Editors' Picks

Sol y Luna

Spiritual haven, soulful ranch, community focus

Jirón Comercio, Urubamba, Peru

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Indagare Adored

At a Glance

For many travelers, a trip to Peru is a nonstop adventure of checking off things from their bucket lists. In Peru’s Sacred Valley, amidst idyllic grounds with lush gardens and views of the surrounding Andes, Sol y Luna is a world unto itself that invites guests to slow down and extend that “pinch me, I’m in Peru,” moment just a little longer. Its 43 spacious casitas, each on its own plot of land, are connected by winding pathways. Their outdoor terraces are where visitors while away the hours: sipping coca tea in the morning; reading or napping in the afternoon; watching the birds that call the gardens home flit about; stargazing after the sun dips below the mountainous horizon. Inside the stucco-and-timber structures, frescoes of cornfields and ravens over the headboards make every casita a whimsical Andean fantasy.

The Standout: The views and natural surroundings that make you never want to leave

Don’t Miss: A visit to the Sol y Luna Association’s school next door; funded entirely by donations, it provides an educational opportunity to children in the Sacred Valley

Indagare Loves

  • The acres of wild gardens that draw hundreds of birds, including the world’s largest hummingbird
  • The Wayra ranch and its namesake restaurant that has picnic tables adjacent to the horse stable
  • The focus on supporting the local community


Sol y Luna, part of the Relais & Chateaux collection, has blossomed into the luxury property the Sacred Valley needs as Peru continues to rise to the top of travel wish lists. For sophisticated travelers who want to acclimatize before the Inca Trail or relax afterward, Sol y Luna is the definitive choice. The lodge, located on the outskirts of the town of Urubamba and encircled by the Andes, is owned by a French woman, Petit, and her Swiss German architect husband, Franz, who fell in love with the region years ago and brought her European art de vivre to the Peruvian countryside. In addition to the 43 private casitas, they also built a ranch, which they named Wayra, Quechuan for “wind,” to honor their Peruvian Paso horses, which are treasured for their smooth four-beat paso llano gait. The sense of community at Sol y Luna permeates the experience, from a Pachamama cookout where guests grill their meal in the earth to paragliding with the staff or donating to the Sol y Luna Foundation – it is difficult leaving this small community without internalizing its impact.

Petit, in recent years through the success of the hotel, has brought her plan for social change to life by building the Sol y Luna Association school, which lies just outside of the hotel’s gates. Children between the ages of four and 17 are educated in safe, brightly painted classrooms, lined with computers and books funded entirely by donations, mostly from hotel guests who are touched by their impactful visit to the school. The foundation also recently opened an orphanage, to offer children from faraway or unsafe backgrounds a sense of family and a safe home to grow and learn. Petit’s genuine commitment to her community extends to the hotel’s staff – she hires locally and then trains and grooms everyone from busboys to managers to be elite hoteliers.

Cross the entry building’s threshold, which is a mosaic-stone pattern of the sun (sol) and moon (luna), and everything feels authentically Peruvian: bright-pink-colonial-colored walls, multicolored tapestries and pillows and Inca crafts and objects. Cobblestoned pathways edged with flowering bushes lead to the cottages. A larger, circular building (the shape of the sun and the full moon, of course) with two stories and a brick-red façade houses their new restaurant Killa Wasi, which is the best in the Valley. Within the mesmerizing purple interiors, extraordinary dishes of Paiche (Amazonian fish) cooked in banana leaf and inventive quinoa falafel are served.

The cottages have terra-cotta roofs, pale yellow stucco walls and brightly colored Peruvian art and textiles. The small outdoor seating area overlooks the 4,000 trees and thousands of fragrant tropical flowers. The 43 casitas, which sit on their own small, private plots of land, are spacious and whimsical with frescos of corn fields and ravens over the headboards. Mahogany leather couches are positioned directly in front of working fireplaces, which can be set aflame at a moment’s notice by the attentive staff.

The ranch-meets-resort has enough activity to hold a traveler’s attention for days, without ever mentioning Machu Picchu. In addition to rafting, hiking, biking, paragliding, kayaking and horseback riding, there is a lovely pool, gym and a spa. Those expecting modern amenities, such as TVs, may not be satisfied as they are only available in certain room categories, but travelers who give into the spirituality and natural beauty of the setting will be enchanted by this extraordinary property.

Who Should Stay

Families, couples and friends looking for cultural immersion, relaxation and the best food in the Sacred Valley.

Written by Indagare

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Indagare employees walking up stiars

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