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Most people visit the Sacred Valley in Peru to immerse themselves in what was once the heart of the Incan empire, but few take advantage of the outdoor adventure activities available in the region, like climbing via ferrata (a protected climbing method using fixed steel cables and iron rungs) and ziplining at Natura Vive’s Skylodge Adventure Suites. Although we weren’t able to stay overnight after our climbing and ziplining adventure, Natura Vive does offer an option to dine and sleep in glass capsules fixed to the mountain 400 meters (1,312 feet) above ground, if you’re brave enough. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, don’t forget to add this climbing via ferrata and zipline adventure in the Sacred Valley with Skylodge Adventure Suites to your Peru itinerary.
Pickup and Drop-off
Included in the cost of the activity are roundtrip rides to and from your hotel in Cusco or anywhere along the way in the Sacred Valley. Since we had been hiking through the Sacred Valley prior to meeting up with Skylodge Adventure Suites, we asked to be picked up from the Urubamba bus station instead of from Cusco. Our guide found us quickly at the bus station and made one more stop before arriving at our destination.
Briefing and Safety
Since I had never mountain climbed before – even via ferrata – I was grateful that our guides provided us with a clear and elaborate briefing prior to getting us geared up for the mountains. All the technical gear and safety equipment you’ll need will be provided by Natura Vive, and their experienced guides will help you get suited up, so even complete beginners like myself are able to enjoy this adventure.
What to Pack
You’ll want to bring a backpack with a raincoat, water, and snacks if you get hungry easily. You’ll also want to wear long pants with sneakers or hiking boots (definitely no flip flops as they’ll fly right off, and no sandals as they won’t give you enough support for climbing). If you have a GoPro, this would be the perfect time to use it. Personally, I always wear my Patagonia fanny pack (here’s a similar one from adidas that’s cheaper) while hiking and traveling, so I can easily take my phone out for some photos while climbing.
When you arrive at the site, your guides will give you a brown paper bag with a sandwich, fruit, and mixed nuts that you can either eat before the climb or set aside in your backpack for after you reach the top of the mountain and before you start ziplining back down. I ate my sandwich before we started climbing and was starting to get hungry again by the time we were finished with ziplining.
The via ferrata and zipline tour consists of climbing 400 meters (1,312 feet) up a mountain and taking six ziplines ranging from 150 meters (492 feet) to 700 meters (2,297 feet) long back to your starting point at the bottom of the mountain.
For the first few steps, we used a removable ladder that felt quite shaky, but the guides held it down for us and helped us up to the ladder rungs. Once we got to the iron rungs, the climbing seemed pretty straightforward… for a while, at least.
After climbing a little higher, we reached an area without any rungs. We had to use the actual mountain as our hand grip and step, and that’s when I started to feel like a real mountain climber. The guides were scattered throughout the group to help out with any strategic holds, especially for the shorter people like me who didn’t have as easy of a reach in some spots. The guide who stuck with us most of the way, Lucio, was excellent company. Not only did he help us with our hand and foot placements, he also gave us a mini history lesson on the Incans and the Sacred Valley and answered all of our questions about the area and about Peru in general.
If you’re afraid of heights, you might not want to spend too much time looking down or around. If you feel comfortable with heights, however, make sure to take in the views around you as they are simply breathtaking.
A little more than an hour later, we reached the top of the mountain and took a little snack break before starting the zipline portion of our tour. While the climb was challenging in certain places, we were given full reign to rest and drink some water as often as we needed, so there was no question that we would be able to make it to the top.
Once we were fully rested from the climb, we set off on the next portion of our adventure: ziplining. We were first given thick gloves to wear over our climbing gloves so that our hands would stay safe against the metal zipline cables. Then, while still attached to the steel cable, we hiked across and down the mountain for about 10 minutes before reaching our first zipline. Each subsequent zipline would require a bit of hiking in between as well.
Thankfully, the first zipline was a shorter one, which gave us an opportunity to get a good feel for the zipline before cruising down the longer ones. The next zipline was the longest and required two people to go at once so that there would be enough weight to propel the individuals all the way across. In total, our zipline adventure consisted of six ziplines, with the final one returning us directly to our starting spot.
Luckily, we were able to take our own photos, but if you’re traveling solo, there is a professional photographer on site to take photos of you for 100 soles. Just make sure to notify a guide and purchase the photo package before leaving for the mountains, so the photographer is ready to go when you depart.
If anything, our climbing via ferrata and zipline adventure in the Sacred Valley with Skylodge Adventure Suites piqued my interest in climbing rather than quelled any thirst for adventure I was experiencing. Next time I’m back in Cusco, I’ll be sure to pay Natura Vive another visit and make sure I get to experience a night in a transparent capsule on the side of a mountain at the Skylodge Adventure Suites.
Looking for more fun hikes to do in Peru and beyond? Then you might want to check out these posts:
- The Best Alternative Trek to Machu Picchu
- Exploring Peru’s Sacred Valley Without a Guide
- Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Torres del Paine W Trek
- Guide to Hiking Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén
- What to Expect on Your 7 Day Kilimanjaro Trek
Skylodge Adventure Suites (Natura Vive)
Phone: (51) 084-201253 OR (51) 951373240
Cost: 275 soles (~$82 USD)
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A big thank you to Natura Vive for making our trip possible. As always, all opinions are 100% our own.
This looks incredible! I’m adding it to my bucketlist for sure. I love the photos as well! Check out my blog and let me know if you have any travel stories you’d like to share to get your blog featured!
Oooh Diana this sounds epic! You ladies find the best mini adventures!!
I would LOVE the zip-lining, but it’s even more exciting that you got to climb up so earn your reward zooming down looking at the views! The walk between the zip lines must have been fantastic too so you could really see the area.
