Staying in the Sacred Valley

One of the things I look forward to most about a trip is the places we’ll stay while we’re gone. Over the last several years, we’ve been spoiled by some amazing places: an old sea captain’s house in Greece, an amazing Hemingway-style tent on the savannah in Kenya, and over-the-water bungalows in Bora Bora. Our travel agent has really nailed some great spots for us. So, on this trip, I trusted her so much that I didn’t even look up our hotels in Peru before we left. And what a treat that I didn’t, because our first stop was such an amazing surprise.

After three hours of sleep the night before, we headed to our first hotel in the Sacred Valley just eager for any kind of bed. Our guide said he hoped to get us there early so we could see the peacocks and enjoy the hotel grounds. That sounded well and good, but our priority really was bed. Until we rolled up to the gates.

Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel and Wellness seems to rise out of nowhere. With mountains and scant buildings all around, coming upon the massive gates in a stand of trees is a surprise. And what waits on the other side of the gates is nothing short of amazing.

The hotel is built along the Vilcanota riverbank on the land of an old 17th-century colonial hacienda that still stands and has been converted into guest rooms. The property has been expanded to include several new additions with sleek and contemporary rooms with luxury amenities.

A sweet balcony on the main hacienda.
Yummy welcome treats.


So many passages to explore.
The old chapel that was part of the original hacienda.
View from the bell tower.
A perfect courtyard.


Aranwa could be a destination in and of itself, boasting a spa, pools, restaurants, shops, a museum, a movie theater, and more. The grounds were made for exploring with gardens, courtyards, and the hacienda chapel waiting to be discovered. Despite our short night, Tim and I didn’t waste time and almost immediately started walking the expansive grounds to see everything. We agreed we could easily spend a day just relaxing here and be happy as can be.

We’re so glad we’ll be here two nights to give us more time to explore.

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