I remember seeing this video on Facebook all the way back in 2015. It showed people sleeping in see-through pods halfway up a cliff. I believe my exact words were “nope, not happening.” Fast forward 3 months; I’m traversing that same cliff face as the sun goes down, still 50 yards away from the capsule that I am about to call home for the next 12 hours. Yep, that’s right. I stayed in the Skylodge Adventure Suites, the world’s only million star hotel, and man was it worth it.
All the Way Up
After being picked up from my hostel in Cusco, we drove into the Sacred Valley, through Urubamba where we picked up the family who would be occupying the other pod, and down to a spot near the Pachar railway station where the only thing I saw was a small shack on the side of the road. Confused, I exited the van and looked up. Ohmygosh, I thought, am I really about to do this? Hanging off the side of this mountain at 400 meters, or slightly over 1300 feet, is the aluminum and polycarbonate skylodge that I am about to call my home for the evening.
There are two ways to get up, a hike that follows the zip line path or the Via Ferrata, a way of climbing the mountain using metal ladders, bridges, and steel cables. Because I am not the most coordinated person I know, and I knew I would be hiking the Inca Trail in a few days, I opted for the hike. Our guides Guillermo and Daniel instantly put us at ease and led us on our merry way up the mountain. In my opinion, the hike was an easy to medium difficulty. The other group that was hiking with me was a family ranging from Dad in his mid-50s to Little Cousin who was 9. We were all able to complete the hike with minimal breaks in about 2 hours. We reached the Skylodge Adventure Pods just after sunset.
Once there, Guillermo steered me to my pod and explained all of the facilities to me. Each pod is set up to accommodate 4 people, with one double bed and two twin beds that double as couches for relaxing and eating dinner. There is also a full bathroom complete with dry toilet. I had the entire pod to myself and immediately opened all of the curtains so that I could look at the stars, the Urubamba river, and the trains passing through the valley.
The Main Event
While I situated myself, i.e. jumped on the beds, snapchatted myself freaking out, and unpacked my tiny overnight bag, Guillermo traversed back to the guides’ pod, where Daniel and he prepared dinner and then scaled back down with it. I’m not sure if it was the adrenaline from being on the side of a cliff or the hunger from hiking up here, but dinner was fantastic! It also included a bottle of wine, so I was a happy camper. I spent the rest of the night journaling, continuing to freak out about how awesome the whole experience was so far, and trying to figure out the dry toilet. Eventually, I fall asleep staring at the night sky with the Urubamba river meandering below.
I woke up naturally with the sun, something that I never do (ask my parents). It was so relaxing, and it took me a few minutes to pull myself out of the comfy bed. I put on all of the layers that I brought and made my way up to the top of my pod where I watched the sunrise flood the valley with color. Around 7, Guillermo came back down to make sure I was up and escort me to breakfast on top of the guides’ pod. (Note: Natura Vive has since built a 4th pod specifically for dining.) After another delicious meal (and some precarious picture taking), it was time to head back down the mountain.
What Goes Up, Must Come Down
Luckily for me and my already sore feet, we decended by zipline. There are a total of 7 lines that range from 150m to 700m. Two of the zip lines were tandem lines, and none of them required you to brake. This was my first time zip lining, and I had such a blast. Again, Guillermo and Daniel put us all at ease and explained each part of the day. The zip lining went by fast, and before I knew it, we were back at the base. After taking pictures, tipping our guides, and lamenting on how amazing the last 24 hours had been, we loaded back into the van and departed for Cusco.
How to Book:
- AirBnB – Click here for $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
- Email them directly at Info@naturavive.com
*Note: At the time of publication, it appears to be slightly cheaper to email them directly. The charge is per person.
Prices are per person, making this a very do-able “bucket list” item for solo or couple travelers.
Arrive in Cusco, Urubamba, or Ollantaytambo the day before you plan on staying at Skylodge Adventure Suites. Your body needs time to adjust to the altitude.
If you are hiking the Inca Trail, I recommend staying at Skylodge Adventure Suites before you hike. Your feet, calves, quads, and hammies will thank me later.
Bring a small day pack and pack uber light. The wonderful staff will tell you this; take them seriously. You have to carry all of your own gear. Choose it wisely.
Would you stay at the Skylodge Adventure Suites? What is the craziest place you’ve ever spent the night? Let me know in the comments!
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