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.
Great photos, the terraces and salt ponds are so photogenic. I really liked this area. Other than snoozing in the sun near Moray, my overriding memory of the area though was of the bus hitting a cow and the 2 hr argument has ensued as to whether the farmer should pay the bus driver for the damage or if the bus driver should pay the farmer for the cow.
Thanks Sam! I can see how something like that would happen. There are lots of blind corners on that road. I saw a shell of a bus down some of those cliffs. The taxi driver said that earlier in the year it had gone off and three people died! Pretty crazy.
I’ve seen photos similar to the Salinas of an area in Turkey. It slips my mind what it was called though.
The views over town and of the amphitheatre are spectacular. Very cool.
Are you thinking of Pamukkale? http://markointurkey.blogspot.com/2008/11/it-feels-like-ive-been-in-turkey-for.html
The Salinas site is much much bigger. I think Pamukkale is a calcium build up and Salinas are salt.
Hy Marko, this is Andre from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Great photos! Send me your email address so I can send you some photos from our Serra do Cipo Easter trip 2012.