30 Fantastic Things to Do in Ollantaytambo

By ShortEdit
April 11, 2024

Ollantaytambo is one of the crowning jewels of the Sacred Valley. Unfortunately, many people only visit as they are starting the Inca Trail, or just briefly on a Sacred Valley day tour. There is so much to do in Ollantaytambo, you will be blown away by all the different options.
For ease of use, I have divided the different things to do in Ollantaytambo into categories, so that you can quickly and easily find an activity that suits you. Whether you’re planning your visit in advance or figuring out what to do today, we’ve got you covered.


  • Hikes in Ollantaytambo
  • Things to do around the town
  • Cultural Activities
  • Activities to do in and around Ollantaytambo
  • Ruins to visit in Ollantaytambo

Inti Punku Hike

The Inti Punku hike can be done in one long day or two short. This hike is not the same as the entrance to Machu Picchu, although it does share the same name. This sun gate is about 11 miles (17.5km) out and back, and leads you to a ruin high on a mountain.

Thanks to the location on the mountain, you can expect a pretty consistent uphill ascent, and a consistent downhill descent. To do this hike in one day makes it a difficult trail. Two days errs it down to a medium.

This hike is very doable by yourself, but there are no shops, campsites, or restaurants on the route so you will need to make sure that everything you need, you bring yourself- including plenty of water.

Camping gear is available to rent in Cusco, but if this all seems like a lot of hassle then you can always hire a tour company to take you. This will mean that you have support on the walk, someone to carry your food, drink, and equipment, and someone to tell you about the ruins themselves.

Hike to the Inca Quarry

One of the often forgotten treks, this trek can be done as a trek to Machu Picchu, or it can just be done as a trek from Ollantaytambo. From the center of Ollantaytambo, it is roughly 7 km to the quarries- making for a 14km walk out and back. Give yourself the lion’s share of the day to do it.

The walk itself is perfectly possible alone, but you may find it more interesting to travel with a local guide. Or you risk missing out on a lot of the important information about the history of the area.

Perolniyoc waterfall

The locals’ favorite! Perolniyoc is a hidden gem, tucked away around the corner from Ollantaytambo. It’s the kind of place that takes just moments to get to but feels hours away from everywhere.

Grab a taxi driver from the plaza in Ollantaytambo, and he will know where to drop you off. You can ask him to wait for you or to come back and pick you up in a few hours, whichever you prefer.

From here, you can start the hike to the waterfall. The route is short but steep, so you’ll feel as though you’ve earned the views. Just past the waterfall, a few minutes up the trail, you will also find the Perolniyoc ruins. The route is out and back, so once you have gone as far as you would like you can just turn around and head back.

If you feel comfortable and confident then this trip is a great one to do alone, you will just need a taxi driver to drop you off and pick you up again. If you’re not comfortable doing it alone but still want to visit then you should be able to find a tour going there. Get in contact with us today to arrange your trip.

Visit Pumamarca Ruins

Pumamarca is a small collection of ruins found just outside of Ollantaytambo. You can either trek there and back making it a full day activity, or you can ask a driver to take you there and walk back (that way you are only going downhill).

Pumamarca is a wonderful spot, and if you talk to taxi drivers as much as I do, they will let you know that these are some of the best ruins, and one of the most beautiful hikes in the area and definitely one of the best things to do in Ollantaytambo.

There are other options for exploring the ruins, such as with ATVs, but these companies are unregulated and can be dangerous, so exercise caution if you decide to go this route.

Things to do around Ollantaytambo


While this may be an anti-climactic listing on the best things to do in Ollantaytambo, it really is worth giving yourself an afternoon to just relax and soak in the atmosphere.

Surrounded by mountains and radiating tranquility, Ollantaytambo is a really great place to sit in the garden of a restaurant and read your book, wander around artisanal stores, and just reconnect with yourself and nature.

Visit the Star Dome Lodge

Okay, so this one isn’t exactly in Ollantaytambo, it’s a few minutes down the road. But it has to be, in order to guarantee the best night sky possible. The sky in the Sacred Valley is an incredible thing to see, and will definitely help you to connect with the land, disconnect with the outside world, and remember how large the universe is.

