Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sacred Valley Skylodge

Since we visited Peru as our honeymoon, we decided to splurge a little for one night. We booked a night in Natura Vive's skylodge, a suspended pod on the side of the mountain. The climb up, restaurant quality meals, transparent room, and zipline back down made for a once in a lifetime experience.

Cost and What's Included
The skylodge was expensive, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. If it hadn't been our honeymoon, we probably would have laughed at $400 per person for one night and moved on to look for other activities. However, we saw the pictures of the hanging pods and the via ferrata climb up and couldn't dissolve our interest. 
We did the via ferrata, night stay in the pod, and zipline down the next morning. The company provided round trip transportation from Cusco. There are options for just the via ferrata and zipline down in the same day, but you'd miss out on the amazing experience sleeping among the stars. Additionally, our night package included dinner and breakfast which were prepared in the extra pod. We enjoyed a gourmet meal of pumpkin soup, chicken and quinoa, and brownie dessert while we made friends with another American couple on the trip. Conversation flowed easily thanks to the full bottle of red wine split between each couple. In the morning, we enjoyed an equally amazing breakfast of fresh fruit, granola, eggs, bread, and plenty of coffee.

The Via Ferrata
The via ferrata provides climbers a safe way to ascend the mountain to get to the pods. Iron bars soldered into the mountainside make a sort of ladder. A cable runs alongside the bars so that you stay clipped in for the entire climb and cannot plummet to your death. John and I both enjoyed the climb immensely, though I wouldn't recommend it for someone afraid of heights. The two other couples on our trip were older and didn't have too much trouble. Our guides told us horror stories of climbers who froze mid-climb. If you decide that the via ferrata is outside of your comfort zone, there is a hike up the mountain that they can take you on instead. It took us a little over an hour to climb up, and we were thrilled to enjoy the comfort of the pod once we reached the top. 

The Pod
There are four pods in total, three rooms and one for dining. The pods are securely attached to the mountainside, and we never once doubted our safety. Though the company suggests packing lots of warm clothing, we actually found to pod to have better insulation than some of our Cusco Airbnbs. They also provide plenty of blankets and hot tea. We fell asleep watching the stars above us through the pod's glass ceiling. 

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast and took a few more pictures before heading down the mountain through a zipline course. In total, we completed six separate ziplines. Some were shorter, while some seemed to go on for a full minute. We rode tandem on the longer lines, speeding down the mountain together. 

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