Ollantaytambo or Cusco as our base?

Old Oct 16th, 2013, 07:51 AM
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Ollantaytambo or Cusco as our base?

There will be 4 of us we do not have much time in Peru (only 7 nights) and we do not want to move from place to place. Our last 2 nights will be in Lima. We fly into Cusco and can not decide whether to have Cusco as our main base or Ollantaytambo. We plan to spend one day at Machu Picchu. We also plan on a trip to the market at Pisac. We enjoy horseback riding, beginners white water rafting, and hiking excursions. But we also enjoy shopping and good restaurants. We are leaning towards Ollantaytambo as our base for 5 nights but are having a difficult time deciding if spending 5 nights in Ollantaytambo is too long. Can we do all of these activities out of Cusco? Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Oct 16th, 2013, 10:11 AM
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We spent 4 nights in Ollanta at the beginning of our time in the Sacred Valley and loved it. We did day trips to Pisac, Chinchero, Moray, etc all from Ollanta. And from there we went to Machu Picchu for 2 nights. We finished in Cusco for 3 nights and it was our least favourite location.....but to be fair probably just because we liked Ollanta so much.

Pics on our blog - loved our hotel there - Hostal Sauce



Our guide/travel planner was terrific too - David Choque.

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Old Oct 16th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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From an acclimatisation perspective you are better starting off in Ollantaytambo and ending in cusco which is a lot higher. There is a huge amount to see and do in Cusco so I really would not short change there. Pisac is more easily visited from Cusco. Like Elizabeth_S we really loved. Ollantaytambo. The first time we visited five years ago we went for a couple of days and. Ended up staying for three weeks. The outdoor activities you mention can all be done from either place but probably best booked in advance if from Ollantaytambo.

We returned to Ollantaytambo a couple of months ago and were surprised by how much busier it had got. To see the ruins it is best to go early on in the morning before ten tour groups arrive.

On balance I think I would go straight to Ollantaytambo from the airport stay overnight and get the train to MP the next day return to Ollantaytambo stay overnight, explore the ruins first thing and then hire a taxi to take you back to Cusco stopping off at the various sights along the way moray, maras, Chinchero etc. ( should cost 120-150 soles). That would leave three days for Cusco, one of which would be used up visiting Pisac ( I wasn't that keen on Pisac market for shopping but on Sundays it is very colourful. The ruins I actually preferred to MP. Alternatively, you could overnight in Aguascalientes, although I wasn't that keen on the place.

Some recent photos of these places from a couple of months ago are on our blog

Entries 17-21 cover Cuzco and the SV
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Old Oct 16th, 2013, 02:34 PM
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I agree with both of the previous posts. Both great places. Might depend on what else you are doing there. And yes, it is easier to get acclimated in Ollantaytambo. Cuzco has much more going on in the way of noise, people, restaurants, etc. Much more of a real city. Ollantaytambo is peaceful and a great place to relax. Do 3-nights in one and 2-night in the other. Nothing wrong with that. I think 5-nights in Ollanta is too much.
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Old Oct 24th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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Thanks for the great info.
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