Those of you on twitter may recall that in February our good friend Ricky travelled to the Colca Canyon and stayed at Colca Lodge while live tweeting about the experience. Below is his full report of the trip with some great insights and tips for Aracari guests.
Last month I ventured with Aracari to the Colca Canyon right in the middle of the rainy season. I was advised against this by many as Arequipa had been dealing with the worst rains in a decade, but I for one love the rain and find it to be very relaxing. I flew to Arequipa and took a shared minivan for a good 4 hours through the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, a meseta (plateau) at 4,000 metres altitude. We passed through the heart of the vicuña habitat, the wild cousin of the South American camelid family. I only felt any effects from altitude for a good 30 minutes during the trip.
We finally arrived at Colca Lodge, located in the middle of the ancestral farming terraces at 3,250 metres. Out of all of the hotels in the Canyon it has the best views.
The lodge is rustic Andean chic with 45 cabin-type rooms .There are three suites including the bridal suite with its own jacuzzi, as well as double, twin, triple and quadruple rooms. All rooms have heating, hot water (from solar power), mini bar and a terrace, but no TVs which might bore some people like me. There is no wifi in the rooms either. Since I was travelling alone I felt a little lonely in the evenings, wifi would have kept me company.
The onsite restaurant offers ‘Alpandina’ cuisine, combining local Andean produce and alpine techniques, resulting in flavourful and well-balanced meals. Additional facilities include 2 bars, a library, a living room with a large fireplace and a games room.
A particular attraction are 3 private thermal baths which are fed by volcanic hot springs – a perfect place to relax under a star-filled sky after a day of exploring the Colca Valley. The water of the hot springs is rich in lithium, an element that promotes relaxation. However due to the high levels of the Colca river, these pools were completely washed over and guests were offered complimentary access to the Eco-spa pool.
The Eco-Spa was incredible, it offered the well-being I was looking for. There is a steam room and a jacuzzi, which use natural geothermal energy. I had two Swedish massages done with the sounds of the river flooding in my ears.
Aracari clients enjoying a Peru luxury tour will be accompanied by their own guide and driver and will explore traditional Colca villages, churches and visit the Cruz del Condor. For those with some free time the lodge offers activities (for an additional charge) including horse riding which I did which included trails to the Uyo Uyo ruins.