Peru has been the one month I’ve been planning side trips for a long time, and it was totally worth it.
Back in Split I was showing my friend Milena a video of a Skylodge attached to a rock at 400mt above the Peruvian Sacred Valley. We wanted to go, and so did the small group of semi-strangers that gathered around us to watch the video. One month later we were all booked!
After sharing this experience and the video below with our friends and families, many asked for more information. This is what this post is about.
First Disclaimer: This is how I organised this trip, it probably isn’t the best possible way, but it worked for us!
Second Disclaimer: Altitude is no joke, the two days everyone recommends to acclimate in Cuzco are the very minimum, especially if you arrive by plane. Our dates/itinerary was based on our restrictions, but the one change I would probably do would be to go to Rainbow Mountain last, and not right after the two days in Cuzco.
Day 1 and 2. Acclimate in Cuzco.
We stayed at a very nice and central hotel called Tambo del Arriero, I would definitively go back, and if fact we did on our last night back from Machu Picchu before flying home to Lima.
The one bar/restaurant in Cuzco I would suggest not to miss is Limbus Resto Bar, at the top of the San Blas neighbourhood. Yeah, you’ll get there out of breath. Just blame the altitude and do it for the view, especially at sunset.
Day 3. Rainbow Mountain.
The day starts with a 2am pick up, Yep! You are blessed if you still have some of that jet-lag in you!
One of the main propositions of Flashpacker Connect, the company I chose for this hike mainly based on the good reviews I could find on other blogs like this one, was to be the first on Rainbow Mountain. Well, that’s how they deliver!
I would definitively recommend them too, they were well organised and professional, the food was good, they gave us snacks and helped us rent horses at the start of the trail, suggesting it would have been hard to hike the whole way having only been in Cuzco for two days. I totally second that. The few bits we had to do walking were sooo hard!
Day 4 and 5. Skylodge.
This was they main reason of our trip, and with no doubt deserved it’s highlight positioning. It was Epic.
We booked directly with Natura Vive that have been easy to communicate with and highly professional from beginning to end.
They came pick us up in Cuzco at 2pm, kept our excess luggage in their offices and guided us, literally step by step, through the 400mt of via ferrata that led us to the Skylodge.
The climb is not super easy but also not too challenging, the view throughout the whole experience makes every step worth it and the delicious 3 courses dinner with wine at the end, it’s the cherry on the cake! (Dessert was actually brownies with fresh strawberries and a coulis of mango sauce, yep!).
Sleeping in the pods is a lot of fun, we were lucky enough to be able to see the stars and then experience a storm. Having wine and playing Picolo via radio with the guys in the other pod just brought everything to the next level of fun!
Ziplining down from the Skylodge the day after sleeping there (after a delicious breakfast) was as terrifying and fun as I aspected, maybe a little more, definitively one of the highlights of the entire year! The longest zipline (of 6) is 700mt long, you don’t see the end of it from the start, and I think I managed to scream the whole time! 🙂
Day 5 and 6. Machu Picchu
The guys of Natura Vive dropped us off at Ollantaytambo where we took a Peru Rail train to Aguas Calientes, where we slept for the night. Train fares rise closer to the date, so if you can book your tickets in advance. You can also check out Inca Rail.
On the 6th day we woke up around 5am and took a bus to Machu Picchu, we bought in advance the ticket to MP and Wayna Picchu, or Huayna Pichu, since there are only 500 of the latter per day and you can’t buy them on the spot.
Machu Picchu is certainly a beautiful and mystical place. Apparently it’s going to collapse in a few years, so guides keep telling tourists that it will be closed in 10 years, and they have been saying it for a few decades…
Our hotel found us an official guide, but none of us was impressed by his knowledge or performance, so I don’t have a suggestion for you, good luck!
On the same night we took a train back to Cuzco where we spent our last night. The day after we left to Lima, not before some of us took overpriced pictures with lama-looking sheeps, a few more pisco sour and one last massage from a little parlour on the main street.
Huq p’unchaykama (Until another day) Cuzco!