From Cuzco, we caught a collectivo to Ollantaytambo. Collectivos are a popular mass transit solution in South America. A private van waits around for enough passengers to fill every seat before taking off. For those who crave the local experience (or just like to save money like us), there’s no better way to travel but it can be extremely cramped and let’s say… fragrant.
Ollantaytambo is the closest town to Machu Picchu, but an important Inca site by itself. The residential area was laid out in a trapezoid outlined by irrigation channels and has been continuously inhabited for over five hundred years since. We stayed in the very affordable Hostal Iskay right in the area.
The primary site is Ollantaytambo itself where terraces rise up dramatically to a religious site that revolved around the sun. It was on these terraces that the Inca had their greatest victory against the Spanish invaders, dominating them from the high ground and flooding the plains to eliminate the horseback advantage. The site is preserved beautifully with constant reminders of the civilization’s astonishing stonework.
The Pinkullyuna mount faces Ollantaytambo and a short climb leads to views over and across town to the Ollantaytambo site. After immersing ourselves in Inca history, we allowed ourselves a chance to enjoy their culinary delicacy called cuy, otherwise known as roast guinea pig.