explora Valle Sagrado
Challenging guests in a different way
(Photo above: explora Valle Sagrado’s spa has a swimming pool, while Andean mountains form an impressive backdrop over the actual lodge.)
Jose Rosemberg is inviting people to truly take the high road.
Or rather the high trail.
Rosemberg is general manager of explora Valle Sagrado, found in Andean Peru’s Sacred Valle, and the property is happy to help people reach some lofty Andean settings.
Chilean lodging company explora chose a Peruvian setting for its first property outside Chile, and Rosemberg notes 50-guest unit explora Valle Sagrado guides are on hand to lead guests on morning and afternoon or full-day hikes of up to 18 kilometres every day. Over 20 tour options are offered. Vans are used to carry hikers and cyclists to the disparate departure points for the hikes and pick them up after they complete their journeys. Those vans are also used for those who want to visit the likes of Cusco on day trips.
“We like to challenge people, but in a different way,” says Rosemberg, whose clients will return to an upscale lodge after their treks. “We don’t consider ourselves a hotel company. We consider ourselves an exploration company. Our trips are explorations, not excursions. The hotel is a consequence of what we do outdoors.”
Away from it all
explora has other lodges in Chilean Patagonia, northern Chile’s extraordinarily dry Atacama Desert and on Easter Island. The Peruvian lodge – which has towering Andean mountains as a backdrop – marks explora’s first venture outside Chile.
“One of the pillars of explora is to be in remote areas,” Rosemberg says “Even though the Sacred Valley is not that remote, we’re in the valley in a remote area.”
The Sacred Valley – found between Cusco and Machu Picchu – is in the heartland of what was the Inca Empire. When work began on explora Valle Sagrado, crews found Inca terraces on-site, which forced suspension of the work for three years while government and archeologists worked to ensure they wouldn’t be damaged during construction. Those terraces are now on display for lodge guests.
Rosemberg also notes that the resort spa is found in a centuries-old colonial home that has original frescoes.
Lodge guests – who must book the property for at least three nights – will find a restaurant, bar, gift shop and outdoor pool, as well.
An all-inclusive concept means that meals and drinks and hiking and cycling trips are included in the rates. Spa massages, some “premium” brands of alcohol and gift shop items aren’t included.
“You’re not reaching into your pocket every five minutes,” Dallyce Macas, explora’s Canadian representative, notes of the all-inclusive concept.
Macas says explora lodges are “not over the top,” but “all very comfortable.”
Rosemberg notes that guest rooms don’t have televisions, and the Internet is only available in some common areas, part of an explora philosophy aimed at getting clients out of guest rooms and into the Great Outdoors.
Rosemberg says the lodge is careful to offer “explorations” that stand out, often creating schedules that deliver guests to sites that may attract tourists at times that see few or no visitors.
Exploring in depth
Those who visit the Sacred Valley can see lifestyles that in some cases have changed little in recent decades, he notes. “We want to show our guests the depth of the destination, not just the highlights.”
Hikes and bike trips better enable people to get a close-up look at the area than van trips do, he says.
Rosemberg says explora Valle Sagrado guests are “generally” active, but some aren’t. The lodge can “adapt” journeys for those who have limited energy, and others can spend time at the spa, while family members or partners are exploring the countryside.
The spa offers the likes of massage, steam bath and sauna options.
“You don’t have to be active,” Rosemberg continues. “You can go to Cusco, while your significant other does more strenuous activities.
“People all think you have to be in top shape [to stay at an explora lodge]. You don’t. You need to have a curiosity about the area.”
Rosemberg says explora may add other lodges, with short-term options looking at other Andean sites, with the lengthy Andes having countless uninhabited sites that would be ideal for explora and its clientele eager to see endless wilderness.
“A lot of people want to get off the beaten track,” Rosemberg states.
More information can be found at explora.com .
A TASTE OF PERU AT EVERY MEAL
Those staying at explora Valle Sagrado will get a chance to experience Peru when they sit down at a restaurant table or stop by the bar for a drink.
“In every menu we have one typical Peruvian dish, and in all the dishes, we have Peruvian ingredients,” states lodge general manager Jose Rosemberg.
Among options are dishes featuring quinona, the grain that’s long been cultivated in the Andes and is famed for its healthy nature.
Rosemberg notes that among beers served is Cusquena, with bottles patterned to recall an Inca complex in Cusco, and the bar has “a lot of options” for those who want to drink pisco, a brandy-like alcohol that’s associated with Peru.