Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our visit to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Inca

One of the true highlights of the Sacred Valley is said to be Ollantaytambo. So the plan for day two was to rent a taxi for the day and head to the Sacred Valley of the Inca all day. Through our hotel we arranged an English speaking taxi who would take us all day. We were picked up at 8:30am and had plans to return at 5pm.

This is a wonderful way to see the Sacred Valley as you have your own personal tour guide basically. They’ll take you to all the important spots in the Valley and give you some history as well. The arrangement was for $110 US for the three of us. The taxi was very nice and we set out on our way at 8:30am sharp.

Our plan was to head to the very end of the Valley to Ollantaytambo and work our way back. This article will only deal with our stop in Ollantaytambo as it deserves an article all to itself. The rest of the Inca Valley stories will follow in coming days.

Ollantaytambo is just under a two hour drive from Cuzco and is at 2800 meters above sea level. The strategic location of Ollantaytambo connects directly with the Inca Road to Machu Picchu. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance.

The site truly is amazing. You drive through the very narrow streets of the small town and then emerge with the ruins towering above you on the mountainside.

You basically have the run of the place. It is a bit of a climb to the top, but not too bad at all. There are over 200 stairs on your way to the top. Don't be intimidated though as there is plenty to look at and take pictures of as you work your way up the ruins.

The stonework is simply wonderful and you’ll be left wondering how they transported the huge stone blocks from the opposite mountainside and across the Urubamba River. The quarry is visible across the river about two miles downstream.

At the top of Ollantaytambo is the unfinished Sun Temple with the major feature being the Wall of the Six Monoliths. These are six monstrous stones perfectly fit together that will leave you in awe.

Ollantaytambo is one of the better Inca ruins we visited in Peru. It is easy relatively to get to and you’ll have no problem making your way all around the ruins pretty easily. The views are fabulous as well as the stonework. Definitely a must stop on your tour of the Sacred Valley of the Inca.

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