Ollantaytambo: what to do at the archaeological zone of the Sacred Valley

views ollantaytambo ruins

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As an indispensable part of the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo stands as a town full of Inca traditions and culture and archaeological sites that bear witness to their legacy. Its streets and ruins tell the story of everything fascinating about the Inca culture: how they lived and how they organized themselves as a civilization.

If your final destination is Machu Pichu, Ollantataymbo is an essential stop that will leave you with pleasant memories. And if variety is what it’s all about, the town has restaurants, bars, hotels, and markets full of traditions. We tell you what to do in Ollantaytambo, the Sacred Valley.

Ollantaytambo Fortress

The story goes that an Inca emperor built this city, in addition to the people there, lived the Inca monarchy. It was a place where the emperor installed his soldiers, with cultivation areas and used as part of the Inca religion.

Nowadays, the impressive monuments will take you back to that time. We show you the most fascinating ruins and remains of the empire that you will find in Ollantaytambo.

Temple of the Sun

This building is located on the top of a pyramid, the square still has 6 monoliths at the top. This temple does honor the meaning of Ollantaytambo “place of observation from above”. To access the temple you must climb 150 steps perfectly built by the ancient civilization.

stone monument temple of the sun essential to do in ollantaytambo

It is known that the material with which the temple was built is granite, a quite arduous work since the stones were extracted 4 kilometers away from the valley. It is believed that its purpose was ceremonial, since the Incas worshiped the sun. You can not miss visiting the temple of the sun, it will surely be one of the best experiences you will live in your visit to the Sacred Valley.

The platforms, a must to do in Ollantaytambo

It is a place that has become a favorite of tourists. The andens were used as terraces by the inhabitants to sow and cultivate.

This method implemented by the Incas demonstrates that their strategies and architecture surpassed that of other civilizations. The platforms are 700 meters long, 58 meters wide and more than 10 meters deep.

andens on the mountain to do in ollantaytambo

As a curious fact, these andens are placed according to the position of the sun. One of these platforms has an enclosure with cavities named the temple of the 10 windows.

Ollantaytambo, the Inca village

Walking through the streets of the town you can observe the water channels, through which the clean water that the people consumed ran.

A part of the village is still in excellent condition, the plaza is the centerpiece. You can see various buildings that functioned as living quarters for the nobles.

dog in ollantaytambo street

Here you can get various establishments that operate and give life to this town. Restaurants, hotels, spiritual centers and stores are waiting for you. As Javier tells us in his experience in Machu Picchu, the combination between the ancient and the present makes the Inca village an excellent place to visit.

Pinkuylluna archaeological site

Pinkuylluna, which means a place where the flute was played in the Quechua language, is another of the great archaeological sites that you can find in Ollantaytambo.

This monument is formed by silos called qolqas, which are grouped in three different levels about 600 meters above the Vilcanota River. The advantage of building silos in such a high place is that the low temperatures and cold winds of the place would preserve the food for longer.

monument pinkuylluna on the top of the mountain

Church of Ollantaytambo

This small church is located near the main square of the town, with a rustic and simple design that attracts visitors.

colonial white church ollantaytambo

This is a colonial church that is almost never open. For example, if you do the Salkantay Trek, and you are interested in seeing it while waiting for transport back to Cusco, you can knock on the door, as they sometimes open to visitors on request.

Andean Museum of traditional technology and culture of the communities of Ollantaytambo

Located near the square, it is a place to learn a little more about the Inca culture. With a didactic dynamic, you can access the history of the ancestors. Many of these stories are beliefs rooted in the hearts of the villagers.

Yanacocha Lagoon

A good swim in the spectacular waters of this natural water reservoir could not be missed.

To access the place you must make a 4-hour trek, starting from the Hacienda Huayocari. Undoubtedly, a different trekking activity from the typical ones in the area.

Craft market, essential to do in Ollantaytambo

Every trip should be full of memories and things to share, the market has a great variety of products.

Handicrafts typical of the region and made entirely by hand, it is a good activity if you are making time to wait for the train to Machu Picchu.

traditional peruvian market a must to do in ollantaytambo

Like any typical Peruvian market, colorful fabrics are the protagonists of this market. They also sell precious stones and fossils, although some of them will be confiscated at customs if they see them.

Cycling and trekking, an alternative to do in Ollantaytambo

Mountain biking in Abra Malaga will give you the adrenaline and adventure you need.

The downhill has a distance of 1500 meters, the scenery of the route is worth it.

Now that you know what to do in Ollantaytambo, would you like to visit this archaeological site in the Sacred Valley of Peru?


Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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