Ollantaytambo sits at the heart of the sacred valley and marks the start of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The town itself is definitely worth a visit with its Incan ruins that rise up the side of the valley in a series of stepped terraces.
Our visit to Ollantaytambo coincided with the Incan sun festival of Ollantay Raymi, and we arrived at the ruins just as the drums started to beat and the flutes started to fill the air with music. Children, in a long line of precession, danced their way up the central stairs and spread themselves out along the terraces. They chanted and danced as they went — it was quite intoxicating and a thrill to watch.
This was a rehearsal, but we returned the following day for the main event where we were treated to a spectacle of music, dance and performance.
Half way up the other side of the valley is the old Incan storehouse. A moderate to steep hike if you don’t mind heights and aren’t suffering from the effects of altitude. From up here you get a wonderful view of the main Ollantaytambo ruins opposite, and our timing with the festival had music drifting across the valley which made for a very atmospheric hike.
As for food, we thoroughly enjoyed dinner at Mayupata, the chicken broth there was excellent.