Ollantaytambo and Beyond
The best part about Cusco is its proximity to the Sacred Valley. The Sacred Valley is a region dotted with tons of Incan Ruins. There were plenty to chose from but at the top of our list was Ollantaytambo, Moray and Salineras de Maras. After contemplating taking a tour from the many tour companies in the Cusco, we figured out how to get there ourselves!
We woke up early and headed to a bus station in the city. Here, you simply hop on a bus that is going to Ollantaytambo and pay a small fee. These aren’t city buses but small buses run by local men. You hop on a bus with other tourists and locals, wait till the bus fills up and off you go! The drive to Ollantaytambo was just under 2 hours but it was a really beautiful ride up the mountain. The town of Ollantaytambo is small but interesting. We walked to the archeological site of Ollantaytambo and waited in line to buy our ticket. Once in, it is up to you how you want to explore the site. We decided to immediately climb up and take in the view from the top. The climb was rough but doable. Drink lots of water! The views at the top are worth the climb! Ollantaytambo is a massive Inca fortress that should be on your list when visiting the Sacred Valley.
After conquering the site of Ollantaytambo, we took a bus to Moray and Salineras De Maras. Except when you take a bus there, it simply drops you off on the side of the road (sorry mom and dad!) Once dropped off, there are taxis waiting to take you on a tour to both Moray and Salineras De Maras. We had a nice guide who spoke English and took us to both sites in a timely manner. We first went to Salineras De Maras, which is a series of salt pools on a mountainside. It was amazing to see salt pools of various sizes for as far as the eye could see! Next up was Moray. The two sites aren’t too far from each other. Moray is a set of circular terraces, thought to be used for agricultural testing by the Incans. The circles are perfect and the terraces are HUGE.
After our visit to the 2 sites, our driver dropped us back on the side of the road and we waited for a bus to come pick us up. Like clockwork, it arrived 5 minutes later and whisked us back to Cusco. It was a very long day but highly recommended. If you do not want to be dropped off on the side of the road (literally), I would suggest booking a Sacred Valley Tour in Cusco. We couldn’t find any tours that show you Ollantaytambo, Moray and Salineras De Maras in one day so that was part of why we did it ourselves.