Entertainment and Events
Ollantaytambo has a small but lively nightlife scene, due mainly to a community of expats who live in town year-round. Be sure to patronize places that seem respectful of surrounding residents and do not encourage use of drugs, which is an increasing problem in town.
Señor Ganso (Horno Calle, 1.5 blocks from the square, 9 a.m.–11 p.m. daily) has a great second floor lounge. Bars and clubs change often in Ollantaytambo.
During the Fiesta de Reyes (the Celebration of the Kings) on January 6, a revered image of Jesus is brought down to Ollantaytambo from Marcacocha, a town high up in the Patacancha Valley. The event includes a solemn procession around Ollantaytambo’s main square, which involves even more images of baby Jesus.
On January 6, over 200 Wallta dancers come down from the hills of Mount Pinkuylluna. These Quechua-speaking communities, dressed in the traditional red outfits, dance and lead processions until the following day.
During the eight-day Carnaval season in late January and early February, the upper Patacancha Valley explodes into a series of traditions: cow branding, offerings to mountain apus by local priests, wallata (the dance of the condor), and ritual battles between towns that are now fought with mature fruit instead of rocks.
The town’s most important celebration is the Señor de Choquequilca, which happens during the Pentecost at the end of May or early June. The festival dates back to the miraculous appearance of a wooden cross near the town’s Inca bridge. A chapel dedicated to El Señor de Choquequilca was completed in the main square in 1995.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition