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Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

Maryland
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Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

Based on the sun setting early and rising early, we sort of reset our internal clocks – we went to sleep early and were up most days with the sun. The days were just busy enough for us – Ollanta is the kind of place you can keep exploring and finding new things.

Day 1 – Arrived Cuzco around 8:30AM (following overnight flight into Lima), met by driver to head out to Casa de Wow in Ollanta. Arrived, ate lunch and relaxed. Walked around town and tourist market, then had a nice dinner. Also picked up the book of local day hikes at Awamari (maybe $3).

Day 2 – Bought box lunches from Heart’s Cafe and headed out to Pumamarka, following the directions in the Awamari book. Directions were great; hike was largely uphill through AMAZING scenery and rural life. Ate lunch at the ruins (had them all to ourselves - way cool!) and made our way back to Casa de Wow to relax and have dinner.

Day 3 – Got up early to visit the Ollanta fortress, entered with the ‘boleto partial’ (70 soles each, good for 2 days). Grabbed a good cup of coffee near the fortress, and entered the fortress when it opened at 7AM. We walked around at our own pace for about an hour and a half. We basically had the entire ruins to ourselves. At 9AM, we had arranged with KB tours to do the downhill bike at Abra Malaga. Abra Malaga was an amazing experience and a real highlight – if you go, be ready for all types of weather! kbperu.com/tours/…

Day 4 – Winn at Casa de Wow scheduled a private driver for us to visit Chinchero (both for the church and the Sunday market), Moray, and Salineras. The sites were all amazing! We used the second day of our boleto partial covered our entrance fees. We left around 8:30AM and returned around 1PM. Our driver cost 150 soles. (good deal, we planned to pay over 200 soles) That afternoon, we climbed up the Pinkuylluna Ruins for about an hour and watched the sun as it was setting.

Day 5 – We headed to the train station just after 7AM for our trip to the one day Inca trail trek. Casa de Wow stored our luggage. I posted a separate review of the trail here:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294317-i3351-k664…

Day 6 – Day 2 of Machu Picchu. We returned to Ollantaytambo around 5PM and had a magical dinner (complete with classical cellist) at El Abergue, and spent our last night at Casa de Wow.

Day 7 – Headed to Cusco

Favorite restaurants: Puki Rumi and El Abergue. Had a great guinea pig meal at El Huacatay (their cuy takes 3 hours to prepare, so we ordered ours a day ahead). Great pisco sours (and 2 for 1 happy hour!) at the “Blues Bar” (actually plays more reggae) near the fortress entrance. We had some fantastic trout ceviche as well.

We highly recommend Ollanta (and Casa de Wow!) as a base for the Sacred Valley!

Awamaki
Sightseeing Tours
KB Tambo Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Bike Tours, Hiking & Camping Tours
Sacred Expeditions Peru
Multi-day Tours, Hiking & Camping Tours, Cultural Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Archaeology Tours
Ortiz Adventure Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Bike Tours, Archaeology Tours, Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours
Lima, Peru
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1. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

great report but 70 soles boleto truistico is not valid for 2 days, you get a nice ranger at the check point of your second day,

jersey
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2. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

I'm glad you had a great time. Without a doubt, Ollantaytambo is a lovely place.

Maryland
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3. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

IncaTrailGuides - Numerous websites, as well as the lady we bought the tickets from (I asked in Spanish - there was no ambiguity) state that the Boleta Partial purchased at Ollanta is good for 2 days. This was confirmed at both Moray and Chinchero where we had no issues at all. This was for 'Circuit 3' -- only 'Circuit 1' is only valid for 1 day. I certainly wasn't trying to get away with anything...(!)

Nassau, New...
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4. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

Hi Al_the_squid (great name!) - enjoyed reading your TR! I hope you don't mind a few questions? How long was the bike ride? Sounds great! What does cuy taste like/how was it prepared? Thanks for posting!

Edited: 7:28 pm, July 13, 2013
Maryland
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5. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

Hi Sailexuma!

The bike ride itself was about 2.5 hours downhill on the bikes. We met at 9AM and it took an hour to drive to the top. We stopped for a few pictures on the way down, and were back in the car around 12:30PM. From there it was about a 10 minute ride in the car back to the shop (which is right by the bridge to the fortress).

The best cuy we had was prepared 'huatacuy' style. Huatacay is a type of herb from the Andes which doesn't taste like anything here in the States - it has a really fresh flavor. The (whole) guinea pig was stuffed with the entire stalk and leaves, and it gave it a delicious flavor. Hard to describe the meat itself, nothing offputting, not bland but not too gamey either. It came with tons of sides and all the sides would have been plenty for 2 people. At the same restaurant I had ordered a peanut and potato stew with guinea pig, which was really just hard to eat since the bones were still in the pieces of meat it and the meat was covered with stew. (!) We saw it offered fried in other places, but I think that's just a way to cook it quickly and I read reviews saying it's tough and didn't have much taste prepared that way.

california
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6. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

I hope you don't mind a few spelling corrections to your otherwise excellent report (should anyone hope to research further)

Huacatay is the Peruvian herb (they sometimes call it black mint but it is in the marigold family). I agree it is delish!

Probably the organization that had the day hike list was Awamaki? www.awamaki.org

They also put on an interesting excursion to Patacancha, and have a homestay program.

Maryland
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7. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

Thanks mlgb - correct on both!

Nassau, New...
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8. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

HI Al,

My my my about the cuy. Thanks for taking the time to write all the details. From your description it sounds like the whole thing & just looked up some google images and indeed, it is a whole cuy. I have a problem eating a fried snapper with the head still on. Well, it will be a while before I am in Peru, will give me time to mull it over - so for now it might not be on my 'must do' list, but will for sure put it on my 'things to consider' list LOL

(and thanks to you, I know to order the day before, and where to go to have it!)

As for the bike ride - that I'm up for (or down for!?!) - 2.5 hours downhill sounds like funt!

Thnx.

Bakersfield...
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9. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

Thank you for such a thorough trip report! We are leaving for Ollantaytambo this Thursday and this post gave us some excellent ideas! For the cuy you mentioned, was that at the El Huacatay restaurant in Urubamba or the Bar Restaurant Turistico El Huatacay in Ollantaytabo?

Maryland
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10. Re: Trip report: 6 perfect days in Ollantaytambo and beyond!

it was the Bar-Restaurant Huatacuy in Ollanta. Have a great trip! I'm wishing I were there now!