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The view from our Andean Lodges 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 sunset 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. Staying at the Andean Lodges was a great way to go about trekking Peru.
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Our trekking Peru experience is documented in our blog post, Peruvian Lodge to Lodge Trek with Kid. 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 embarked on this short high Andean trek to see how the comfort of a lodge would change the experience of trekking with kids. Never having ever stayed in a lodge, 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! It had 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 maximize the use of the solar heated hot water.
This is truly an exclusive experience as there is a capacity for only 16 guests at a time. 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, we were warmed by the glow of the fire and the company of contented trekkers. We were then 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 it 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 authorized the Andean Lodges to build these remote Eco-lodges. Another misconception is that these lands are remote and therefore uninhabited. However, 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!!!
To answer the question posed, was Andean Lodges worthwhile?
Our answer would be a resounding yes! Staying in the Lodge made it possible. At 4500m it was freezing at night! Warm beds and luxury meant we were sufficiently within our comfort zone to take this on. It was a wonderful experience and the Andean Lodges are highly recommended.
More Information About the Andean Lodges, Peruvian Lodge To Lodge Experience?
Please take a look at our related post 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.
We’ve traveled with Lonely Planet for over 20 years! For unbiased and detailed advice, they are our trusted guide book. Even in this digital age, you can’t go past them for maps and info on the go. Take a Look.
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