Hosted by Sol y Luna; all opinions are my own.
Urubamba, Sacred Valley, Peru
I remember the moment that I found Hotel Sol y Luna. This beautiful Relais & Chateaux property located in the heart of Sacred Valley, Peru nestled between vast mountains was immediately calling my name.
As I began to research more about Hotel Sol y Luna‘s location, I was excited to see that this gem of a hotel was only a twenty minute taxi ride to the Ollantaymbo train station, the gateway to Machu Picchu Town. While my husband Logan is more of the adventurous, outdoorsy-type and I could relax in a beautiful resort for a week, Sol y Luna offered the perfect combination of luxurious relaxation and easy access to adventure.
It’s hard to wrap our brains around everything that we loved about Hotel Sol y Luna, so we’re going to break it all down in categories:
Please hear me correctly: we had the best food that we’ve ever had in our lives at Sol y Luna. Their two restaurants, Killa Wasi and Wayra, offered guests incredible, unique options for every single meal. All guests receive a generous breakfast assortment of handmade pastries, juices (hello strawberry-prickly pear juice!) and made-to-order hot items included with their stay. I looked forward to breakfast every single morning!
We enjoyed all of our lunches on-site, but one of the most special experiences was the three-course Sacred Valley Wayra lunch which included a Paso horse show. We nibbled on so many delicious options but some of our favorites were the quinoa salad, pesto trout and ended with my favorite dessert of the week: a caramelized-chocolate dipped gooseberry! This lunch featured a Paso horse show highlighting four resident horses and some Peruvian dancers. The show put smiles on our faces and gave us more of an insight into the local, Peruvian culture.
As if we were not stuffed enough, we headed to dinner every night anxious to try something new and unique. While every single meal exceeded expectations, we had the best experience of the trip at the 5-course wine tasting dinner at the wine cellar at Wayra. Walter, the head waiter and sommelier, was extremely knowledgable and had us try unique wines that I had never heard of! My absolute favorite was a Peruvian rosé and our favorite food of the night were these dreamy, specialty mozzarella sticks. We don’t really understand how a chef can make food that’s so fresh and good!
While every meal was insanely delicious, some of our favorite menu items were: quinoa pumpkin pancakes, croissants with homemade jam, stuffed chili peppers, pumpkin lasagna and duck.
We chose the Deluxe casita with a fireplace, which was such a cozy way to fall asleep with temperatures dipping to the thirties in the evenings. The casitas were spacious, offering several common areas for reading a book, relaxing on the outdoor patio or doing some computer work. The bathrooms were spacious and welcoming and the soaking bathtub was a treat.
The arched ceilings and chandeliers were extremely inviting and local, eccentric flair filled every room. The bright Peruvian colors of the inside of the casita made our hearts happy.
Every single person that we met at Sol y Luna was charming and sweet, which always made us feel so welcome! We began to know the waiters by name and had many sweet conversations with members of the hotel’s management team. All of the staff worked hard and remembering our names and were extremely friendly. Every evening we would call to ask for extra water in our room and someone would come with a smile to drop-off what we needed. We were super impressed how the property was maintained and the gardens on-site were so welcoming.
Sol y Luna School
I had fallen in love with Hotel Sol y Luna just by researching it online but then I fell even harder as I learned that the hotel formed a school for the local community in this small, Peruvian town. Petit, Hotel Sol y Luna‘s owner and her family, formed Sol y Luna Association, a school that provides ages preschool-late teen with a wonderful education, a warm meal, and for some, permanent housing.
We had the pleasure of touring the school and were blown away by the amount of love that their staff showed to these children. All of these children came from tough backgrounds, yet you can see that they felt loved and adored by being involved with this school. We were touched to see that a hotel could make such a difference in a community.
We knew that we needed a tour guide to access Machu Picchu (it is required for all visitors) and so we contacted Alpaca Expeditions who provided us with a wonderful guide. We learned so much about the history of this amazing structure along with more about Quechua culture, a local tribe to Peru who actually worship the mountains and Mother Nature.
To get to Machu Picchu from Hotel Sol y Luna, you must take a twenty minute taxi ride to Ollantaytambo train station. From Ollantaytambo, you purchase train tickets (we chose Peru Rail) for an hour-and-a-half scenic train ride in the mountains to Machu Picchu. You then will arrive into unique Machu Picchu Town (formerly known as Aquas Calientes) which is a bustling town filled with tourists, backpackers and hikers galore. Peruvian culture is so alive in Machu Picchu Town and it is must-see experience on your way into famous Machu Picchu. Tickets for these ruins should be purchased in advance.
