Travel: Do Not Disturb

PUQIO, Colca Valley

Luxe tents in the valley


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Colca Canyon is the world’s second deepest valley, at 11,150 feet deep. It’s two times deeper than the Grand Canyon, and more accessible than the world’s actual deepest canyon. It’s home to trails and smaller villages, and XXL condors.

Set in the heart of the valley, PUQIO is a luxe base to explore from. From the boutique Andean Travel brand, book here, and everything else – transfers, excursions, meals, great playlists for any occasion and even laundry – will be taken care of. Which means you’re free to focus on the important part: having fun.

The Hotel
A type of safari-style ‘camp’, there are a total of eight ‘rooms’ which are a mixture of standalone tents and casitas. There’s an elegant main lodge, which is where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, with additional tables dotted around outside, including a large picnic-style table with amazing valley views.

The Vibe
This is an intimate, peaceful spot. With only eight rooms, you’ll be on a first name basis with the staff and guests. The team are like a family here, with most of the staff having worked at their other hotel (Titilaka) before, too, which creates a very friendly environment. They’re a special bunch who are chosen to work here.

The Tents
If you’re coming to Puqio, it’s likely for the tent experience. Surrounded by swaying grass and magical canyon views, rivers run under your tent and sunlight streams in. Tents are rustic in name, but luxe in materials. Furniture is antique, linen is soft, and touches like sheepskin slippers and wood burning fires keep things cosy. Rooms vary but some have chaise longues, indoor-outdoor showers and standalone fresh air tubs, as well as decks with camping-style sitting areas. Laundry is included in your fees, with baskets provided (allow for a 24-hour turnaround time), and there are also yoga mats, lanterns, speakers, and thick robes. Staff are contacted by WhatsApp, and curtains are tarps that are rolled up or down. Picture yourself in an episode of MASH, but with elevated furnishings, and you’d be close.

Soft lighting brings it all together, and adds a luxe touch to the authentic setting. Bath products have natural ingredients, like ginseng, vitamin E and green walnut, and eucalyptus is hung (e.g. on the shower and bath heads), which is extremely chic.

All-inclusive may be an off-putting word, but not here. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are included in your room fees, and the kitchen is headed up by a very talented chef who has been with the brand for years. Seasonal meals are centred around the outdoor wood-fired oven, which cooks everything you’ll be served.

Breakfasts start with granola with yogurt, local fruits (‘tuna’, which is prickly pear and another sour fruit from a cactus), juices, bread and local preserves, and potatoes and eggs come straight from the oven.

Lunch and dinners are five courses, which may sound scary but they’re all delicious and surprisingly light. Expect things like steamed artichoke with vinaigrette, mini multi-coloured potatoes with yellow chimichurri, and wood-fired fish. Seriously delicious, and chosen for you, which makes life easy.

For dinner: cornbread in a wrought iron pan, beetroot carpaccio with parmesan, trout with orange, charred cauliflower, and sorbet. Cocktails, wines, and digestifs are included. You can even reach for the drinks tray for Bloody Marys and mimosas in the AM, too.

The excursions. Here it’s all about you, so you can choose from one of their excursions like high altitude hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, condor viewing, geyser, volcano and hot spring visits, or have them customise one for you. Drivers and guides are provided, refreshments are there when you get back to the car, and cold towels are ready when you get back to the lodge.

Anything Else
Do think about what excursion you want to do and plan accordingly. Most people are here to see the condors, and even if you think that’s not your thing, speak to anyone who’s seen one of the large ones and they’ll tell you it’s quite the experience (like a 747 swooping through the valley, passing close, right over your head), so it might be worth considering. Some seasons are better than others for sightings though, so check. And if you need a ride from Titicaca or Arequipa, they can organise transfers with one of their extremely professional, competent drivers.

Recommended time of stay: 3 nights
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Originally published on
22nd February 2024


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