Fresh off the retreat with horseback riding, whitewater rafting, tons of yoga, and 52 miles of hiking under our belt we were feeling all sorts of emotions. STOKED, full of love, relieved, and exhausted (very) just to name a few. Although we were exhausted, us Roaming Yogis ain't got no time for that! So, off we went back to the Sacred Valley to Natura Vive's Skylodge Adventure Suites.
While we had done quite a bit of research about this bucket list hotel, we definitely didn't completely realize what we had gotten ourselves into: a 1,300 foot, adrenaline pumping, climbing adventure.
We got picked up from our cute little B&B in Cusco by our guides, Americo and Lucio, along with 2 couples (romantic, I know). After the 90 minute drive back out to the Sacred Valley we finally got to the base of the mountain that the Skylodge is built on. They strapped us into our climbing gear and headlamps, gave us our safety talk, and off we went to scale the 1,300 feet up to our pods.
The climb up consisted of metal rungs that are hammered into the side of the mountain, a bit of rock climbing, and a SUPER scary little bridge. It took us a little over an hour and a half to climb up and it would be a lie to say there weren't a few moments of sheer terror. LOL. But we made it and it was so worth it.
Once we got up there, we were brought to the main pod that is used for dining. Here we found out that our guides are not only amazing at getting inexperienced climbers up there safely, but they are amazing cooks too. They whipped us up a beauuuutiful 3 course dinner. Gorgeous and delicious and completely wonderful. To top it off, we got much needed mini bottles of wine too.
After dinner they brought us to our pod. Situated on the side of this mountain, these pods are made of a metal structure and basically what seemed like plexi glass. Pretty insane. Once there, we drank wine, played blackjack, and looked at the stars from our bed.
I'm not gonna lie, it was a bit freaky, but I woke up in the middle of the night to look straight out of the pod next to me and see the big beautiful moon surrounded by a million sparkling stars. I want to cry just thinking about it. It was SO magical.
We woke up the next morning to yet another dreamy meal by our talented guides and then we got ready to zip line down. The views from the zip lines were insane and the company was a great time. We were able to see the whole valley. The valley that we had stayed in for 6 days, that we had been horseback riding and whitewater rafting through. The place where we had magical and transformational experiences with our retreaters. To get to see all that from above was really special.
After we finished zip lining it was back off to Cusco we went. We went back to stay at Tecte and began our adventures through the bustling city. First stop: Margaritas. Yes we know Peru isn't known for its Margaritas, but we couldn't help ourselves.
We found this great little restaurant called Pachamama where we ate bomb ceviche and drank some of the best margaritas either of us has ever had. After dinner we decided to hunt down a place to get pedicures for our beat up feet. It was a pretty embarrassing to have anyone touch our feet after the amount of hiking that had been done, but nonetheless it was very necessary.
We took the next day to chill out and explore Cusco. We started our day off with empanadas and gourmet coffees at the cutest little bakery called La Valeriana. Then, we found ourselves massages and worked our way to the Yoga Room for a 90 minute Vinyasa Restore class.
The Yoga Room was a dream to walk into. A tiny studio in the heart of the San Blas neighborhood, this studio felt like a little piece of home. They sell gorgeous malas made by the American owner and even have a coffee shop with delicious homemade organic treats like the Raw Cacao Almond Butter Truffle that we sampled.
The class was full with about 10 students. We got to breathe, chant, flow, and zen out to amazing playlist and sequence. The teacher was also an American who had been living in Peru for a few months. Her style was exactly what we needed and we left feeling on cloud 9. We followed yoga with dinner at a more American type of restaurant and I got to eat my first salad in 2 weeks (hallelujah!!).
The next morning we were off on the last of our big adventures: Rainbow Mountain. We were picked up at the ungodly time of 3:45am and set off on our way. We got to sleep for a good amount of the 3 hour drive out to the hike but my favorite part was waking up and looking out the window to different scenery than I had seen the whole time. The mountains weren't just green, they had a bunch of different shades of green. Each one as vibrant as the last. It was insane and of course I cried because it was so beautiful and us Roaming Yogis don't mind shedding a few happy tears.
By the time we got to the starting point of our hike to Rainbow Mountain we were up to 14,500 feet which was just about as high as the highest point we had gone on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. You could feel it in your lungs the second we started walking. Our bodies were exhausted from all the previous adventures and this hike was basically straight up for 4 miles, so naturally we bumped some hip hop tunes and chomped down on some coca leaves to pump us up.
This hike was worth every moment of the physical challenge. As you go along you are surrounded by those same vibrant greens. Every now and again another color such as turquoise, gold, or maroon would pop up and be threaded in with all of the green. By the time we got to the peak of Rainbow Mountain at 17,000 feet, it was as if all of the colors had finally come together into one of Pachamama's biggest masterpieces.
The colors of this spectacular mountain are formed from different minerals and the way they are painted across this one set of mountains is nothing short of a natural miracle. It was truly breathtaking. And cold, very cold. Once at the peak, you are instructed to stay up no longer than 15 minutes because of the altitude and the temperature.
We hung out until our hands went numb and then made our way back down, stopping to drink some hot coca tea and buy some chocolate from a Peruvian man. Once we got back down, we headed back to Cusco where we went back to Pachamama for round 2 of their delicious margaritas.
The next day was our last day in Peru and we had lots of gift buying and wandering to do. But first: yoga. Back to the Yoga Room we went for a class with the Owner, Kat. Once again our yoga teacher minds were blown and we left wishing that we could take the Yoga Room back home with us.
From there we spent the day frolicking around the San Blas neighborhood, shopping, and trying all the local food and beverages we could get our hands on. We ate dinner at Fallen Angel, a more modern restaurant with lots of sculptures and clubby vibes. Much different from anywhere else we had been on the trip but we loved it. After that we went out and danced the night away. The perfect ending to a perfect trip.
The 2.5 weeks we spent in Peru were unbelievable. There are literally no words to describe the magic and the beauty of the places we got to go and the people we got to meet. We came back feeling changed in the best ways possible: badass and strong, with wide open hearts, ready for everything and anything.
Thank you Peru for your magic, til next time. :)