In the heart of the Peru’s Sacred Valley, 60 miles to the northwest of Cusco, sits a city whose history dates back to before the 15th century. Ollantaytambo was built by the Emperor Pachacuti after he conquered the area, and the ruins of his ancient palace still dominate the landscape.
Today, Ollantaytambo is a destination that continues to be a draw to adventure travelers who come to Peru to trek the Inca Trail or visit Machu Picchu. The city offers access to some great trails of its own, and mountain biking, white water rafting, and rock climbing are just a few of the other activities that visitors can enjoy.
But the real draw to the city are the ancient ruins which often serve as a warm up for Machu Picchu. Many travelers make day trips to Ollantaytambo to acclimatize to the altitude, (the city sits at just over 9000 feet) and wander the cobblestone streets past the Fotress on Temple Hill and up the terraced mountainside. They take in the Temple of the Sun, which is impressive despite the fact that it was never completed, and they explore the nearby quarries where the Incans mined the stone that would be used in the construction process of the royal estate.
To find out more about Ollantaytambo, check out this article from CNN.com. The story has more details on the the items I wrote about above, as well as thoughts on where to eat while in town, where to catch the train to Machu Picchu, and more. If you’re heading to Peru, don’t miss out on this gem in the Sacred Valley.