Av. Ferrocarril, Ollantaytambo, Peru

The last living Inca village, Ollantaytambo is also the Sacred Valley’s gateway to the Inca Trail, because it is the last major town on the train from Cusco before Aguas Calientes, the town at Machu Picchu. In addition to its centuries-old Inca houses and streets, Ollantaytambo features the ruins of a massive temple where the conquistadores lost a great battle. You can climb up to the fortress in the so-called sacred district and the Temple of the Sun and the Royal Hall, two incredible Inca monuments. On the other side of town, there is a wonderful hike up a hill to the Inca granaries, which offer a view over the town and to the temple and have many fewer visitors. The market at of the fortress offers typical Andean trinkets, jewelry and weavings. A more interesting shop is found at Awamaki, a nonprofit textile collective a few blocks away where you can see traditional examples, watch weavers work and learn about community projects in the village. (The shop is open everyday 10 a.m. to7 p.m.) A good place to stop for a snack or drink in town is Hearts Café, on the main square, which was opened by Sonia Newhouse, a Brit who donates all the café’s proceeds go to education and healthcare programs for children in the Sacred Valley.

Written by Indagare

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