How high up was all this? Did you have to worry about altitude sickness, or was it all pretty low?
Totally! The ziplining felt even more satisfying knowing we had sort of worked for it.
The altitude at the top is around 12,000 feet, which is just slightly higher than in Cusco. I didn’t notice anyone struggling with the altitude, but if you’re worried, I would recommend spending a couple of nights in Cusco first to let your body acclimate to the altitude before you put your body through crazy adventures at altitude!
This is crazy, I had never even heard of it! My husband is a bit of an adrenaline junky, so we inevitable end up doing things like this on our adventures. I will definitely jot this down for when we return to Peru!
It sounds like your husband would love this! I hope you guys make it soon and get a chance to stay overnight in their sky lodge suites as well!
Wow! What an adventure! Thanks for acknowledging that things are a little different for “petite” travelers – I can’t count how many times I’ve been a bit slower to hike up the mountain or to carry my scuba gear back from the boat, and I’ve had to remind some huge man that I’m half his weight and three quarters of his height! It’s awesome that your guides were mindful of this and ready to support you!
For sure! I’m 5’2″ and a lot of the guides were actually closer to my height than to even my sister, who’s 5’7″, so they already knew all the good holding and stepping spots just from personal experience! The guides were super patient too and let everyone go at whatever pace they felt most comfortable going at. Having helpful and kind guides makes all the difference!
Looks kind of scary, but those steps I’m sure made it better! I’d love to try this one day.
Wow what an incredible adventure this would be. I am definitely going to add it to my bucket list! This is such an awesome post – so informative and the photographs are also amazing! Thanks for such a great guide.
I’ve never heard of this activity before- you always hear about the cool things you can do when visiting this region but this is never on the list. It looks like such a cool activity to do!
This looks so cool and adventurous! I didnt know this existed here or I would have tried it myself! Love that you can just zipline back down again haha
Looks like quite the adventure! Definitely not something I would have thought about doing in Peru, especially with Cusco and Macchu Pichu so close by! But it looks like a lot of fun. 🙂
An adventure to be sure! I have not heard of the possibility to go ziplining here but what a good idea. I am not quite sure if I would pay any attention to the interesting tidbits the guide is giving as I would surely be too busy hyperventilating because of my fear of heights. YOu and your sister sure looks like you are having fun and that’s what counts.
What an incredible adventure! I would love to do this, but not sure I am brave enough LOL You’re pictures really told the story. I think the ziplining looked really fun! Thanks for the great guide 🙂
A climbing via farrata session would be so up my alley as I used to do rock climbing. I have climbed many parts of Europe but not yet done a via farrata. I have a couple of places in Italy and Oman on my bucketlist but it looks like I may have to add this to my list as well. I love that it ends with a cool zip line too.
You are so brave! The climbing and zip lining sound like an amazing adventure. I would love to travel to Peru one day and experience this for myself!
I love living vicariously through your posts lol! I’m a terrible adventure traveler, but I do enjoy reading experiences like these. I’ve read about those glass cabins in Peru, and immediately had sweaty palms! Natura Vive sounds like a great company to go with for others thinking of doing the same trip.
What a great additional activity to enjoy the Sacred Valley, you are right that, like most, we visited for the Incan cultural historical sites. The climbing and ziplining experience looks hardcore fun, though one for those who have a head for heights – I’m too scared. Great views of the river though!
First of all, I thought this is the rock climbing terrain close to Dubai.
Getting picked up and dropped at the hotel is just awesome!
To be walking on a ledge like that is super thrilling indeed. You’re right, its not really suitable for those who fear heights though.
The price is totally worth it if it includes so many things, including even food!
I didn’t know there was one close to Dubai too – would love to check that one out! And the price is absolutely worth it considering everything you get!
That looks so much fun! I have always wanted to try ziplining and what would be better than combine it to traveling. That climb might make me a little scared though. You were able to snap some great photos while climbing!
This is such a fun and wonderful experience. I love ziplines and I find it very liberating. Thank you for sharing about your great adventure. I enjoyed reading your post.
I’m not that into ziplining, but the via ferrata looks so cool! I have never heard of that before so now I want to start keeping my eye open for that activity when I travel. I did click on the link to see the sky lodge and OMG. I would love love love to spend the night there. Peru is still on our list, so I will have to add this to the itinerary! Saving to pinterest 🙂
Such a lively and detailed account of the adventure. I have never done ziplining before and this is surely something on my wishlist. You managed to take some incredible pictures as well.
My sister and I are heading to Peru and plan to climb and zip line at Skylodge. We watched a video of a couple doing the climb and it made us more nervous about the climb. My sister is athletic and I am not so athletic. We aren’t climbers and it seems like a really long climb so I am starting to rethink the whole thing. Can you tell us more about your experience? Did you feel totally safe? How long did the hile take? You referenced a few sketchy parts….for the most part is it safe and doable?
from a nervous climber,
Thanks for sharing your concerns, as I’m sure many others have the same questions!
I felt safe the entire time, as I was strapped into a rope and a cable, so even if I passed out and let go of everything completely, I would still only drop about a foot or two at most and then get caught by the rope. The sketchy parts I mentioned were parts were there weren’t ladder rungs but rather footholds on the mountain. At 5’2″, some of the reaches were a bit challenging for me, but nothing that couldn’t be done.
My recommendation for you is to let one of the guides know about your concerns before you start the climb and ask him to stay close to you so he can help guide your hand and foot placements along the way. The only climbing I have done in the past is on indoor climbing walls at gyms, and the others in my group have never even done that.
Unless you are extremely out of shape, I think you’ll be fine! You definitely don’t have to be an athlete to do this or have prior climbing experience, and most importantly it is 100% safe.
I would love to hear about your experience if you and your sister end up doing it! Hope this helps 🙂