Ever wondered what it is like to sleep in a glass pod suspended off a mountainside accessed by climbing up a vertical via ferrata to get there? You can now find out in Peru’s Sacred Valley, where Skylodge reaches new heights in quirky accommodation. Aracari went to test out the via ferrata and Skylodge and share our review of the adrenaline-inducing experience.
Skylodge Adventure Suites in the Sacred Valley
Climbing the via ferrata to reach the Skylodge
Skylodge Adventure Suites is owned by the same mountain adventure operator that holds claim to Peru’s first via ferrata and also six zip-lines, one measuring 1,640 feet (500 metres) in length. Just to reach the Skylodge requires a one-hour climb up about 984 feet (300 metres) on the via ferrata or alternatively a trek up the mountainside. The lodges are referred to as “vertical hanging modules”, which are set on a cliff in Ollantaytambo at 1,312 feet (400 metres) in the air. Driving past on the main highway connecting Cusco to the Sacred Valley, you can look up and see the modules, appearing like glass cocoons protruding from the mountainside.
Hotel That Hangs Off a Cliff
The modules are made of aerospacial aluminum and high resistance polycarbonate, and as I stood inside, looking out on the Sacred Valley, the sky above, the river below, the guide I was with urged me to jump up and down—to test the strength. I could hear the wind press against the walls, slipping inside through one of the six small windows for ventilation. It was warm inside under the hot, Andean sun, but I could imagine that in the evenings, the pristine view of the stars and the cool breeze must feel, well, heavenly.
There are four beds in each module, a dining tray and a bathroom (with a dry, ecological toilet and sink) concealed by an insulated zip-closure wall and curtains. The lights are powered by solar panels, and reading lights are included for late-night bookworms. Each module is 24 feet long and 8 feet high, so the giants among us need not worry—you can stand more than comfortably. The only way to enter is through a portal door on the top of the module, and guests are fastened to safety cords until they are climbing inside to ensure that they will not go tumbling down the mountainside. I would classify myself as having a mild fear of heights, but I felt secure throughout my entire visit, even when I was jumping up and down in the module to test the strength of the polycarbonate floor.
There are three modules in total, each named: Luna, Silves and Miranda. Luna is for the guides who accompany the guests to lodge and prepare the beverages and the meals (dinner and breakfast), which they deliver to guests. Because there is no running water on the mountain, the meals are purchased from local restaurants and carried to the Luna by the guides, where they can be warmed if necessary in the small oven. Wine is served before dinner (if desired), and the guests can decide at what time they would like to have dinner and breakfast.
During my climb, the guide had carried an 8 gallon jug of water in his rucksack, which was more than impressive. The room service at the Skylodge is truly a privilege because the guides must work hard to provide this type of room service at such heights.
Checkout means Zip-Lining down the Sacred Valley
As I was zip-lining down the mountain after my visit, a honeymooning couple was getting ready to climb the via ferrata up to the Skylodge for what I imagined would be a romantic evening in the Sacred Valley. Generally the climb is done in the late afternoon so that guests arrive at the lodge to witness the sunset over the Valley before dinner. The next morning, guests can enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by a zip-line adventure back to land. Natura Vive provides transport to and from the hotels.
Since opening, the operators have been surprised at the number and diversity of their visitors, ranging in age from six years old to seventy years! The owners are a couple who want to share their love of mountain adventure by offering visitors to the Sacred Valley the ultimate adventure experience – an intimate evening spent surrounded by impressive views of the valley and the clear sky above. Skylodge Adventure Suites is a unique and exciting way to pass a couple of days in the Sacred Valley for those with an appetite for adventure and the desire to get an entirely new perspective on this region of Cusco!