The Sacred Valley of the Incas, near Cusco, Peru, has been carved by the Urubamba River, fed by numerous rivers pouring from adjoining valleys and gorges. The Incas were drawn to the valley by its spectacular geography, climatic qualities and suitability for maize (corn) production. Archaeological remains, including those of the 15th century Inca estate of Machu Picchu, remain one of South America’s premier tourist attractions. The entrepreneurial founders of Natura Vive, based in Cusco, were also drawn to the Sacred Valley, and offer adventures in the mountains—mountain climbing, zip lines and a night among the stars in a skylodge.
The Skylodge Adventure Suites consist of three vertical hanging modules made of aerospace aluminum and transparent, high-resistance polycarbonate composite material. The skylodges, which look like glass Christmas tree ornaments from a distance, are 24 feet long, 8 feet high, 8 feet wide and 1,312 feet from the valley floor. The only way to enter the skylodge is through the roof, after traversing zip lines or the Via Ferrata (mountain climbing on a pre-determined path). Once inside, lodgers find four beds, a dining area and a private bathroom with a dry ecological toilet and sink. Privacy curtains are optional; the only nosy neighbors as high as the skylodges are condors.
The Adventure Suites, called Luna, Silves and Miranda, hold eight guests—four in each skylodge, with services provided by staff in the Luna skylodge. Each lodge has six windows, four ventilation ducts, solar panels that provide power for interior lamps, bedding, dinner on the night of arrival and breakfast on the morning of departure.
Ario Ferri, Natura Vive`s operations manager, is the ultimate adventure guide, with experience as a kayaker, mountain guide, climber and rescue instructor from Rescue 3 International, Fire Science Academy and ECSI (Emergency Care & Safety Institute). He and co-founder/spouse Natalia Rodriguez, general manager and climber, moved to the Sacred Valley to raise a family in a quiet, “magical” environment.