We laid side by side as we watched the Milky Way rise high above the Sacred Valley.
We were in the midst of planning our epic Peruvian trip when Holt sent a picture to Rachel that consisted of a glass pod suspended on the side of a cliff. Initially Rachel said “absolutely not”, but to Holt’s dismay, was booked behind his back a few days later.
Let’s start off by stating, Rachel has a crippling fear of heights (so you have no excuse not to do this). We had decided before hand that we were going to skip the Machu Picchu trek and explore something a little off the beaten path, mainly because we packed so much into our trip that we only had a certain amount of time allowed for each adventure.
We booked our room through Airbnb (yes, this is an airbnb), and were contacted immediately by our host, Angie. Her communication was flawless and she answered all of our questions without skipping a beat. You might gulp when you see the price per night, but let us reassure you, you will NEVER get this experience anywhere else. This is truly a “Once in a Lifetime” experience that is worth every single penny.
Our first question before booking was “How the hell do we get up there?” Climb Via Ferrata. You climb ~1,400 ft (400 mt) up a rock cliff harnessed in for dear life. Sounds scary right? It’s really not once the adrenaline starts pumping through your veins. Your next question might be “How do you get down?” Zip Line. Which is really just the cherry on top.
Day 1: Cusco to the Sacred Valley
Like we said earlier, communication between our guide, Guillermo was superb. We planned to meet at the JW Marriott in the middle of Cusco. We didn’t stay at the Marriott, but it’s a really beautiful hotel if that’s what you’re into. Since we’re on the subject, we stayed HERE the night before, which was incredible ($40 a night) and close to the main square. We’re all about ballin’ on a budget.
Our guide picked us up in front of the Marriott and told us we had about a two hour drive to the base of the Skylodge. What we didn’t know was how BEAUTIFUL that drive was going to be. Warning, if you get car sick… you’re in for a bumpy ride. Once we got out of the city, we drove towards the Sacred Valley with views of the piercing Andes mountains all around us. After countless switchbacks down the mountain, we entered the town of Urubamba.
We knew the Skylodge was near because we recognized the signature pinks of the granite that surrounded the Valley. Rachel’s heart was palpitating because she realized she actually had to conquer the wall by this point. Holt was sticking his head out the window looking for any sign of a tiny glass pod towering over our heads.
We’re going to be honest, it was way higher than we expected but not out of reach. The guides sat us down and educated us on safety and how we were going to climb up the side of the mountain. In no point in time were we ever unhooked from the wires or felt unsafe. This is a VERY safe adventure and you must trust your guides who do this everyday.
Adrenaline had never pumped through our veins so profusely. We stood at the bottom, looking up at what we were about to accomplish. Holt ascended first with Rachel right behind him. Of course, Holt flew up the mountain like a goat. Rachel took her time, remembered to breathed every now and then and decided to only look down when necessary. Most of the climb consisted of rebarb sticking out of the granite like a ladder. We wore harnesses that were attached to two carabiners that connected us to the mountain side.
We were told it takes about 2 hours average to finish the climb depending on your skill level. About 1.5 hours later, we reached our pod! The wind had started to pick up and we were ready to be enclosed in our home for the night. It was getting dark by the time we got to the top, so if don’t want climb in the dark, we suggest you take short breaks and climb at a steady pace.
We lowered ourselves into our pod which was much more spacious then we had expected. Greeted with hot water, tea, and 5 gallons of drinking water… we were in heaven. Our guides hung out with us until dinner was ready (which they brought/prepared for us). Dinner was DELICIOUS! The complimentary bottle of red wine really helped ease our nerves as well. Be mindful consuming alcohol at this altitude if you’ve just flown in from sea level.
After dinner, we were left alone to watch the moon set. Somehow we planned our trip perfectly in sync with having no moon or clouds that night. That is pure luck my friends. We laid side by side as we watched the Milky Way rise high above the Sacred Valley. We realized why they call it the “10,000 star hotel”. Sitting in bed, we soaked up just how special that moment was.
Day 2: Breakfast + Zip line
We’re going to leave out the part where Rachel’s wine buzz wore off and she forcefully woke Holt up at 4am demanding to be on the ground asap. Heights aren’t her thing.
The sunrise naturally woke us up. Our bed was literally a cloud in the sky, comfy is an understatement. Breakfast was served on top of the guides pod which was just below ours. It was cold out so we bundled up, secured our safety equipment and headed down with supervision of a guide. (Skylodge recently built a new pod just for eating, which is gorgeous. You can check it out HERE). The food was filling and got us excited to zip line down the mountain side.
We vowed to be honest with you, so here it goes. If you’re thinking about climbing up to sleep in one of these pods, be aware that you will have to poop in a bag next to the person you love so dearly. If you can’t grasp that, I suggest you hold it. To us, this was the most hilarious part of the experience.
The zip line consisted of 6 zip wires that range from 150mt to 700mt (so long we could barely see the end). Some of the zip lines are LONG and usually smaller people are doubled up with a guide. If you listen to the guides you will be just fine. You can read more about the zip line and watch videos HERE. The easiest part of the experience was getting to fly down the mountain side like a bird. It was a nice rest for our legs!
Descending back the ground was bittersweet as we felt like we had completely escaped reality for one night. We had a new appreciation for the Sacred Valley and the beauty that it provides. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience!
We caught a cab from base camp that took us directly to Ollantaytambo to catch our train to Aguas Caliente. The Skylodge is directly on your way to Machu Picchu from Cusco. It’s very convenient!
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*Note* We were not endorsed or paid to relay any information and all thoughts, facts and experiences are our own.
-Holt & Rachel