On our way to Machu Picchu we stayed at the Willka T’ika Garden Guest Resort in the small town of Urubamba, in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Other parts of our journey into Peru can be seen in these posts: Lima, Lake Sandoval, The Sacred Valley, and the Despacho Ceremony.
This stay was set up by our tour company, Aracari. We stayed for five nights, to give us time to acclimate to the high altitude in this area of Peru, much of which is at 10,000 feet and above, the height where altitude sickness can start to occur. The place is a little pricey also, so on our own we probably would not have selected it. Boy, are we glad that Aracari set us up here. The accommodations were great, the food was superb–organic vegetarian fare, made primarily from crops grown in the Willka T’ika gardens– and the flowered grounds were spectacular! Also the staff was most helpful. All of these contributed to a very pleasing stay.
Urubamba (shown as “A” on the map below) is about one hour’s drive away from the main city in these mountains, Cuzco.
Willka T’ika is about four km from Urubamba, on the road to Ollantaytambo. Its entrance is about 100 meters off the main road. It is well marked with signage on the road.
This is the area at the main entrance. To get here, we have already gone through three gates, one into the compound, then two more before we enter into the facility. They are all normally locked, so there is a great sense of security and privacy once inside.
One of the staff carries a bag to our room.
In the Sacred Valley we are surrounded by mountains.
On the way to our room.
Our room was spacious, with a good bed and wonderful light from the grounds.
We did not know what to expect, and were so surprised when we walked around and saw all the flowers. It was, after all, the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere.
This space, overseen by the big eye, is a place where they conduct Ayahuasca rites. Ayahuasca is a local psychedelic, long used by the indigenous peoples guided by spiritual shamans. We did not do this. It can be arranged for you by the staff.
More of the grounds.
These hydrangeas were as big as dinner plates, the largest we have ever seen.
Looking through the garden at one of the rooms.
Breakfast and dinner were included in the arrangements from Aracari. The food is excellent, all vegetarian, made from organic produce that mainly is grown at the resort. While we were here there were several other groups. We would share the table and get to know each other during meals. If you book a stay directly through Willka T’ika, you would also get lunch, and participate in their healing and spiritual programs.
More of the grounds.
Looking through flowers towards one of the two yoga halls. This place is great for yoga retreats.
Inside the hall in the photo above.
Through a vined gateway into one section of the grounds.
This photo does not show it well, but there is a mizmaze here, a labyrinthine spiral walkway through the garden, to be walked as meditation.
Here is a photo from their website of the mizmaze. From the small plants, I think it was shot early in the life of this part of the garden.
Through the grounds, looking at the other yoga hall.
The interior of the yoga hall.
The grounds around the hall.
The tree in the photo below is said to be 1000 years old. It is a native fruit tree,a lucuma tree. Carol Cumes, the woman who built Willka T’ika, said that she bought this land because of this tree.
Fruit falls from the tree each day this time of year. They served the juice from these fruits at one of the breakfasts.
Looking from the lucuma tree to the big yoga hall, shown above.
A large crystal tops this rock.
Another view of it.
An om in the yoga hall.
There are many items of local arts and crafts on the grounds. A member of the staff is the artist who created many of the decorations. This seems to be two spirits, flying.
The library and another yoga room are in this building. We participated in an Earth Ceremony in the library.
Another local image, a bas-relief.
As a genuine treat, owner Carol Cumes gave us a tour of the gardens.
She explained that there are seven “Chakra Gardens” set out on the grounds. Each is planted with the colors appropriate to one of the seven chakras.
Below is a chart of the chakras and associated colors.
Carol explains to us things about the crown chakra garden, with violet flowers.
We are shown the root chakra garden, with its red flowers and plants.
I liked very much the orange garden, the sacral chakra, standing for creativity.
It featured a wonderful fountain they have built.
There is even orange lichen on the rock in this garden.
More views of the grounds around the lucuma tree.
The lucuma tree is the center of the green heart chakra garden, which also features this fire pit. On an earlier evening, we ended a fire ceremony here, drumming and chanting with a great fire in this pit.
Looking again across the garden. It is hard to believe that this is the middle of winter, high in the Andes Mountains.
This yellow garden is for the solar plexus chakra, signifying the sun and the intellect.
There are a number of statues on the grounds from the local and ancient culture. This looks like a bird standing on a jaguar standing on a python.
More garden views.
This last photo is of Livio. He has worked at Willka T’ika since he was just in his teens. He is most helpful, has good English and is a great resource for anything a guest needs. While we were there I had stomach problems, and Carol asked him to arrange medical help. Livio couldn’t reach the emergency service by phone, so he got on his motorcycle and tracked them down. He went with me to the medical clinic and stayed with me until they were sure I was alright. Talk about “above and beyond the call of duty”!
There are also healing facilities, like solar baths. Treatments such as massages, Andean salt baths and crystal bed healing sessions are available. The unique crystal bed was brought in from Brazil.
Willka T’ika also provides expert guides to the local areas and to Machu Picchu. I would strongly suggest that if you are interested in travel to Peru’s Sacred Valley, you contact them and make use of their facilities, helpful staff, and guide services. They also arrange traditional ceremonies, like fire and earth ceremonies done by a shaman who lives high in the Andes, and Ayahuasca rites. We stayed five nights with them and the stay was most pleasant. Had I known about them before we went, maybe we would have planned to use their guides as well. We met one of them, Gabby, and she as excellent.
Tags: touring peru