We were needing a hotel for one night and we discovered the beautiful and convenient Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. A hotel representative met us as we deboarded Peru Rail and entered Machu Picchu Town. Immediately upon arrival at the hotel, we were welcomed with a refreshing tea beverage and we were immediately swooned by the views that our patio offered overlooking the mountains.
We enjoyed a sugar cane cocktail tasting with local Peruvian liquor and Sumaq‘s bartender was highly skilled and entertaining! We also chose to dine in their restaurant that evening, and we enjoyed a several course meal that was exactly what we needed before a long hike to Machu Picchu.
The next morning, we met our tour guide from Alpaca Expeditions in the Sumaq lobby. This guide journeyed with us on the twenty-five minute bus ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu and we were filled with excitement! We pre-purchased tickets to Machu Picchu‘s Citadel tour, a four-hour entrance into the main points of the famous site. Our guide took us on a short one-hour hike on a nearby mountain to avoid the crowds and to get a jaw-dropping view of Machu Picchu.
We spent the next several hours walking the Inca Trail, learning about the Quechua people who reside in Peru and learning historical facts about Machu Picchu. There’s a chance that we took over fifty pictures and every single one of them is a gem to us! It is definitely a bucket list experience!
We were in awe of the beauty of the mountains and our guide said it best: Machu Picchu isn’t just this one mountain range. Machu Picchu is the famous range and all of its surroundings: the neighboring mountains, the clouds, the ruins, the on-site llamas and the beautiful sky surrounding it. It felt like a dream to walk through the Citadel tour of Machu Picchu and we pinched ourselves the whole way through.
And Do Good:
Although Sol y Luna is a beautiful hotel in one of the most desirable places in the world, the work that it is doing for the community is even more beautiful. To read more about the good works that Sol y Luna is doing for education in Peru, read here.
1- Do the five-course wine tasting at Sol y Luna! It was so much fun not knowing what we would be eating next and every single thing crafted out of this hotel’s kitchen is dynamite! We highly recommend this experience.
2 – Pack for warm days and cool nights; after much research, I think we packed just right: tank tops, bathing suits and short sleeves for day, sweaters and a rain jacket for night. Be sure to consider a Deluxe Casita at Sol y Luna as having the fireplace lit was one of the best parts of the experience.
3 – Consider choosing Inca Rail to get to Machu Picchu; if you’re interested in dining or enjoying beverages on the train ride to Machu Picchu, I’d splurge and purchase tickets for one of the other two railroad companies. While Peru Rail was completely fine and a good bargain, it provided very little snack and drink options.
4 – Be sure to purchase a Christmas tree ornament sold in the lobby of Hotel Sol y Luna. The proceeds of these purchases will go directly back to Sol y Luna Association and each ornament has a picture of a current student of the school there (we chose Marina’s, hi Marina!)
For four overnights at Sol y Luna in high season (our summer, their winter), I’d plan on spending around $3,000 for losing in a Deluxe Casita including meals. While the casitas are definitely high-end, there are other options available that will save you some money.
For airfare, we would have spent around $1,500 if we hadn’t used travel points. Avianca Airlines was a wonderful experience for us both legs of the trip, and I highly recommend them. We flew from JAX – Miami – Bogota – CUZ (Cusco) there and CUZ – Lima – Miami – JAX home.
$20 for taxi to Ollantaytambo station from Sol y Luna
$300 for two train tickets on Peru Rail (or another option would be a bit higher)
$50 for two bus tickets from Machu Picchu town to Machu Picchu
$90 for two tickets for Machu Picchu Citadel entry on their website
$50 for a guide for Machu Picchu
Totaling around $500 for two to visit Machu Picchu
An overnight at Sumaq in high season including meals would cost around $400 total for two.
Thank you, Gabriel, Petit, Monica and staff at Hotel Sol y Luna for an unforgettable experience sponsoring the majority of our hotel stays. You will forever be the key hotel that launched Go and Do Good™ hotels and we are honored to give you all a complimentary listing in our directory. So many blessings to each of you and Sol y Luna Association‘s staff and students.
To Alpaca Expeditions, thank you kindly for providing a sweet and energetic guide for our Machu Picchu tour. We thoroughly enjoyed it and wish we had even more time in Peru to experience the other tours that you offer like Rainbow Mountain and Moray/Maras.