Of course it depends on what you’re looking for. You choose Cusco, if you want to stay in a big town. And you should choose Ollantaytambo, if you want to stay at a laidback, quaint, little place – which is the reason why I chose to spend three nights (I spent one day at Machu Picchu). And I don’t regret it!! Cusco hadn’t much to offer me – just another big town… But in Ollantaytambo I found what I was looking for. There are only a couple of roads where cars can drive. It is mostly narrow, cobbled alleys made for walking. The centres of activity are the little plaza and the market below the fortress perched on a steep hill. There are a few small restaurants, cafes, bars and shops as well.
I arrived at the train station in Cusco, and had my hostel arrange a pick-up from here. After a little over 2 hours by car, in sometimes pitch black with no street lights, through the Sacred Valley and its villages, I got to Ollantaytambo under the starriest sky I have ever seen!
Other things to do: Ollantaytambo tips