If you love the night sky, this is the place for you!

Grab an Artisanal Beer at Cerveceria del Valle

One of the most famous breweries in the Cusco region, the flagship of the Cerveceria del Valle is just a few minutes from Ollantaytambo, and it’s definitely worth a visit. With a large beer garden, a few outdoor games, food, and 12 different kinds of beers to choose from this is the perfect place to while away an afternoon or two.

It’s also a great spot to bring kids and dogs, thanks to the jungle gym in the large garden and the bounty of outdoor seating. It does close at 7pm though, so don’t visit with the intention of spending a late night here.

You will also need to take a taxi here as it is a few miles outside of the town of Ollantaytambo, and arrange a pick up for your return. This shouldn’t be too difficult, as it is one of the most popular things to do in Ollantaytambo, most of the taxi drivers are well accustomed to this request.

Alternatively, if there’s only a few of you, you should be able to flag a bus down on the way back. I still recommend getting a taxi there though, so you don’t accidentally miss your stop.

Check Out What’s Going on in the Plaza

Like with many places across Peru, you can really get a feeling for Ollantaytambo by parking yourself on one of the benches in the Plaza and watching the world go by. But that’s not why it’s made it onto this list.

It’s one of the best things to do in Ollantaytambo because often the villagers will gather here to practice traditional dances, you might see a parade, or you will simply see village life in its most authentic form. That is one of the best things about Ollantaytambo. Despite its crown as a tourist hotspot, it remains authentically Peruvian, without many of the trappings of overtourism you might see in other areas.

Check out the Old Town

The inner streets of Ollantaytambo are incredibly beautiful, and still run true to how it would have been designed while the Incas were around- complete with water running through the streets in mini canals.

The old town is quite small but it’s filled with interesting nooks and crannies, Incan stonework, cute little shops and bakeries, and just big enough to lose yourself in.

Have Breakfast at the Sunshine Cafe

While Ollantaytambo has plenty of gorgeous little hole in the wall cafes and restaurants that you should definitely try as many as possible of, my personal favorite is the Sunshine Cafe. It has a great view, comfortable seats, and delicious, freshly made food.

I keep going back because it’s great to support a family run business, and I can never decide what I want to eat, so I make sure to visit every time I am in Ollantaytambo. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy brunch on a sunny day.

Visit the Choco Museum

Peru is famous for its chocolate- and what better way to learn about it than at the chocolate museum itself? The experience gives you plenty to learn, plenty of free samples, and even more fun sculptures and to look at.

Also, the gift shop is extensive- from chocolate tea to lip balms, moisturizer, and of course, chocolate in all shapes, sizes and flavors. It’s a great place to grab some souvenirs or gifts for your loved ones back home.

Get a Massage

If you’re in Ollantaytambo (hell, if you’re in Peru at all) then it’s likely that you will have been on a trek of some kind. Even if you haven’t, Ollantaytambo is the place to relax, so make the most of it and grab a massage or other spa treatments. After all, you’re on vacation! Relax a little.

Grab a coffee at Latente

A truly beautiful spot with delicious, local coffee, freshly made pastries, and simply gorgeous interior design and styling. Latente is the perfect place to catch a break from the day and recharge your batteries.

Cultural Activities in Ollantaytambo

Pachamanca at El Albergue

Pachamanca is a very traditional dish from the highlands. It is essentially a pit-barbeque, with different meats and vegetables cooked underground. It is cooked underground by heating up rocks, placing the food on them, covering them in herbs, and burying everything until it is cooked.

One of the best places in Peru to experience Pachamanca is in El Albergue, a hotel close to the Ollantaytambo train station. Here, you can make trying the dish a whole experience with a tour of the on-site organic farm, a quick tour of their traditional cañaso (sugar cane liquor) distillery and their coffee roasting facility while you are waiting for the food to cook.

