As I was unable to find a recent review of the Mountain Lodges of Peru trek prior to my trek, I thought it was time to give a updated review. It’s a bit long but I believe very informative.
Incredible trip from start to finish. We trekked from September 27 to October 3rd.
The trek has no more then 12 people in a group. Our group had 12 people. There were 8 of us that travelled together and 2 more couples joined us. We ranged in age from 34 to 65. The trek is on the Salkantay trail not the Inca trail. We saw only 5 other hikers during our entire 6 days of hiking. Unlike the Inca trail which I understand is getting very busy.
The trail is very clean. You would have to look pretty hard to find garbage on it.
Our guide, Javier, and our assistant guide Juanito were fantastic. Javier spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable of the surroundings. Juanito’s English was not as good, however his sense of humor was great. Juanito is very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. Many times he had us rolling on the floor in laughter. You can request guides and I highly recommend that you ask for these to guides. These 2 definitely made our trip more amazing.
Our cook Mario, who traveled with us, made us some of the most incredible meals I have eaten. Whether he cooked for us on the trail or in the lodge, every meal was very special and presented beautifully.
The trek is over 6 days with the 7th day being at Machu Picchu. You trek on many different types of terrain, from loose rocks to well worn trails. Everyday brings new and incredible sights. Day 3 is the tough and long day. This day takes you over the summit pass which is 15,000+ feet. I wouldn’t say any of the days are strenuous but they are tiring, only because of the altitude. We had all kinds of weather from snow on the summit pass to rain about 35% of the time. We however thought that hiking in the rain was fun, but I certainly wouldn’t have wanted rain everyday all day.
The lodges are fantastic. When you arrive they give you a nice warm cloth to wash your face and in the evening the staff scrubs and dries your hiking boots, readying them for the next day of hiking.
Lodge 1 – Salkantay Lodge and Adventure Resort.
This lodge is the largest it has 12 rooms and accommodates 24 people, you stay 2 nights here. All the rooms face Salkantay Mountain. What an incredible view. Waking up to see this snowcapped 20,000+ peak is beyond words. The hot tub at this lodge also faces Salkantay. Nothing like sitting in a hot tub after a day of hiking. The rooms are a good size, great bathrooms with endless hot water in the shower and the rooms are gas heated. The beds are incredible with duvet covers; they even put a hot water bottle in your bed to warm it up, awesome.
Lodge 2 – Wayra Lodge. – This lodge is the least impressive of the 4 lodges. The common seating area is a little to small for a group of 12, in fact they do not even have seating for 12, you have to use the chairs from the dinner table. The hot tub is not outside it is in the middle of lodge surrounded by rooms therefore it has no view also the water in hot tub was not very hot. The rooms however are just has good as the other 3 lodges. And of course Mario again made fantastic meals.
Lodge 3 – Colpa Lodge – This lodge in my opinion is the crown jewel. We arrived around 2 pm after a nice relaxing hike and once again were greeting by smiling staff and nice warm cloths to wipe our faces with. Before we even entered the lodge the cooking staff demonstrated and prepared our lunch in the traditional Peruvian manner, fantastic. This is the meal where you can try the Peruvian delicacy of Guinea pig; I thought it tasted like sweet chicken, albeit not much meat. The interior of the lodge is very beautiful with some very interested looking masks hanging on the wall. The hot tub over looks the Andean valley below, what an amazing vista. We literally spent 2 hours in the tub drinking beer and absorbing the views. When we did finally call it a night we once again slept wonderfully under a duvet cover pre warmed for us.
Lodge 4 – Lucma Lodge – The location of this lodge is quite unique to the other lodges. It is located in a coffee plantation. This lodge is the most picturesque from the outside of all the lodges, with floor to ceiling windows. The rooms are located on a separate floor and look down upon the lounging and dinner area, very nice. The views from this lodge are not nearly as fantastic because there are a lot of trees obscuring your view. However what this lodge has that the other 3 do not, is bug life. Not biting bugs but interesting looking moths and beetles that come out when the sun sets. They do not bother you in any way but they are interesting to observe. This lodge does not have a hot tub, I am assuming because the bugs may be a problem if you are soaking in it and also there is not really a view here. At this lodge the guide takes you to one of the local homes where they roast you some fresh coffee, a nice little extra that we did not expect.
In Aguas Calientes, the town that’s only purpose is to service Machu Picchu, we stayed at the Inkaterra lodge. Another beautiful lodge with fantastic grounds and humming birds all over the place. My room had a very nice sitting area with a wood burning fireplace. The meals in this lodge are nothing short of spectacular.
This trek is nothing short of amazing. My wife who wasn’t sure she wanted to do this trek stated after the 2nd day “This is the most amazing vacation I have ever taken” and we had yet to see Machu Picchu which of course being 1 of the 7 man made wonders of the world speaks for itself. Everything that Mountain Lodges of Peru did was 1st class. The 2 train rides are in dome cars so we could continue taking in the amazing views. Any issue that we had was promptly looked after. For example I had a broken trekking pole that was repaired promptly and better then new.
The Peruvian people we encountered on the trail where very pleasant and welcoming of us. Always greeting us with smiles and a Hola.
If you are pondering whether to take this trek or not, I say do not hesitate any longer, you will not be disappointed. I have travelled extensively for the past 30 years and I can say without a doubt that this was the most incredible vacation I have every taken.
2 Tips –
1. The packing list that Mountain Lodges of Peru supplies is bang on. Do bring everything that is on the list.
2. Pack your hiking boots and rain gear in your carry on.
The luggage of one of the couples in our group did not arrive in time for the beginning of the trek. The 1st 2 days were a little difficult for them. We did however offer them some of our extra gear but they refused it for some reason, but that is another story for another day.