During a whirlwind trip around Peru in which our Latin America specialist Simon was on the move from dawn ‘til dusk laying eyes upon breath-taking scenery at every corner, there was one place that surpassed all his expectations. Here, he tells us all why Sol y Luna in Peru’s Sacred Valley left such a lasting impression on him.
Nestled between the majestic Andean Mountains, as if under their protection, is a small place that bears importance to so many people: Sol y Luna. At the heart of this community is The Sol y Luna Association, which has been built from the ground up by husband and wife team Petit and Franz, who moved to the Sacred Valley to help support families who live there. After spending more than ten years setting up a life in the Sacred Valley, they decided to open their own school in 2010, with the dream of providing comprehensive and inclusive education to as many children from the area as possible. What they have achieved in the past seven years is nothing short of incredible.
At present, 181 children, some as young as three years old, are benefitting from the unbelievable support and resources that Sol y Luna provide. For many of these children, home life is incredibly unstable and the school not only provides an escape, but also a golden opportunity to pursue paths that would otherwise be unavailable. As well as encompassing the entire national curriculum, Sol y Luna also provides special education, hands-on work experience, and health and psychological support for some of the most disadvantaged children.
Initially, Petit and Franz relied on the generosity of strangers in order to fund their efforts. To take matters more into their own hands, they decided to open a stunning hotel of the same name right next-door. Accompanied by the constant backdrop of the Andes, Hotel Sol y Luna is made up of wonderfully appointed individual ‘casitas’ connected by a weaving cobbled footpath. Boasting a pool, Jacuzzi, spa, gym, stables, two high quality restaurants and a delightful wine cellar in which dinner can be served for those most romantic occasions, Sol y Luna provides an unprecedented balance between intimacy and top quality service and facilities. Although you would be forgiven for wanting to spend your days by the pool or in the spa, Sol y Luna are also able to organise unmissable tours of the Sacred Valley, be it on foot, horseback, bike, quadbike, or by car – they cater for everyone. Weather permitting, you could also find yourself para-gliding gracefully down the Andean mountainside, soaking up the spectacular views with a birds-eye perspective.
This stunning hotel goes a long way in keeping the Sol y Luna Association alive, but it does still require help. Guests are able to donate during their stay, and in return witness the inspirational work that goes on there. Hearing about the difficulty many of the children have overcome, yet seeing the joy on their faces as they receive their schooling, is something that I will never forget. No holiday to Peru is complete without experiencing the Sacred Valley, and no experience of the Sacred Valley is complete without Sol y Luna!