The day after a big shopping day and a night wandering around the city centre I took the first excursion bus to get another lesson of Peruvian history. In a place, I had no idea how to pronounce correctly! Olyatan… Oyyaytam… Ollantaytambo!
Have you checked the previous part of my super plan yet?
Save on the train ticket.
It was time to move forward from Cusco to see the main attraction of Peru Machu Picchu. Instead of taking a really expensive train all way there from Cusco, I decided to take it from Ollantaytambo. The difference in prices was noticeable: $ against $.
Save on excursions.
A few days before when I was planning what exactly to visit near Cusco in three days I stayed there, I found a very advantageous variant: to buy a ticket «Boleto Turístico del Cusco» that lets you visit all the included attractions for free. You can buy it in any of the travel agencies of the city. The price will be the same.
There are 2 main types of the Tourist Ticket of Cusco:
Integral Touristic Tickets («Boletos Turísticos Integrales»): 16 sights of Cusco, Archaeological park of Sacsayhuaman, Sur del Cusco Valley and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Costs S/ 130.00 ( ≈ $40). Valid for 10 days.
Partial Touristic tickets («Boletos Turísticos Parciales») let you see only some of the sights. Costs S/ 70.00 ( ≈ $21.5) per each tour.
a) Tour I («Circuito I») let you visit the archaeological sights of the Sacsayhuaman Park: Sacsayhuaman, Qènqo, Tambomachay, PukaPukara. Valid for 1 day.
b) Tour II («Circuito II») let you visit the sights of the historical centre of Cusco: the Historical Museum of the Region, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Popular Art, the Museum of Qorikancha, the Qosqo Centre of Native Art, the Monument to Inca Pachacutec. Valid for 2 days.
c) Tour III («Circuito III») let you visit the sights of the Sacred Valley of the Incas: Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Moray. Valid for 2 days.
I chose the last option. Our first stop was in Pisac. Yes, I’ve been there the previous day, but I saw the city itself, but not the sacred part of Pisac.
The most famous sight of Pisac is constructed by the Incas agricultural terraces on the steep hillside, which are still in use today. They created the terraces by hauling richer topsoil by hand from the lower lands.
It was the stop I was waiting for the most this day. This interesting and hardly pronounceable name has to be something extraordinary. And it was.
Ollantaytambo is an archaeological site 72 km away from Cusco. It was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti (1438–1471/1472) who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial centre. Nowadays there takes a start a four-day & three-night hike known as the Inca Trail.
Taking the train.
It was one of the most tiring days of my whole trip as the previous day was also all about walking and moving here and there. Ollantaytambo is located at an altitude of 2,792 metres above sea level that makes the excursion much more difficult. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to finish the excursion and visit Chinchero and Moray that were included in the tour. I stayed in Ollantaytambo for dinner at the main square till sunset and took a train (finally!!!) to go to Aguas Calientes…
The whole tour was going up and downstairs looking the agricultural terraces and going up to the temple of the Sun. It made me exhausted. But it was totally worth it. I’ve learnt the history of the place, I felt the atmosphere of the centuries, I’ve walked that paths… I’ve touched the history! I am still amazed how smart, hardworking and nature-loving the Incas were. The Sacred Valley is a must see, even for a half of the day.