El Valle de Sagrado de Las Incas, is a big damn valley. We arrived to Ollantaytambo around 8pm and my immediate reaction was that I loved this town. We did not have a hostel booked but we found this little guy, he was about my height, so little haha and he took us to the hostel he owned. It was called Ollantaytambu Hostel and he said it had only been open for two months. He was so sincere and kind and honestly really all of the people we interacted with there were incredibly friendly. We had our own room and it was a little pricey yet we stayed two nights there and loved every minute of it. The town is completely surrounded by mountains and Inca ruins. The town itself is still very intact from Inca construction and had several water canals flowing throughout every street.
On our first day in the town we wandered around and looked at the towns Inca attractions such as Cien Ventanas which was really 84 windows not 100. The second day in Ollantaytambo was more fulfilling. We went to the Inca ruins and hiked around there for a couple hours and then climbed Pinkuylluna Mountain where there were even more ruins. At the Ollantaytambo ruins we bought el boleto turistico, tourist ticket, that gets you into several Sacred Valley and Cusco attractions. But Pinkuylluna was free and gave an amazing view of the town, the Urubamba River and surrounding valley.
After our time in Ollantaytambo we made our way to another part of the valley, Pisaq. But on our way we had the most entertaining means of transportation either of us have either encountered. For two soles (less than $1USD) we shared a collectivo van with some locals and there were seats for 11 people but there were up to 15 of us. Also the seats Michelle and I sat in were behind the driver and facing the passengers so every single Peruvian was staring at us for the 30 minute ride. However probably didn't help that Michelle was laughing the whole time. Throughout this ride people would be popping on and off and we just could not contain our laughter. After our ride we made it to Urubamba where we wanted to spend at least an hour in the area just to see it but nope that didn't happen. As soon as we were dropped off at the bus station from our collectivo we asked about a bus to Pisaq and they had us go on a bus right away. At first we were two of four people on the bus until we moved more and more people starting jumping on until every seat was filled and the aisle was filled with people standing. Again we were the only white people on the bus and we were sitting at the very front. Across from us, like a foot away, was this 20 something year old Peruvian woman who could not take her eyes off us. She would stare directly at our faces, our feet, our hands, just constantly looking at us. Michelle was uncomfortable and I thought it was just ridiculous. Oh and Michelle was on the aisle seat so she also kept getting sat on by all the oncoming passengers. But good thing 45 minutes later we made it to Pisaq and hopped off the bus. We walked for about two minutes and found a random cheap Hospedaje to stay for the night. We were the only ones staying there and the sweet man who ran the place looked so happy to have our business.
We walked around the tiny town but it was such an awesome hippie town actually. Lots of organic cafés and more and more artisan markets. So many it's difficult seeing them without buying stuff, but I'm holding out for Bolivia and the Otavalo market in Ecuador. Overall not much to do in Pisaq except for visit the ruins which we did the next day. We used our boleto turistico to get us into the ruins and at first we only saw terraces embedded into the mountains, which were still cool but we were wondering where the ruins were. We continued hiking up and at some point Michelle and I got separated, she went right and I went up. I reached the top of the mountain and looked down to my right and I saw ruins and Michelle. After a little time we met back up and all of a sudden we were surrounded by tourists. At first we only saw two other hikers but when we got to the actual ruins we saw vans of tourists unloading, gross! We are tourists yes but we were actually hiking and these people went a whole few hundred feet to see the ruins, lazy people. We decided to follow behind a group so we could hear a little what the guide was saying and from doing so we learned one fact about the Pisaq ruins, that they contain the largest Inca cemetery. After more and more vans arrived we decided to leave the ruins and head back to our quiet side of the mountain. Overall we were there for about three hours and it was lunch time.
We had a quick cheap lunch and then found a collectivo to take us to Cusco. And this time we weren't the only tourists, there were two people from Slovenia, so the locals were staring at all four us. After about an hour we arrived to Cusco and got dropped off in a part of the city where we had no idea where we were. We walk for about 30 minutes and after an adventure of finding a hostel, we found the best one we've ever stayed at. I am in Cusco again so will be publishing one more Cusco blog in the next couple of days. Visiting the Sacred Valley was fantastic but I have decided that if I come back to Peru then I am going to hike the entire valley since we only saw bits and pieces. So until next time.