Ollantaytambo is surrounded by stunning countryside and skyscraping mountain peaks, and offers a wealth of interesting day-trip options.

Walking

It’s easy enough just to choose a path leading up into the hills to the east and see where you get to, remembering, of course, that you will need a tent or have to get back to town by nightfall. Any route will provide a good hike, bringing you into close contact with local people in their gardens. There are also a number of organized tours, available from Ollantaytambo as well as from agents in Cusco. The local Museo CATCCO (204024 or 204034, [email protected]) provide information on the Rutas Ancestrales de Ollantaytambo – Ancestral Routes of Ollantaytambo. This is an entire list of walking circuits that link important points relating to the archeology or history of the area (a large map of this route can also be found at the entry to the Inca fortress).

Trekking

The area around Ollantaytambo is an excellent spot to begin trekking into the hills. One possibility is to head along the main down-valley road to Km 82, where a bridge over the Río Urubamba is becoming an increasingly popular starting point for both the Inca Trail and Salcantay. Alternatives are the hard-going two-day trail to the beautiful and remote lake of Yanacocha, or travel up the Río Patacancha to the little-visited Inca ruins of Pumamarca, on the left of the river where the Río Yuramayu merges with the Patacancha under the shadows of the Nevada Helancoma. From here the main track carries on along the right bank of the Río Patacancha through various small peasant hamlets – Pullata, Colqueracay, Maracocha and Huilloc – before crossing the pass, with the Nevada Colque Cruz on the right-hand side. It then follows the ríos Huacahuasi and Tropoche down to the valley and community of Lares, just before which are some Inca baths. Beyond the village are several more ruins en route to Ampares, from where you can either walk back to Urubamba, travel by road back to Cusco, or head down towards Quillabamba. It’s at least a two-day walk one way, and you’ll need camping equipment and food, as there are no facilities at all on the route.

Horseriding

The Inca quarries of Cachiqata can be reached in four hours on horseback with a Cusco or Ollantaytambo tour company. It’s also possible to camp here and visit the site of an Inca gateway or Intihuatana. There are also the nearer ruins of Pinkuylluna, less than an hour away by horse, or the Pumamarca Inca ruins about half a day away.

River rafting

Ollantaytambo is a centre for river rafting, organized largely by KB Tours on the main plaza (204133, kbperu.com), who also offer lodging, mountain-biking and trekking tours; all activities start from around $45/day. Alternatively, arrange a rafting trip with one of the Cusco-based tour companies. The river around Ollantaytambo is class 2–3 in the dry season and 3–4 during the rainy period (Nov–March).

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Peru features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
20 pictures of Peru that will put the country on your bucket list

20 pictures of Peru that will put the country on your bucket list

Peru is has long been a favourite destination on the South America backpacker trail, but there's more to tempt you here than the oft-photographed llamas and …

05 Aug 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month