High in the Southern Peruvian Andes, hikers will happen upon Andean Lodges – a scattering of cozy traditional ‘tambos’ offering the perfect sanctuary after long days on the Ausangate´s trail.
Andean Lodges are located on Peru’s highest hiking circuit, connecting four lodges all more than 4000m/13000ft above sea level in the remote, culturally rich region of Ausangate – the highest and holiest mountain in the Southern Peruvian Andes.
The communities here possess a deep ancestral knowledge of alpaca and llama herding, as well as traditional textile arts and crafts. Yet because many local people are forced to migrate to be able to make a living, much of their traditional way of life is being lost. Given that these traditions are one of the key attractions for eco-friendly tourism to the region, Andean Lodges work closely with the local community to help them understand and value their culture and heritage to earn a livelihood.
Overview of Andean Lodges
The concept behind Andean Lodges is an ancient one. Inspired by the Inca ‘tambos’ or ‘tampus’, meaning ‘resting places’ – these shelters were constructed in stone and positioned along an incredible road network that once covered large parts of South America. Their purpose was to offer food and accommodation to travelers, and to the famous ‘Chaskis’ – fast Incan runners who sprinted across the empire, covering unbelievable distances to deliver messages.
Today, hikers will find the ‘tambos’ of Andean Lodges where the original constructions once stood. And whilst the buildings might be new, the same unmistakably Peruvian hospitality awaits wearing hikers.
All four of the Andean Lodges are reachable within one days’ walking of one another, taking around 7 hours between each. At an altitude of between 4,350 and 4,850 m. (14,270 and 15,915 ft.) above sea level, it’s a difficult climb but for a view that’s certainly worth the effort. All of the lodges look out onto magnificent snow-covered peaks; the glaciers of the Vilcanota Range, and the mighty Mount Ausangate itself – the highest and holiest mountain in the Southern Peruvian Andes.
Each of the four lodges has been carefully designed and constructed using methods and materials completely in keeping with the remote surroundings. As comfortable as they are eco-friendly, the buildings are made of stone from local quarries, as well as eucalyptus logs that had to be carried from lower elevations of the Cusco region.
In order of location, the lodges are:
8 double guest rooms, 2 single rooms
Chillca Lodge is located on the Pampa Uyuni plain at 4,369 m/ 14,270 ft. in a valley irrigated by the purest glacial waters. From this lodge, you will have an unobstructed view of snowcapped Mt. Jatun Jampa, which looms at the end of the Valley.
Built according to the local ecological criteria, Chillca Tambo echoes its natural surrounding and cultural aesthetic, from the use of natural resources like wood and stone to the terracotta color palate which compliments the Andean landscape. During a stay here, guests will enjoy a taste of the local Andean cuisine, prepared by the native chef who creates elaborate and nutritious dishes using local ingredients.
8 double guest rooms
Anantapata Lodge differs slightly from the other three ‘tambos’. The building is all one-level, with a prefabricated wooden structure erected upon a solid stone base. It was built this way by the local Chillca community, with the financial support of a government grant, and is now integrated into Apu Ausangate’s Trail circuit. Inside, all the facilities are the same as the other three lodges.
10 double guest rooms
Positioned at an altitude of 4,815 m./ 15,912 ft. this ‘tambo’ is one of the highest lodging installations in the world. Its structure is nestled at the foot of Mount Ausangate, the Incas’ most Sacred Mountain. Because of its location, Machuracay lodge can be used as a base from which to climb to the summit of Mount Ausangate, the highest peak in the Vilcanota´s Cordillera.
10 double guest rooms
The final lodging on the Ausangate trek circuit is Huampococha Tambo. Sitting in a magical location, the lodge is at an altitude of 4800 m /15,748 ft., commanding panoramic views across a breathtaking landscape of stunted grasses, bright lagoons, and surrounding mountains.
Huampococha Tambo lies within the community of Osefina. These community members, together with their distant neighbors of Chillca, also participate in the Andean Lodges Project. Famed for their skills in traditional Andean weaving, a visit here is an incredible opportunity to learn more about textiles in this part of Peru.
Lodge Bedrooms and Common Areas
Each of the bedrooms within the four lodges is equipped with thermal feather duvets, as well as functional furniture made of mahogany wood. The bedroom windows all offer panoramic views of the Vilcanota mountain range – the perfect sight to start a day’s walking. Indoor bathrooms are tiled, with ceramic toilets and running water, which is inventively tapped from the nearby springs, with warm water available in the afternoons.
There is a cozy central living space in each of the lodges. These rooms have a large fireplace that is lit each day by the housekeeping team – who are all members of local Andean communities. Here guests can reflect on the day’s hike, or enjoy some quiet time in front of the large glass windows, gazing out at the spectacular views. It’s also in the heated common areas that breakfast and dinner are served, prepared by the locals employed by Andean Lodges and using mostly traditional ingredients.
Understandably, there is no electricity supplied to these remote lodges. Instead, the teams use propane gas to heat the showers and for cooking, whilst firewood is burnt on the hearths for warmth. Candles and lanterns are sources of lighting, adding to the atmosphere and allowing guests to take in the unpolluted Andean sky and its myriad of stars and constellations.
- Homecooked meals for breakfast and dinner
- Packed picnic lunch to the enjoyed on during the day’s hike
- Sherpas and llamas to carry equipment between the lodges
- Expert guide to lead the trek