Our trip to Peru was amazing but I’ll be the first to admit not very relaxing! Part of the allure of Machu Picchu is its remoteness and getting there is not easy — especially with a bunch of children. From Santiago we flew to Lima and then to Cusco — total flight time including the layover was around 7 hours. We made a few arrangements in Cusco, then found a “combi” van to Ollantaytambo. This was a little cheaper than a taxi, and faster than a bus, and was full of local people. It’s a couple of hours drive from Cusco to Ollantaytambo.
In Ollantaytambo, we stayed in the old town, just a block from the plaza. Our hostel was on an old stone pedestrian street, so once we got our bearings, we carried everything down the block and got acquainted with the place. I loved this place — it was very affordable for a family of 7, and had an authentic, charming feel.
We had breakfast at this lovely table and it was delicious.These are the bathrooms — not private, but they were clean and adequate. Like the bathrooms in a nice campground. There was only one other couple staying in the hostel at the time we were there, so privacy wasn’t really an issue.Our hostel was run by a little family and complete with a dog named Odie (like the Garfield one).
You probably don’t need to understand Spanish to get the gist of this…This is the neighborhood arcade. Local kids playing games in the open air under a tarp. Ollantaytambo is a very old town. It’s clear that most people living here are connected to the tourism in the area, but the place still has a pretty authentic feeling about it. Notice the clothing of the woman in the center of the picture — classic Peruvian attire. We were glad to be staying near the plaza — there are many restaurants and hotels closer to the train station, and they seemed a little more touristy.
This day was Halloween, and later that evening I was a little surprised to see the local Peruvian kids trick-or-treating from shop to shop in the plaza. So cute. This is definitely an imported custom, but they were enjoying themselves. They weren’t saying “trick-or-treat” nor a Spanish translation…they were saying “Hall-o-ween, Hall-o-ween!” as an invitation to give them candy.By the end of this big travel day, all had gone smoothly, but we were exhausted! We had a nice meal — I should have written down the names of the restaurants for fun, but didn’t — but if you’re ever eating in a Peruvian restaurant, I would recommend against the “black pepper” sauce. Jon can tell you why!