The Sacred Valley!

After a short stint in Urubamba with a

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couchsurfer, and a broken Osprey backpack later :( :( , we made our way to Ollantaytambo, mostly as a hop-on point for the train to Machu Picchu. Little did we know that Ollantaytambo is a gorgeous little Peruvian town, nestled between the mountains along a roaring river.

Sacred Tree :)

We were lucky enough to arrive during Carnival and witness the locals

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traditional customs and celebrations. First was some joyful dancing around this sole tree in the middle of the town square in colorful traditional dress, of course! We thought it was over as they left and made their way down towards the river, but followed anyway to explore the area further. After crossing the bridge, we noticed instead of colorful costumes, everyone was wearing all-red, and that we were about to witness a giant tug-o-war over the river!

Celebrating Carnival!

First the ladies, then the men, then everyone together! The locals were handing out red flags to cheer them on and free chicha for all! Chicha is a strong homemade Peruvian alcohol. Â It is processed from corn and usually made in peoples homesand signaled to the public with a red flag at the end of a wood pole in the doorway. Â There

were bucketfulls of it, and all the plastic cups were being re–used, but hey…when in Rome!

Preparing for the Tug-o-War!


The little village quickly grew on us. Described in the Lonely Planet as a well “preserved example of Inca city planning,” the cobbled stone streets, adobe buildings and panorama view of the Andes Mountains shot this place up the top of the list of places we’ve been. The physical and natural beauty of Ollantaytambo combined with a strong dose of positive energy from smiling locals made for the best atmosphere of the sacred vally locations we visited, even with all the tourism.Â

Ollantaytambo from above~


There are two sets of ruins that border Ollanta. The more touristy of the two is very well preserved, a good appetizer to prepare for the main course – Machu Picchu. However, to visit these ruins will cost you around $30 US, but the other set were free. Having spent a boatload of our budget just to get where we were not to mention the upcoming expenses (Machu Picchu) we opted for the free ones….which are called Pinkuylluna. The trail up is a nice mildy-challenging hike. The trail is not so pampered, so I think it’s more fun to explore. The view is by far the best part though. Once at the top, you can see the whole town, the river, the other ruins, and the beautiful mountains surrounding you!

Having too much fun near the cliff!


Ollantay has more than just great energy, hikes and ruins as there is quite a lot of shopping to be here as well. The apparel and gifts in Peru are so colorful and beautiful…you can really see the tradition ingrained in it all. The coolest thing is that the people there actually wear that stuff, so it is not totally dorky and touristy if you buy it! There are fun markets where you can barter your way along, or boutique stores for the finer things. Art galleries are also present, and the selection of restaurants can please whatever budget you are on!

Trying on an AWESOME beanie!

We spent four full days here and really enjoyed experiencing the remnants of the preserved Inca lifestyle or looking

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up at those beautiful mountains.  Unfortunately for the majority of travelers, Ollantaytambo is just a short stop on a day trip from Cuzco.  So if you have the time, this duo highly recommends spending a couple of days here soaking the culture up and getting used to the chill and altitude.  Next stop, Machu Picchu!

This entry was posted in Carneval, CouchSurfing, Festivals, Ollantaytambo, Peru, Pinkuylluna, Ruins, Sacred Valley, South America, Travel Tips, Urubamba and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Sacred Valley!

  1. nanny rochfort says:

    Hi guys, that place looks so beautiful. You two look amazing, Brad looks really good with his new hairdo,love it and Chelsea I just love the hats.It really looks gorgeous.
    keep enjoying your amazing live but take care,Love you both and miss you.Omaxxxx

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