We had a clear priority in our last inspection trip in Cusco and despite it being the beginning of the rainy season (the end of November) we wanted to test the glamping experience in the secluded community of Misminay in the Sacred Valley.
An increasing number of travelers asked us for different types of experiences while visiting Cusco, many of them are looking for a closer interaction with the local communities. The relatively unknown Misminay community, with only 300 families and within a few minutes' drive from Moray and Maras, seemed to be the perfect match for such travelers.
So, Cynthia and I packed light and headed straight to Misminay after landing in Cusco where we met with Giuliana, the manager of our office in Cusco. We were warmly welcomed by Maria and Mario, the hosting couple, who together with a young couple from Arequipa fine-tuned a relatively new product in the Sacred Valley- comfortable tents in front of their doorstep. To keep the experience an intimate one they only offer a maximum of 3 tents each with a capacity for double occupancy.
Despite the rain forecast, Pachamama (Mother Earth) was good to us. Just after our arrival, it cleared up in time for us to start our walk to the lookout point and see Moray terraces from above. The walk from Maria and Mario’s house to the lookout point took one hour at a slow and steady pace.
Mario showed us different species of trees and flora along the way. In Misminay, many plants are still used as alternative medicines, organic shampoos or dyes for textiles.
Standing at the lookout point before sunset was a memorable experience, watching the Andes Mountain range in front of us and beneath the terraces of Moray without a single visitor at that time. The Chicon snow-capped peak remained covered by the clouds but we felt simply blessed by Pachamama (Mother Earth) that she allowed us to enjoy Moray surrounded only by nature and our two hosts.
After a Quintu session (with coca leaves) to thank Pachamama for this special moment, we followed the same trail back to our tent.
As we got back to Misminay Maria was already waiting with some snacks (popcorn and ‘tequenos’ or wonton wrappers) that she served with ‘muña’ tea. The dinner was served in the same dining room that Mario and Maria had built for their guests.
We shared the table with two other guests staying in an adjacent tent. We had a nice chat with them and we felt at peace spending the night without checking our phones.
For starters we got served a warm quinoa soup, followed by a nicely presented chicken wrap with rice. The dessert was a pudding made with a local fruit, a ‘sacha’ tomato.
Just as we entered our tent it started to rain. I guess you are asking yourself if we got wet? Well, the answer is no, the tents are fully waterproofed. There was enough space for our two mattresses, our luggage, a bedside table and I was positively surprised that I could even stand in our tent.
After our walk and dinner, we fell in our comfy beds with duvets. Maria gave us each a hot-water bottle for our beds. This, in addition to the space heater, kept us warm in the night. Despite this fact, we would still recommend bringing thermal pajamas and a flashlight with you for your walk to the toilet in the middle of the night.
Roosters and donkeys were our natural alarm clock the next morning as we woke up at 05:00. There is one bathroom with shower and hot water for the guests, it’s located just 10 meters from the tent. The hairdryer that we saw in the bathroom encouraged us to take a shower in the morning. Breakfast was waiting for us in the dining room where we had a healthy fruit salad, a beverage made with apple and quinoa, banana pancakes and some tea.
Mario told us that kids have a primary and secondary school in the community. Water and electricity have also been available since 2013.
Fully energized, we head to the next homestay in Misminay that we wanted to inspect. Señora Flora was waiting for us to show us around. She has two rooms on the second level of her house, both quite spacious and with shared bathrooms on the first level. Similarly to Maria and Mario's house, guests staying here have wonderful views of the Chicon snow-capped mountain.
What if you don't have enough time for glamping in the Sacred Valley? Well, there is still to visit the community only for the day. Señora Flora was about to welcome one group of Swiss agents we invited on a familiarization trip to Peru. We witness the welcome to the community. Men and women from the community were waiting for the group and joined them along the trail to Senora Flora’s home as they sang and played some local music.
Besides a weaving demonstration, they were also shown how to make ‘Uchucuta’ - a typical sauce made with ‘batan’ (a large stone for grinding and milling commonly used in southern South America). Our Swiss friends got the opportunity to mix Peruvian huacatay and other wild herbs, onion, garlic, a bit of chili, cheese, oil and salt.
The Uchucuta prepared by the ladies in Misminay was the best I have ever tasted, served with freshly boiled potatoes, it tasted like heaven.
It was time to say goodbye to the community and leave for Cusco (with nice handmade souvenirs we bought from the community as the donkey below). But I will definitely go back again next time with my boy.