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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Willka T'ika Garden Guest House

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruWillka T'ika is much more than a hotel and retreat center. It is a truly magical place set in the sacred valley of Peru. The accommodations, living spaces and conference rooms are scattered throughout the property amidst incredible gardens. This place is truly a botanist’s dream. Each garden is completely unique with different plant species in a variety of colors. There are seven main gardens, each centered on a separate chakra: moon, sacred sun, sacred earth, sacred water, Lucuma, Spiral and sound. Many beautiful varieties of flowers that attract hummingbirds in great numbers.

 

Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruThe guest rooms are large, bright and well furnished. They are built out of stone and adobe with polished wood floors and headboards displaying the Incan sacred cross design. There are plenty of windows to view the beautiful gardens and mountains beyond. In the lovely common room there is a two story high adobe fireplace. Tea is served here all day and there are plates of fresh herbs from the garden to make your healing brews with.

 

The staff are extremely gracious and a large part of the hotel’s success. Visitors are greeted with warm smiles and a genuine desire to help. Something I noticed was that the management treated the staff with a lot of respect. One day I walked through the dining room and heard the staff having an English lesson and I was impressed that this was going on during work hours.

 

Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruSomething very unique about this getaway is that there are no keys at Willka T'ika and nothing has ever been stolen. You can request a key to your door if you like, but it is really unnecessary. You feel safe and are in a wonderful place for healing.

 


 

Treatments such as massages, Andean salt baths and crystal bed healing sessions are available. The unique crystal bed was brought in from Brazil. I experienced a crystal bed healing session on my visit. Lights shine through crystals aimed at your chakras. Energy pulsed through my whole body while the crystals were illuminated and I felt very calm afterwards. The only issue I had with the treatment was that the crystals looked like they were meant to be moved to shine down directly on the chakras, but they weren't moved when either myself or my boyfriend went in (and we’re different sizes).

 

The food was incredibly healthy, tasty and lovingly prepared vegetarian food. It is all “safe” food – which is tough to come by in Peru. The tap water has a lot of bacteria and can't be used for washing fresh vegetables. Salads are usually off limits if you want to avoid getting sick, but here they use boiled water to wash their home-grown organic lettuce. Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruAll of the food is made from scratch, including homemade tofu for stir fry and fresh ricotta cheese for lasagna. Everything is nicely presented in four course dinners and breakfast buffets that are included in the room cost. Dinner is served in a communal style and allows for interesting conversations with neighboring diners.

 

 

 

Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruThere are many rooms where visitors can spend their time: a library, a music room, two yoga studios, a main gathering hall as well as the numerous gardens. It’s tempting to just stay here and relax, but you’ll want to be sure to explore the sacred valley.

 

Willka T’ika is located in Urumbamba between two major stops on any tour of the sacred valley. Be sure to take the short jaunt (30 minutes) down to Ollaytaytambo to the Incan ruins and the one hour ride to Pisac where you'll find more Incan ruins and an unbeatable crafts market. You’re going to want to go to Machu Picchu and can take a day trip from Ollaytaytambo if you get up very early in the morning. If you want to spend more time at Machu Picchu you can take a later train from Ollaytaytambo to Aguas Calientes and stay the night. The following day you can either hike or take the bus up the hill to be at Machu Picchu at sunrise.

 


 

Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruIndependent travelers are welcome at Willka T'ika as long as the yoga groups don't fill all the rooms. There are also special events such as the Special Natural Healing Conference (June 27th –July 6th) organized by Willka T'ika that are easy for independent travelers to sign up for. You can also join one of the retreats led by any of the yoga teachers who come to practice here. The yoga instructors are from a variety of places and bring groups of their students. You can join those retreats (or encourage your yoga teacher to plan a trip here!). The retreats usually feature yoga in the morning and afternoon and day trips to Pisac, Machu Picchu, Ollaytaytambo and Quechan villages. There’s always free time to relax in the gardens and drink copious amounts of herbal teas!

 

Willka T'ika is higher priced than some other places in Peru, but it also supports the community by funding an orphanage and building schools. You can feel good about spending money at Willka T'ika because they’ve created a lot of good in the area!

 

Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruEverything is done to perfection here: fresh flowers in the rooms, incredibly clean and large bathrooms with double sinks and soft toilet paper, and hot water bottles placed in the beds on cool nights. Oil filled radiators also provide warmth, but like most everywhere in Peru there is no centralized heating system. The walls keep in the warmth of the sunny days even though the nights are quite chilly as the altitude is 2870 meters (9400 feet). Coca tea is provided if you feel the symptoms of altitude sickness from the thin air, but you'll probably be better off here than in Cusco if you're worried about it as it is significantly lower.

 

Willka T'ika Garden Guest House, urumbamba, retreat center, yoga retreat peru, sacred valley, PeruWillka T'ika feels like a womb of the inner world. It’s a place to sit, meditate, reflect on all the small things – flowers, crystals, blades of grass – and contemplate life. Everything that normally fills my mind evaporated and the stillness and silence took over.

 

The specialness of Willka T'ika cannot be overstated. My boyfriend even suggested we go back there for our honeymoon and said it was “maybe the best place on earth.”

Details: http://willkatika.com/ , $199/night for two including dinner.

© Christina Kay Bolton

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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