The view from our Lodge window of the snow-capped Jatun Jampa; an Apu (Sacred Mountain) at the end of the valley was amazing – enough to make this whole trip worthwhile.
We watched the sun set over this magnificent Apu, as the temperature dropped below freezing. Then, at dawn Little Miss 5 was already awake commenting on the movements of the alpacas camped around our lodge.
Our trek experience is documented our blog Peruvian Lodge to Lodge Trek with Kids– while we had trekked only a couple hours on the first day we were super excited to arrive at our lodgings for the night.
We’d embarked on this short high Andean trek to see how being comfortable in a Lodge would change the experience of trekking with Kids. We’d never ever stayed in a lodge so we wanted to see how the Lodge would assist with the cold and altitude at Uyuni Pampa (4,368m/ 14,331 ft.)
With stone and natural colors on the outside and a predominance of light wood on the inside, we were told that the lodges were built according to ecological criteria, in harmony with their natural surroundings, as well as with the local architectural style.
Upon arriving in the lodge we were presented with complimentary soft fluffy slippers (to take home at the end of the trip) and a warm coca tea. The lodge was gorgeous – with a big, roaring open fire, the rooms had views of the mountains, big soft white duvets filled with feathers and really soft pillows. Fluffy, freshly laundered towels on the beds made it seem just like a hotel.
Each room didn’t have electricity or heating but we were presented with solar power lanterns and instructions to shower at specific times in order to maximise use of the solar heated hot water.
This is truly an exclusive experience, there is capacity for only 16 guests at a time, and while we visited only the Chilca lodge, we are told that each lodge is similar, and each one offers amazing views of the Ausangate mountain range.
After showers, and an aperitif warmed by the glow of the fire and the company of contented trekkers, we were treated to a Silver start dining experience with delightful dishes prepared with local ingredients by specially trained people from the local community.
Community tourism “sounds” great on paper – but when you are experiencing it, it is harder to “see” where your extra dollars go. This community tourism initiative was designed to include the local communities, as well as create a sustainable income for them. The Andean Lodges site explains the challenges of better than we can:
“Developing Rural Community Tourism in the Peruvian Andes presents a series of challenges; not only due to the complicated geography and access, but above all, because … after hundreds of years of oppression, the Andean populations have learned to mistrust whoever they don´t consider as being part of their culture.”
This is why the local communities of Chillca and Osefina are Andean Lodges´ partners and shareholders, and have authorised the Andean Lodges to build these remote eco-lodges. Another misconception is that these lands are remote and therefore un-inhabited. This is incorrect, ancient land use traditions dictate that every piece of land has a user (not an owner as Western culture, but something similar)
In addition to the lodges, and their operation Andean Lodges claim they are rescuing a series of local customs and traditions, such as: Llama and Alpaca Shepherding, Andean Textile Confection as well as offering Operational Training.
However, in reality most of these benefits are hard to see; so there is the intrinsic trust in the operating company that they are indeed doing their best!!!
But – to answer the question posed – was a Lodge Trek worthwhile with Kids?
Our answer would be a resounding yes! Staying in the Lodge made it possible – at 4500m it was freezing at night, and warm beds, and luxury meant we were sufficiently within our comfort zone to take this on. This was a wonderful experience and we highly recommended the Andean Lodges.
More information about the Andean Lodges, Peruvian Lodge to Lodge experience?
Please take a look at our related post https://worldoftravelswithkids.com/2017/01/25/peru-lodge-to-lodge-trek-with-kids/
Also take heed of the practicalities of trekking with young kids at Trekking With Toddlers in The Andes