To reach Ollantaytambo from Pisac required finding a taxi and then negotiating a suitable fare for the three of us and our luggage. Well, finding a taxi was easy. As soon as we approached the town center with our luggage in tow, drivers descended upon us like yellow jackets drawn to a chunk of red meat. Pricing began at 120 soles and after writing offers and counteroffers in pen onto the palms of our hands, we settled on a fare of 75 soles for the hour drive. At current exchange rate, the fare equated to about $25. Not only did we arrive into Ollantaytambo in one piece but the driver stopped to find directions to our hotel which was tucked away near the main Incan ruins deep within the village. It seems traffic signals, speed limits, highway dividing lines are merely suggested courtesies; ignored by almost everyone.
The town is situated at the end of the Sacred Valley as the Urubamba River disappears from the valley and plunges into the gorge on its way towards Aguas Calientes; the tourist town at the foot of Machu Picchu.
|End of the Sacred Valley as Urubamba River|
drops into the gorge in the distance.
The scale of this structure is overwhelming and continues up to the top of the ridge. It reminds me of a stair-stepping waterfall carved from stone. Note the size of the people scaling the structure about midway up. To get a better sense of scale, I am standing in the passageway with the terraces towering overhead.
|Main temple with Jon for scale|
|Temple to west|
|Monolith to the east|
Note structures on side of peak
|Typical Incan street layout|
while current residents reside in homes whose foundations date back to Incan times.
|"Modern" homes on Incan foundations|
|From atop main temple looking north up valley|
|View of temple from Granaries|
Interesting little town that deserves a visit on any trek to Machu Picchu. I certainly would return.
Next up: Train to Aquas Calientes and Machu Picchu.