Ollantaytambo Peru Tourism

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Ollantaytambo Peru Tourism

Ollantaytambo is a beautiful town in the Peruvian Andes near Cusco and home to the ruins of Ollantaytambo. For many travelers, it is also the last stop before visiting Machu Picchu. Our Ollantaytambo travel guide features things to do in Ollantaytambo, tips on how to get there, the best day trips and tours, and where to stay.

The charming town of Ollantaytambo is one of the most visited places in Peru's Sacred Valley for two simple reasons. The city is home to incredible Incan ruins, but most importantly, it has a rail connection to Aguas Calientes, a base for visiting Machu Picchu.

There is also a third, somewhat overlooked reason to visit Ollantaytambo.

The city makes the perfect base for independent travelers looking to explore the best sites in the Sacred Valley.

Moreover, the starting point for the mystical Inca Trail also known as Kilometer 82 is just a few kilometers from Ollantaytambo.

While Cusco has a lot more going on in terms of hotels, restaurants and activities, Ollantaytambo offers a slightly quieter experience in this tourist area.

For travelers looking for a more intimate travel experience, the town located at the base of the Urubamba Valley might be the perfect choice.

Soaking in the prevailing spirit of Inca culture is quite easy here as the ambiance and ruins perched on top of a hill won't let you forget the past.

Due to the location of the train station serving trains to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo is quite popular, and it is likely that you will visit the city, perhaps even on purpose, several times during your Peru trip.

For example, we got off the train there on our way back to Cusco after trekking the Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek, plus we visited them separately while exploring the Sacred Valley.

This visit happened before hiking in the Andes, and we really enjoyed the trip. In the Quechua language, the name Ollantaytambo means a place to look down.

It's a more familiar and shorter way of saying Ollantaytambo, and local people often use it instead of the longer version.

We've put together this travel guide to inspire you to visit Ollantaytambo as there is so much to see and do, and as always, we share practical information about where to stay or when to visit.


The history of Ollantaytambo dates back to the 15th century when the Incas conquered this region.

You may be familiar with the name Pachacutec, the most famous leader of the Incas. Remember the name well; You'll hear it over and over again from every guide or see it in every history book.

During his reign, Ollantaytambo became an important city due to its strategic location in the Urubamba Valley. On his orders, Ollantaytambo was extended, and a new structure was built.

In the 16th century, after Cusco fell to the Spanish conquistadors and long after Pachacutec's death, Ollantaytambo became one of the last hopes of the Incas.

In 1536, the Manco Inca army stood up and fought against the Spanish, and using a creative strategy, they defeated them. It was one of the few Inca victories over Spain.

Nonetheless, it was only a small win in the grand scheme of things, as the Spaniards came back with even more firepower.

The Manco Incas retreated to the famous Vilcabamba on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, and it was the last retreat of the Inca rebels.

Today, most of the locals here make a living from tourism, and the city is on almost every Peruvian itinerary.


While Ollantaytambo is mostly a transit city for visitors hop on and off the Machu Picchu train, it offers good accommodation options.

From budget family guesthouses with standard dormitories or shared rooms to mid-range hotels with spacious rooms and great views, Ollantaytambo has it all.

However, if you are looking for a more luxurious hotel, you may want to stay in Cusco. That being said, the mid-range hotels in the city are quite good and offer good value for money.

When deciding where to live, location is always important. Ollantaytambo is easy to reach on foot as the town is small and congested.


While Ollantaytambo is a major hub for hikers and travelers heading to Machu Picchu and sees thousands of tourists every day, surprisingly, there isn't much to do.

Do not take it wrong. It's just that Ollantaytambo itself doesn't offer much else in terms of tourist activities compared to other similar small towns in South America.

As such, Ollantaytambo is home to one of the finest ruins in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, and one not to be missed.

Apart from that, you can visit a traditional market and buy some souvenirs, eat local Peruvian food, or see some other Inca sites. Plus you can always visit some of the attractions outside the city. Everyday life in Ollantaytambo is different, more rural and slower. For some travelers, this may be a perfect fit.

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