In a sign of how time flies, it was a decade ago when Peru visitors got the first chance to trek from lodge to lodge on the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu. No tents, no camping, with a hot shower and a bed each night.
Luxury Latin America was one of the first media outlets to experience this ambitious project. In 2008 I had the pleasure of hiking through the Andes with Mountain Lodges of Peru. I have done plenty of hiking trips before, including the Inca Trail in Peru, but none of them presented evenings that were as pleasurable as the days. This trek was a different story, thanks to four upscale lodges situated along the route to Machu Picchu.
This is a timeless trip, one that hasn’t really changed over the decade because it was so carefully thought out to start with. Sure, the lodges have gotten some tweaks here and there along the way, but they’re essentially the same cozy places my group slept and dined in soon after the launch. You can read all about it in our detailed feature, Trekking Lodge to Lodge Through the Andes Mountains of Peru. It hopefully gives you a good feeling of what this trip is like, with some photos of the great scenery you will see along the way.
I couldn’t go too deeply into the experience at the lodges themselves, but if the Salkantay Lodge were open to non-tour bookings, it would rank among the other luxury hotels in Peru we have profiled. The scenery alone is a knockout. (See this other post for a video tour.)
The other three lodges were also very comfortable though, especially considering the difficulty of getting materials to these building sites in the first place and then training local staffers to meet the demands of picky guests. They are rustic in a good design way and not a “no facilities” way. Steaming hot water, big whirlpools with a view, excellent food, a full bar, comfy mattresses, even phone and Internet access by satellite if you really need it.
Mountain Lodges of Peru didn’t stick with what was working however. After running this lodge to lodge Peru trek for a few years, they launched a new tour in the Sacred Valley along the Lares Route, also known as “The Weaver’s Trail” for all the traditional textiles produced in the villages. To get permission to build a lodge in the remote village of Huacahuasi, the company put together an ownership sharing program with the local leaders and employs villagers at the lodge.