Ollantaytambo is where the train departs to Machu Picchu. From here you can catch the backpaker train and get to Machu Picchu in about two hours. The train is not fancy but its comfortable and drinks are served.
The ruins of Ollantaytambo are almost as spectacular as those of Macchu Picchu. Constructed in the shape of a puma, the ruins consist of a colossal open air amphitheater consisting of steep man-made terraces topped by several temples at the top of a steep hill. A granary sits opposite the amphitheater on a cliff, and it is said that on the summer and winter solstice, sunlight beaming in through the cliff strikes the “eye” of the puma where a temple sits. Climbing up the steep stone steps next to the amphitheater is an aerobic experience, but the views of the valley and terraces from the top is well worth the trek. At the bottom of the ruins lies an elaborate water system of troughs and basins, and our guide demonstrated how the residents shut the water “on” and “off” by running their fingers across the crest of the basin, harnessing water’s natural van der Waal’s forces to regulate the flow of the water as it cascaded down into the basin.
It's amazing what just being, standing, sitting, and observing does to you. All of a sudden, you can see things, your minds becomes curious and wanders a bit further...
The first 3 pictures were just by luck as we arrived in the middle of a city assembly where politicians were talking about their electoral promises.
You can't miss it, if you continue beyond the main square, you will see the Inca ruins. You will need the Boleto Touristico to visit and start climbing the stairs to higher grounds. Your efforts will be rewarded.
In the market by the Ollantaytambo train station, there are a group of local Quechuan women who sell hot corn on the cob ("el chollo", I think...) from big tin pots. You can get it "con queso" (with cheese) or "sin queso" (without cheese). Each cost one sol. It's the best corn I've ever tasted.
Walking from one ruin to the next is part of the fun and you get an idea of just how spread out some of these "cities" really were. This was the Aussie girl we met and shared the taxi with. Doreen is the wee spec in the doorway.
The Plaza Mayor or main square was a great place to relax especially after the tour buses left. It was full of locals and Doreen made quite a stir amongst the little girls, who stared at her both her height and golden hair.
If you hike from town, these are the ruins you will see first and they are perhaps the most impressive. The intricate stonework (much like that at Sacsayhuaman) leads scholars to believe it was a place of worship. The upper ruins though bigger are not nearly so perfect. Still, I like seeing them first as it is most likely where the majority of the people lived. You can than walk down to the more spectacular one en route to town.
Many people go to Pisac strictly to see its admittedly impressive market but it is well worth the effort to visit the ruins that sprawl on the the hill just behind the village. You can walk there if you have time but be warned that the ruins are quite extensive and just walking around them you will get a work out in as they are on various levels. You can alternatively take a taxi up to a landing and walk up from there. This will give you more time to explore and you will get plenty of hiking in. We were there for three hours including the walk down.
Though just outside Cusco and perhaps not directly in the Sacred Valley, the Sacsayhuaman ruins are right on the way out of town and can be seen as a stopover on the way to Pisac. Alternatively, and perhaps better, you can hike their early morning and grab a bus from there to Pisac or save it for another day. The ruins themselves are spectacular and when not crowded, rarely fail to illicit awe in most observers.
The views from up the stairs are just great.. It takes a lot of work to climb up there, lots of puffing, stopping and resting, but take on a look and you are already rewarded...
It looks like the face of an angry man, but the story goes like this: a princess eloped with a man she was forbidden to marry. On her way, she looked back and her face is frozen among the rocks.
Don't want to mislead anyone. We didn't have a guide, but I think these manificent walls belong to the temple pf the sun.
foreground:10 niches'temple,so called for the 10 perfect niches in the main wall.
behind,in the upper right:
sun's temple ,where,the organs of mummified incas were buried!
stopped by spanish conquista!
you see polished "waiting" stones.
polished for a perfect settlement....