Cusco or Ollantaytambo? | Non Stop Family

<br /> Cusco or Ollantaytambo?<br /> |<br /> Non Stop Family<br />

What is the best place to stay before your visit to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas?

As we have already mentioned in recent articles from
our blog, Machu Picchu was the main reason that led us to travel to Peru.
However, at all we wanted our trip to be limited to Machu Picchu, which, though
alone worth a trip would be a waste not to take advantage of to explore other
attractions of this wonderful country.
Unfortunately, due to budget issues and also due to
lack of time, several attractions in Peru had to stay for a second visit to the
country but something that we could not miss to make the most of was the Sacred
Valley of the Incas
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is located along the
Urubamba River, in a sort of triangle formed between Cusco, Pisac and
Ollantaytambo, and was considered sacred to the Incas. This valley, surrounded
by mountains, has a marvelous scenery and its vast fertile lands have boosted
the growth of the populations that have settled there throughout history,
especially the Incas.

And the Sacred Valley is definitely something you can
not miss if you plan to go to Machu Picchu. As we have also mentioned in
previous articles, organizing your trip to Machu Picchu leads to certain
planning and there are always several factors to consider.
One of the factors to take into account is the need to
plan how you intend to go to Machu Picchu, because as you will easily discover,
there is no direct road linking Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, so you will
feel the need to plan how to get there.
There is more than one option to do this, which can be
done by the Inca Trail, walking for 4 days, you can also take a public
transport to the hydroelectric and then walk about 2 hours on foot to Aguas
Calientes or, you can make the entire journey on foot between Ollantaytambo and
Aguas Calientes.
However, the vast majority of people arriving in Machu
Picchu do so by using the train connecting Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes,
Aguas Calientes is the town that is next to Machu Picchu, and where you can
take the bus that takes you on a fast ascent about 20 minutes to the entrance
of Machu Picchu or, instead of the bus, you can choose to make this journey by
walking. This was our option, to carry out the train journey between
Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes by train.

Arrival by plane to Cusco

Like us, the vast majority of people arrive in Cusco
by plane from Lima but rarely go directly to Machu Picchu, reserving a few days
to explore Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Mayas, something we also did,
having booked 5 days between our arrival trip to Cusco and departure to Lima.
Having scheduled the plane trip to Cusco and planned to stay 5 days to explore
the Sacred Valley and visit Machu Picchu, we needed to plan our itinerary.

Cusco or Ollantaytambo?

When we marked our plane trip, we began to plan
something that, I must say, the vast majority of people do, that is, to find a place to sleep in the first 2, 3 days, in the city of Cusco, to allow us to
know the city and, use it as a base to explore the Sacred Valley.
And the truth is that staying in the city of Cusco was something that really excited us because it is undoubtedly a wonderful
city, and we really loved to discover it. We stayed there for 2 nights and, we are very glad we did it, and we recommend you to do it. Please, don’t pass the chance to meet Cusco, what we really feel, after our trip, is that maybe Cusco isn’t the best place to stay when you arrive at the Sacred Valley. Let’s talk a little more about that.

The question we posed was, would it be ideal
to stay in Cusco when arriving in the Sacred Valley or, there would be another better
option. And that was when we came to the idea of
in Ollantaytambo and, after our trip, we are obliged to say that this was a great option, so we come to explain the reasons for our choice.

Altitude Sickness

One of the best strategies to deal with altitude
sickness is to stay at an intermediate height, to avoid big changes in a short time and, if possible, stay one or two days at a lower altitude, something
that Ollantaytambo corresponds perfectly because is about 2800 meters, 600
less than Cusco, which turns out to be a big difference with regard to the
consequences for our body.

Great base for exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Another reason that captivated us so much to stay
first in Ollantaytambo was due to the fact that it is a great base for
exploring the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo is in the heart of the Sacred Valley
and it is easy to get a collective or even private excursion and also get good
prices for a taxi that takes you to explore the other attractions of the Sacred
Valley. With ease you can visit one day the main attractions and, you can do as
we: leave the first day only to visit Ollantaytambo in a slow an quiet pace because it is really wonderful.
The second day we went to explore the rest of the Sacred Valley (except Cusco and the attractions nearby), then with your body
completely accustomed to the altitude, we went to visit Machu Picchu, which is about 2400 meters high. Only then we went to Cusco, we reserve the last few days before catching the returning plain to
Lima to explore Cusco with calm and, to face more easily its 3400 meters of

Great base to visit Machu Picchu

Another of the issues that led us to choose to stay in
Ollantaytambo is that it is closer to Machu Picchu. Many people use Cusco as a
base to visit Machu Picchu on a day trip, that is, they depart from Cusco early in the morning,
visit Machu Picchu and return on the same day. Probably staying in Aguas Calientes
makes life very easy for those who want to get to know Machu Picchu, but after
exploring Aguas Calientes, we do not really feel like it was a place we want to stay,
especially when there are places as historic and magical as Ollantaytambo, in
contrast to Aguas Calientes, which has no history and is entirely aimed at
commerce and tourism.

So instead of making the round trip from Cusco to
Machu Picchu on the same day, that would be very, very tiring, we choose the option to do it from Ollantaytambo, because it  saves at
least more than one hour of travel in each direction, making the day much less tiring than
when this trip starts from Cusco.

Cheapest Prices

Something we noticed was that in Ollantaytambo we got
very good prices, both at the level of lodging and at the level of meals, we
felt it be cheaper than in Cusco, although the differences were not huge and
to force some negotiation, something always necessary when traveling in Peru.

Ollantaytambo is wonderful!

Despite the above reasons, the main recommendation to
book a few days in Ollantaytambo is because it is a wonderful, beautiful land,
the most beautiful that there is in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and, which we
guarantee deserves much more time than a quick visit realized in a tourist
In fact, it is when the tourist groups finish their
visits, that to stroll through this small village gains more charm and, turns
out to be a perfect door for the entrance in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.


The purpose of this article is not to give the opinion
that Ollantaytambo is better than Cusco. In fact, Cusco is magnificent and we
stayed two whole days and we loved it, do not forget to stay in Cusco when you
make your trip to Machu Picchu. However, what we refer to is that Ollantaytambo
undoubtedly deserves more length of stay than is usually given when only a
quick visit is made on a tourist tour.

In fact, we even consider that it is the ideal port to
start exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After landing at Cusco airport,
a quick trip of just over an hour and a half will leave you in a privileged
base to explore the Sacred Valley and have the added advantage of lessening the
effects of altitude sickness which, in the case of
our family, were

We hope that this idea will help you to prepare for your trip to Machu Picchu. If you still do not have a place to stay on your trip, we always do our reservations with booking, they are our partners and its with them that we get the best deals. You can look for the best deals by clickinhere, it will not cost you any money and, it helps us to support our blog.

We would also like to invite you to leave your opinion and questions, in case you have already visited Machu Picchu, let us know what you think is the best time of the day to visit. Thanks for your visit to our Non Stop Family Travel Blog, come back often and, if you liked our article, do not forget to share it with your friends.

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