Photo Credit: Junelle Pierre
Traveler Story: Sleeping In A Pod On The Side Of A Mountain In Peru
Junelle is an accountant and real estate investor based in Central Florida by way of Haiti. Her love for traveling began when she landed a corporate traveling job after college. From there, she developed a strong desire to see the world. Today, she has been to 42 countries and 38 states and hopes to one day visit all 195 established countries.
Within the past couple of years, Junelle realized that she gets a thrill from activities some may deem as dangerous.
“I’m not really sure what triggered the birth of that side of me, but I now live for a spontaneous, heart-pumping adrenaline rush. Most of my adventures were completely random and were not planned prior to booking the trips. And in case you’re wondering, no, my mother knows nothing about these adventures; she’d have a heart attack.”
Junelle has found herself skydiving over The Palms in Dubai, riding a ‘scooter’ 15 feet deep in the ocean in the Dominican Republic, riding a bicycle tied to a rope in the air in El Salvador, paragliding from a mountain in Montenegro, and most recently, sleeping in a metal capsule on the side of a mountain in Peru.
“I visited Peru in July of this year. This country has been a dream of mine for quite some time as my goal is to see all seven World Wonders. I only have three more left and I’m hoping to see two more before the end of the year.”
During their week-long trip to Peru, Junelle and her friend arrived in Lima, then traveled to a desert oasis town called Huacachina. They then made the four-hour drive back to Lima and flew to Cusco.
“From there, we stopped through the city of Ollantaytambo on our train ride to Machu Picchu, stayed at a beautiful luxury resort in The Sacred Valley, explored the city of Soraypampa on our way to Humantay Lagoon, and got a quick view of the city of Aguas Calientes while arriving to Machu Picchu.”
Janelle also stayed at Skylodge Adventure Suites in Ollantaytambo. There, she slept in a transparent capsule hanging from the top of a mountain in the Sacred Valley.
“I saw an Instagram post about it and thought that it would be a unique experience. I’m a bit of a hotel snob and typically stick to your regular chain hotels such as Hilton or Marriott. However, in the past few years, I’ve learned that your accommodations can be a unique experience as well. So now I search for lodging that’s a bit different from the norm, even if I only stay there for just one night.”
At the time that Junelle and her friend booked the pod, she had not done much research on it. She was busy touring Europe and didn’t think much of it. She did not actually thoroughly research it until well after they had paid their non-refundable 50 percent deposit.
“Needless to say I did get a little anxious and nervous after I realized what it would take to get up to the pod, especially since we had the highest one. Overall, it was an amazing and beautiful experience. Sleeping in the pod and gazing at the stars and the view from the top was simply breathtaking.”
“On the day of check-in, we were picked up in Cusco by employees of the pod. They drove us 1.5 hours through some cities and mountains to the base of the pod. From there, we were given a safety briefing and told we could start the hike up to use the hot tub prior to dinner. One of the employees led the way and I must say I was extremely nervous as I have never been on a vertical hike before where you have to keep attaching and detaching the safety ties as you walk up. The jacuzzi was only a 5-10 minute walk up and the water felt amazing as it was a bit cold in Peru since July is winter for them. The views from there were amazing. You could see the cars driving below and the huge range of mountains right across from the jacuzzi and pod.”
“We then went back down to the dinner tent and had a three-course meal and wine. By this time, it was pitch black, freezing cold, and we had to climb up about 30 minutes to get to the highest pod. I was terrified, but one of the employees led the way and we made our way up there slow and steady.”
Once Junelle reached her pod, she found a door at the top and stairs she had to climb down to enter the pod from the top. Inside the pod, there was no heat and no hot water. It was just a metal capsule with a queen bed and two twin beds. There was a bathroom, which contained a fully-functioning toilet and a sink with running water. However, there was no shower. The showers were located at the bottom near the jacuzzis.
“They provided us with two pitchers of cold and hot water for tea. Although there wasn’t any heat, there were plenty of blankets to keep us warm. We arrived at the pod so late that once we got there we just went straight to sleep. We were also extremely exhausted from flying into Cusco from Lima that day as well. I recommend bringing a good book or a journal or some games as there is no television in the pod. The next morning, the climb down was also scary, however, I’m not really afraid of heights so I was able to manage. My only complaint was that it was freezing cold. The region only has two seasons; wet and dry. Unfortunately, the dry months are the winter months.”
At the bottom of the mountain, there were three large tents–the dining room, one which holds guest’s luggage, and one for the employees to sleep in. Junelle enjoyed a three-course dinner in the evening and breakfast in the morning, which was made fresh by a chef onsite. For dinner, they were served pumpkin soup, salad, chicken cordon bleu, and dessert. Bread, tea, fresh juice, and wine were also offered.
“For breakfast, we had fresh fruit, eggs, yogurt, tea, and juice. I found the food to be a bit bland, however, I cannot praise the staff enough for their wonderful hospitality. Everyone there had impeccable service and was extremely kind and welcoming. It felt like you were getting that true Southern hospitality at your friend’s grandma’s house, which is ironic since we were in a tent at the bottom of a mountain.”
True hikers staying at the unique lodging accommodation can also opt for another set of pods that require an hour and a half climb up and a zipline down. The climb is a bit more strenuous and more like rock climbing.
During the rest of her time in Peru, Junelle enjoyed a variety of different activities. She hiked up to Humantay Lagoon, a beautiful lake surrounded by a snow-capped mountain. She went dune buggying in Huacachina, a small town surrounded by tall sand dunes. Junelle also attempted to hike Rainbow Mountain, however, the altitude sickness was difficult to manage.
“Despite the altitude sickness, the highlight of our trip was taking a luxury train ride to Macchu Picchu and witnessing the beautiful lost city of the Incas. It is definitely a site to behold and experience. There was something so magical about that place. I recommend giving yourself a full day at Macchu Picchu to fully experience and learn about their sacred history. And finally, the most important thing to keep in mind when visiting Peru is that it sits at a high altitude so breathing can be difficult, especially when doing strenuous activities. It’s good to go slowly and pace yourself and come prepared with medication for altitude sickness. They also sell medications and teas everywhere in Cusco.”
You can follow Junelle’s adventures at @msjazzee.