Once the food is ready, bring your appetite, because you can expect almost every kind of meat and traditional Peruvian vegetables. Beef, lamb, chicken, pork, plenty of potatoes, beans and corn to be had for all. It is possible for them to accommodate different diets so make sure to call ahead and let them know.

This experience takes around 2 hours in total, but you’re free to wander the grounds of the hotel after you have eaten. Please book ahead for either the 12 pm spot or the 2:30 pm spot.

Spend the Afternoon Exploring Alqa Museum

A museum of contemporary art combined with a restaurant. Alqa is a refreshing and honest look into Andean artwork and the impact the mountains have on food, design, and life in the highlands. Take a guided tour and learn all about Andean Art and its importance in indigenous society.

It’s also a great place to stop for a meal, with a delectable tasting menu full of traditional flavors elevated for the modern palette. If you like fine dining, this is the place to visit in Ollantaytambo.

Visit the Alpacas

At the bottom of the Ollantaytambo ruins, there are some alpacas that wander around freely, and plenty of places to sit. Carve out a half day to explore the ruins and chill with the alpacas below- bring a picnic or buy an ice cream. They’re friendly, but still animals, so be sure to give them their space.

Alpacas are very representative of Peruvian culture, and these alpacas have a much more chill life than those that you might see in Cusco center who are dragged around for pictures with tourists. This is why we recommend choosing here to hang out with alpacas.

Try Cuy

If you are interested in trying guinea pig while visiting Peru, why not do it in Ollantaytambo? The Casa de Cuys is a great place to learn about the piggies, how they live and how they are prepared to be eaten. They also take good care of the cuy, with their own little castle to run around in.

Just make sure you give them 3 hours notice if you want to eat there, so they have a chance to prepare the cuy specially for you. This is probably one of the best places to actually try guinea pig as they are super fresh and traditionally cooked.

Visit a Traditional Chicheria

Chicha is the beer of the Incas, made from fermented corn. Not all chicha is alcoholic, but the two you will find in the traditional Chicherias, Frutillada and Chicha de Jora, both are. Chicha de Jora tastes similarly to a Sour beer that you might find in a brewery. Frutillada is made with corn and flavored with strawberries so tends to be a little sweeter.

Typically, chicha is around 3%-5%, but since it is mostly homemade it can vary drastically so go easy! You can find the traditional Chicherias typically earlier in the day (as they close when they have sold out), and marked with a red bag on a stick outside the entrance.

Visit the Market(s)

There are three different markets in Ollantaytambo that you can wander. The local food market where you can find plenty of different fruits and vegetables that you might not have seen before. Even the ones that you have seen before will be different (you simply have to try a Peruvian avocado while you are visiting Ollantaytambo).

This is a great place to buy supplies for a picnic lunch if you choose to do one of the hikes mentioned above. It’s also a great place to see local people, chat with them, and get a feel for the locals’ side of life here.

If you’re interested in searching for souvenirs, then you can find the souvenir market on the other side of town. There’s plenty of stalls with some of the most expansive and diverse selection of gifts and trinkets in the Sacred Valley.

Likewise, just round the corner from this market you can find the street market which also sells different souvenirs.

The Sumac Art Gallery is a small space full of local work, all available to buy or simply wander around and enjoy. There are other galleries in Ollantaytambo as well, where it is free to wander around and enjoy the work of local artisans.

The work is all for sale, so if you’re looking for something to do while in Ollantaytambo or something to buy to remember your trip, this is a great option for you. Supporting local artists is a great way to give something back to Peru during your visit.

Visit Indigenous Communities of Willoc & Patacancha

While Ollantaytambo is a great place to dip your toes into the more rural village life, it is still a hub of activity with lots of tourists passing through, lots of hotels, and lots to do. If you’re interested in finding out what people in the more rural communities like to do then why not visit Willoc or Patacancha?

Willoc is famous for their weaving so it is a great place to learn about textiles. The area is much much (much) less touristy than Ollantaytambo so it is more likely that your visit will be experienced based- be it a homestay or hanging out with the locals. Be aware that these are remote communities and you should not expect the same comfort levels that you have in Cusco or Ollantaytambo.

