Picturesque Ollantaytambo was the last stop of an organized tour that I took from Cusco.
I had booked it beforehand on the internet at Coca Tours which was a big mistake. I had trouble finally getting the ticket since their office was closed as I arrived in Cusco, and checking the prices in town, I paid about triple of the prices you get at the stalls around the plaza. Again: no(!) pre booking in Peru!

Valle Sagrado de los Incas - the sacred valley

However, the tour itself was really nice and recommendable. It goes from Cusco along the 'holy' river Urubamba across the Valle Sagrado, the sacred valley, to Pisac.

While the surroundings of Pisac are beautiful, the town itself is a - shopping - destination of every day tour. The main stop is a jewelry store...if you know what I mean. So unfortunately it's a bit difficult enjoying Pisac's beauty between all the shops and tour busses.

It's getting great again at the Archeological Park of Pisac where the still mysterious and fantastic remnants of the Inca culture can be admired. From the heights one has stunning views over the majestic Valle Sagrado.

Parque Arqueologico de Pisac
View from the citadel Sacsayhuaman - the first stop of the tour through the valley.

After the obligatory tourist lunch - and here I have to emphasize that the menus offered on organized tours in Peru are far from being rip offs, on the contrary, everything is delicious and of very high quality. Peruvians are very much into food, it's an important part of their culture. They are probably unable to prepare bad food; good for us visitors! Here, I even tried cuy, fried guinea pig; come on - it's a pig after all...

The next - and for me final - stop was the precious town of Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo was home, thus empire, to our friend Pachacútec Yupanqui who we already befriended at the Plaza de Armes in Cuzco. During the Spanish conquest, Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the resistance against the Spaniards, used this spot as a fortress.

View from the former Inca fortress Ollantaytambo.

The tour continued to the last stop, Chinchero, to see local handcraft, i.e. more shopping opportunities. Since I intended to continue to Machu Picchu the next day, it didn't make really sense to go back with the tour to Cusco. Therefore I split and stayed at Ollantaytambo and enjoyed the serene evening in town after all the tourist busses left.

Señoritas at the Plaza.

A stroll through the narrow side alleys, a glance at the majestic mountains in the sunset, and then a quiet night at a cute little guesthouse next to a creek at the town's outskirts.

It is possible to hike along the Inca Trail from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. It takes four days, it must be just wonderful, but I'm afraid it will be quite hard. I walk a lot and I'm not unathletic, but due to the altitude I found any form of exercise such as hiking and climbing extremely hard and literally breathtaking.


To read a post on the mountainous region around Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, Puno and Lake Titicaca as well as Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu, go to this special post.

Do you want to read about all the other beautiful places I've visited in Peru? 
Then go to the main post and take your pick!

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