelite atmosphere for the dinner,Kusicoyllor restaurant is most common know to have the best coffee in Cusco.Located just near de Ollantaytambo fortress. Phone 204114
  • Hearts Cafe. Is on the main square of Ollantaytambo with views across the plaza onto the Inca temple-fortress. Profits go to children's projects in the Sacred Valley. Pleasant pavement dining, quality coffee, book exchange, and plenty of magazines.
  • KB Tambo. A hostel, restaurant, mountain bike, and adventure tour office, has very excellent food by Chef Alejo, a Chilean native who has lived in Ollanta for 15 years. KB Tambo is located just down the hill towards the ruins from the Main Plaza. www.kbperu.com
  • Panaka Grill 204047. is on the main plaza. Sit upstairs on their balcony and take in the view of the square while you enjoy the wonderful novoandina and international food. Finish off with a cappucino and one of their delicious desserts.
  • Quechua Blues Bar. This place is a very laid back spot, located just across the river in town. Once you cross the river, facing the ruins, look to a street on your left. The upstairs has swings and a very relaxed atmosphere, and the food is very good. Meals run about 15 soles, and lots of cool people are around at night.
  • Mayupata Restaurant, Next to the bridge (On you way to the ruins),  204009. Quality peruvian dishes and superb pizzas made in a firewood oven and served in a warm atmosphere. Also provides drinks at a bar attend by peruvian owner "Tio Raul". Be ready to enjoy an interesting conversation with someone who knows about the place and local culture.

Drinks

The English Pub: Ollanta's first "pub" opened in early 2010. Landlord Porfirio has years of experience bar-tending and knows what a real bar needs. The only place in town with British ales on tap, comfy sofas and satellite TV. Local non-profit Awamaki hosts regular quiz nights, salsa nights and everything-else nights in between.

Hang out at El Ganso with very down-to-earth owner "Acha".

Shopping

There are several shops, mainly Inca souvenir types. A market plaza for tourists sits at the entrance to the ruins, small shops up the hill from the plaza may carry the same items and be more willing to negotiate.

On the way from the ruins to the plaza, look out for the Awamaki Fair Trade Store after the bridge on your right hand side. Emphasis is on fairly-traded weavings from the Patacancha valley made with 100% natural fibers and dyes, as well as a select range of books, alpaca yarn and other locally produced artisanal items. The project is non-profit and proceeds from the store are invested into community development projects in the Patacancha Valley.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Ollantaytambo on Wikivoyage.

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