Ollantaitambo Favorite Tips by richiecdisc Top 5 Page for this destination
Ollantaitambo Favorites: 8 reviews and 7 photos
Ollantaitambo ruins before the crowds arrive
Fondest memory: We arrived back in Cuzco safe and sound with a great sense of accomplishment. We had saved money. In fact, with the low cost of the local buses compared to the tours, we had paid for our accommodation, and most likely all our food as well. But that wasn’t really the point. We had traveled like Peruvians, and been accepted by them. Instead of feeling like outsiders on the bus, we were welcomed and it seemed respected for doing it. The people were friendly and helpful often beyond what we would experience in our home countries. We may have missed some sights, but we had dined with moonlit Inca ruins as our backdrop and watched kids play a makeshift game of soccer on a small street as the setting sun made a blooming cactus glow with light. We didn’t sit in big plush seats, but a local kindly offered Doreen his seat when he realized she was in need of it. A guide didn’t lead us around; we were on an adventure. That’s what travel is all about. Not knowing what comes next and not being afraid to find out.
ever higher on the Pisac ruins
Fondest memory: There was a long line but we waited patiently until we were nearly at the front and were told it was now closed and we could buy the ticket on the bus now. Of course, now the bus was full and we couldn’t get a seat and were forced to crouch under the low ceiling in the aisle. The road was winding and Doreen soon became a bit carsick. We both were still suffering the pangs of some intestinal problem from our carefree eating habits, and later on the ride, she had a severe cramp and had to kneel on the floor of the bus. A seated man noticed and asked me if she was okay, and would she like his seat. She gladly took it and we thanked him for his kind act.
Once in Pisaq, we checked out the market place but wasted no time in finding a taxi to take us to the ruins that sat perched on the hill high above the village. We had met an Australian girl that wanted to do the same, so we shared the cost of the cab. It was a fair distance and we were all glad we had not decided to walk the whole way as even from where the taxi dropped us off, we had a good hike up to the actual ruins which sprawled out like a small city over the hilly terrain. The ruins were impressive and we enjoyed them all to ourselves devoid of any other tourists under a cloud dotted blue sky. A tour bus finally arrived and we decided to take our leave, enjoying the steep walk down to the village. We had some snacks in the market place but soon bid our Aussie friend goodbye as she was returning to Cuzco after shopping and we still had a couple more buses to catch before our final destination for the night. The bus to Urubamba was uneventful as it was less busy and we had seats, and no sooner did we arrive and there were touts to tell us where the Ollataytambo buses departed from. One thing local buses seemed not, was confusing. We enjoyed this bus ride most of all as it drove through beautiful countryside and it felt good to get from point A to B easily and as most locals do. (see below in My Fondest Memory)
picturesque Ollantaitambo as the sun goes down
Favorite thing: .
Fondest memory: Ollataytambo was a surprisingly charming village and its ruins were full of tourists on their last stop of the day, clamoring over each other like so many ants. We lingered over a nice meal and beer from the verandah of a small restaurant that overlooked them, and later explored the timeless back streets as the setting sun shone perfect photographic light. We found a nice room for the night and it was nice to walk around the small Plaza de Armas after the tourists had left, with only locals sitting on benches and going about their daily routine.
Though the weather was less than perfect the next morning, we wandered over to the ruins early and again found them nearly empty, and certainly more serene than the previous afternoon. The mist and solitude invoked Celtic imagery from the gray gloomy stonework. We left as a light rain began to fall, before the first tour buses arrived and made our way to the buses back to Cuzco. We decided to take a different route and stop in yet another village resplendent with Inca ruins. The bus was packed but we had seats, and as we passed through this less than impressive village, we decided to forgo it, and head straight back to Cuzco. Sure, the full day bus tour would have taken that in, but there was so much that we would have missed. And best yet, we could decide to stop or not. We didn’t feel like it so we didn’t. On a tour, you have to go with the schedule, and move in a herd, like cattle from one stop to the next, with little regard for how much time you really want to spend there. (read the conclusion below in My Fondest Memory)
walking to the Pisac ruins
Favorite thing: Visiting the Sacred Valley is best done by local buses. Not only do you save money, you get to move at your own pace, see more, and experience more of local life.
Fondest memory: Sure, you can always do a tour. You can take the easy way out, but then you often miss out on the best things. And worse yet, you don’t get to make you own choices. Cuzco is the renowned capital of the Inca Empire and it is from there that many Inca ruins can be explored so quite naturally many tours are available. I imagine they are good value for dollar compared to similar trips run in North America or Europe but money is not the primary reason to forgo such enterprises. No, the real reason is freedom, plain and simple. After arriving at our hostel in Cuzco, it became obvious that the owners were intent on selling three things: a trip to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and half or full day tours of the Sacred Valley. We finally succumbed to doing the Inca Trail with their company as it was required to go in a group and why make waves by doing it with someone else, especially when we had no word of mouth recommendations to go by. This rendered the Machu Picchu trip moot as we would culminate the hike there. No matter how hard they tried to sell the Sacred Valley tour, I just wouldn’t give in. I asked about doing it by local bus and they said it was too crowded and confusing. Why would I want to do it that way? That was just what I needed, a challenge.
Finding the local buses would prove the biggest obstacle. We walked to the area of town that our guidebook said the terminal was located but either it moved or was off our map. A taxi driver noticed our confusion and rather than waste time, we enlisted his help to find it. Of course, it wasn’t too far and we were there in no time. One good thing about travel in Peru is the low cost of taxis so when you get lost, you can always jump in one for little more than a dollar and be transported to either your destination or whence you came. We saw a small bus with Pisaq on its placard, but on trying to enter were told to buy a ticket first from the ticket booth. (continued below in My Fondest Memory)
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