Incredulous… is the best way to describe the face of the Andean Lodges sales representative as we explained to him that we wanted to trek over 5000 metres in the high Andes with my 71 year old mother, 5 year old daughter and 22 month old son.
We discussed… and discussed some more that we were well acclimatised, fit and healthy… and there was no reason we couldn’t do it.
Andean Lodges are relatively new rural community tourism initiative in the Ausangate Region and Mama traveller was desperate to visit. We were all keen to give lodge to lodge trekking a go, having never done it before –in any other part of the world.
Finally, we decided that attempting their 5 day hike, which includes the world famous Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, was unrealistic and we would just stay overnight at a road accessible lodge.
Some 4 hours after leaving Cusco we stopped for lunch at the starting point of the walk! A beautiful open air gourmet lunch greeted us, before starting a rather steep walk through the spectacular Japura Gorge. In retrospect we were over ambitious – it was steep and slippery with drops straight to the river below – not ideal for a 70 plus year old that was being clung to by a 5 year old. Mamma traveller was unsteady as well, carrying the 22 month old in the Deuter trekking pack!
We had a very hairy half hour or so as the assistant guide held each of us through the narrow, tricky sections of the trek! !
Still – once through the gorge the trekking was flat up the valley of the Quencomayo River with lovely meadows, and an enchanting alpine feel… we crossed a good number of ice cold creeks flowing straight from the glaciers. Alpacas ran free, gazing at us curiously, while neighbouring kids ran along and played.
We reached the first lodge within 3 hours – about twice the time advertised. Which was appropriate given we were a multi-generational trekking group.
Arrival at the lodge was a welcome relief – even after a few hours of trekking… There is a wonderful view of the snow-capped Mount Jatun Jampa from the lodge, and you very much feel you are in the mountains.
The next day we had the option to hike up to an alpine lake – but ended up having a horse ride and playing around the lodge… kids can enjoy pretty much anything! And what a playground it was –with 360 degree mountain views and alpacas grazing nearby.
Since having kids we have had to accept that sometimes a 5 day trek is not an option, but also sought out experiences that feel adventurous with young ones. This was a wonderful experience for all – made possible by the flexibility of the Andean Lodges!
Should I do a Lodge to Lodge Trek in Peru, with my kids?
Our Disclaimer: Each family is different and while you are staying in a high altitude lodge – this is also a very high altitude and remote area. We wouldn’t recommend this excursion for people who aren’t comfortable being in remote places, or have acclimatised for a week or more at Cusco, with day trips to high places. Given pre verbal kids (eg, our 22 month old) are not able communicate their symptoms you must be well acclimatised to avoid any potential acute mountain sickness!
Our Trekking with Toddlers in the Andes is a MUST READ for anyone considering this excursion or any high altitude trekking with small kids https://worldoftravelswithkids.com/peru/trekking-with-toddlers-in-the-andes/