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 streets 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 and shops as well.
Ollantaytambo is a little over 2 hours by car from Cusco. I had the hostel arrange a train station pick-up. And I arrived under the starriest sky I have ever seen!