Active things to do in Ollantaytambo

Try your Hand at Horseback Riding

Horseback riding through the Sacred Valley is an iconic adventure. It’s arguably the best way to see a lot more of the countryside than you would hiking. It also allows you to feel a part of it without spending all day cooped up in a car, the blasting noise and gasoline from ATVs, or the hard climbs of mountain biking.

If you do decide to try your hand at riding, try to make sure that you are choosing a reputable company. It’s not the cheapest activity around, but horses are living creatures and deserve to be respected and treated well. Not all of them are, so try not to support the problem.

Paddleboard on Laguna Huaypo

Laguna Huaypo is one of the Sacred Valley’s best kept secrets. Close to Ollantaytambo, it’s a great spot to try your hand at paddleboarding, kayaking, or taking a paddle boat for a spin. There are local restaurants around the lake’s edge where you can enjoy a traditional dish, making this the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Summit the Skylodge & Via Ferrata

The Skylodge is one of Peru’s most unique hotels, as it is made up of glass pods on the side of the mountain. Just a few minutes from the village, this is one of the most unique things to do in Ollantaytambo.

You can choose to stay the night there, or just to take on the villa ferrata and stop for lunch in the pods before returning to Ollantaytambo. Either way, this is a unique and fantastic experience available to you in the Sacred Valley.

Rafting on the Urubamba River

Once you’ve had enough of relaxing, why not try something a little more adventurous? Rafting the Urubamba river is a really fantastic and fun adventure that does not require any experience. If you’re looking for a way to wile away the afternoon (or morning) then a rafting trip is the perfect way to get active.

Take to the Slopes with Mountain Biking

Okay, so rafting isn’t everybody’s thing- but if you’re looking for things to do around Ollantaytambo then checking out the mountain biking routes could be the best thing you do for yourself.

There are options suitable for beginners, experts, and everyone in between. It’s a great way to experience the valley and Ollantaytambo at your own pace and your own level of comfort, while keeping a bit of excitement and getting off the regular tourist trail.

Ruins to Visit in Ollantaytambo

The Ollantaytambo ruins

This is one of the best things to do in Ollantaytambo, and it’s certainly the most popular. The Ollantaytambo ruins are expansive and very interesting. However, plan your visit carefully so that you can avoid the tour groups.

Throughout the day there are people milling around, but typically the tour groups all arrive at roughly the same time, making for a really busy experience. Aim to visit in the morning if you can!

Visit the Pinkuylluna ruins

Directly opposite, perched precariously halfway up the hill there are some more ruins. These ruins are free to enter and you can spend as long as you like wandering around. Some of these ruins were used as store houses and if you follow the route around you will reach some that overlook the valley. Magnificent.

This is one of the best free things to do in Ollantaytambo, and with no time limit and surprisingly few visitors, you’ll likely have the whole place to yourself.

Maras & Moray

Maras and Moray are two of the most popular places to visit in the Sacred Valley. Most people visit them from Cusco, but if you start in Ollantaytambo it’s actually a shorter distance to travel and you can go at your own pace rather than rushing with a tour group.

Alternatively, if a tour is what you want, then you can find a Sacred Valley tour that starts from Ollantaytambo. Just ask us about it!

Qelloraqay Archeological Site

Qelloraqay archeological site is a small site on the outskirts of Ollantaytambo. You can head over and enjoy the ruins in peace, as only the locals really know about the spot. They are free to enter and you can spend as long as you want wandering around, painting a picture of history.

There are so many incredible and unique things to do in Ollantaytambo it can be hard to prioritize. If you are looking to give yourself a few days to relax, unwind, and decompress then Ollantaytambo is a great place to do it.

Likewise, if you’re looking for a place to base yourself in the Sacred Valley then Ollantaytambo is a fantastic choice. Of all the things there are to do in Ollantaytambo, you are sure to have a fantastic time there, and really soak in the beauty of the valley.

You Might also Like