Ollantaytambo is a good place to be if one wants to see The Sacred Valley. I arrived here in the morning by train from Aguas Calientes. Immediately after I checked in, I went exploring.
There are several ruins right in Ollantaytambo. One is a bit Inca site overlooking the town. I headed there first, but when I saw the ticket price I decided to check out ruins on the opposite hill. They are similar in nature and don’t require an entry fee. In addition, they give a great bird’s-eye view of the town. The path up was dotted with different types of cacti, some which were in bloom.
I decided to hire a taxi for a good portion of the day, so I could see some other sites near Ollantaytambo. After some haggling, I got the price from exuberantly high to just high. The taxi driver, Juan, made the ride pretty enjoyable. While he doesn’t speak much English, we still managed to talk about a few things. I used a dictionary on my iphone to get a few things across. It was a fun exercise.
Our first destination was Moray, a place where the Inca carved out amphitheater terraces. Each terrace would have slightly different growing conditions because of its elevation in the bowl. The theory is that the Inca used this method to determine the best growing conditions for crops.
The second destination was the Salinas. It’s an area where the Inca extracted salt and where salt is still being extracted today. The road drops down to the salt pools and it was quite a sight to see from the top. It was also pretty interesting to walk around the pools and watch how the salt is collected and stored.
Now I’m back in Ollantaytambo. I hung out at a restaurant for a while before returning to my hotel to type up this blog post. Tomorrow I’ll be checking out Pisac and heading to Cusco for a couple of nights.