Luxury by Tent in Northern Peru
This may shock you: I am not much of a tent-sleeping kind of girl. While I may rough it in the name of adventure every once in a while, I much prefer accommodation that includes running water and electrical outlets. And, to be totally honest, I’m a pretty big fan of mattresses. I know, right? What a wuss.
So I was somewhat skeptical when, over lunch in Lima, one of my PR contacts in Peru insisted that I simply must stay at the Vichayito tent hotel outside Mancora.
But no, she insisted, these were luxury tents.
After eight nights in hostels, I was ready to take her up on that offer. After a twenty-minute bumpy tuk tuk ride from downtown Mancora, we’d arrived at the Vichayito Bungalows y Carpas. First impressions were strong — I loved the use of natural materials and the low-profile main building and bungalows.
But what I really loved? The thatch-roof canvas tents, complete with charming gardens, dotted along the beachfront.
I’ve always dreamed of going on a luxury tent safari in Africa, but that’s far down the pipeline — and this was a pretty amazing substitute for the moment. Let’s take a look inside, shall we?
I quickly fell in love with waking up to the roar of the nearby waves, and sitting on our porch during the day and listening to the thatch roof rustle in the wind. When we got a little tent fever (see what I did there?) we wandered up to the hotel pools, or down to the beach.
While the pool was often brimming with families, the beach was large enough that everyone could claim their own stretch of sand. Often we’d look around and realize we were the only humans in sight.
Vichayito provides free kayak and SUP rentals, which we took advantage of one ambitious morning. While I experienced the same motion-sickness I did while paddling at sea in Mancora, it was a nice break from our beach bumming nonetheless.
The fact that our visit was close to Christmas was all the justification I needed to spend obscene amounts of time and percentages of my budget at the onsite K’oral Spa. And I am not ashamed to admit that my gold sparkle mani/pedi brought me great joy throughout the holiday season.
There is room for improvement at Vichayito, as there is anywhere. The restaurant, while perfect for a casual pool-side bite for lunch, lacks the atmosphere necessary to justify the expensive prices at dinnertime. And the breakfast buffet left something to be desired — it was one of the few places in Peru we didn’t have fresh juice!
Also, the interiors of the tents could use a small face-lift. Small changes like swapping out the cheap plastic hangers and replacing the dollar-store fan with an upgraded version would make a huge impact.
Long term travelers know, eventually you need a vacation from your trip. Out in the middle of nowhere with no wifi, I was forced to take a true break for two days — and it was exactly what I needed. This was the perfect location to say goodbye to and reflect upon my ten weeks of travel in Peru.
Speaking of which — um, can you believe I’m actually done writing about Peru?! I’m having a hard time believing it myself. Thanks for taking this trip with me, guys. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without you. And now, onward to Ecuador!
Have you ever stayed in a luxury tent? Let me know where in the comments — I think this is a an experience I need to repeat again soon!
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Many thanks to Vichayito Bungalows y Carpas for their generous hospitality. I was a guest of the company in order to promote them on this site and through my freelancing outlets. As always, you receive my thorough and honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.
This looks like Glamping at its finest! Glamping is a term we use for glamour camping!
It looks very luxurious and all the comforts of a hotel. That bed and bedroom looks very appealing.
Sorry to hear about the disappointment with the food, I guess it is difficult to be good in every area.
The extra quiet beach would also be a big plus for me.
I love the term glamping! I’ve heard it before but I’m now kicking myself for not thinking of it while I was writing this 🙂
Wow, this place looks really cool. I love the idea of being out in the “elements” on the beach. There’s nothing like falling asleep listening to the waves!
It is one of my greatest pleasures in life, Laura. And best of all… you can have it for free.
Tents are a pretty good way to save on building costs. Not a bad looking place over all. I like the deserted beach, sunset and beers idea too, lol.
I didn’t think about that but great point with the building costs! Maybe I’ll open a tent hostel someday….
I absolutely love the look of this. I have slept in tents many times, but never in a luxurious one. I think it is called glamping these days.
Glamping indeed 🙂 I hope to do more of it this summer at Tomorrowland festival!
If the luxe travel companies aren’t already contacting you to do articles for them, they should be! You have a definite knack for writing about luxury travel. They would be smart to pay you to do an African safari tent camping review!
Aw, thanks Caitlin! (And if any luxury African safari tent companies are reading this, I didn’t pay Caitlin to say this. I pinky swear. But pretty please call me.)
Ah yes glamping at its finest. I can’t say I’ve indulged myself but this place looks pretty swanky! I agree, water and electricity are usually good… and that looks like a real bed right there, not your ordinary tent inclusion!
It was a damn good one too! Falling asleep on that mattress while watching DirecTV was an indescribable luxury 🙂
So, I guess this is glamping, eh? So shocked to see an actual bed in the tent, and I can assure you, this looks miles nicer than the tent Tony & I stayed in while in Indonesia… it was high season and the island we visited (Kanawa) was quite posh so a tent was all we could afford! This is the kind of camping I could actually get behind! 😉
I wouldn’t mind camping occasionally to save on cash, really, but I’d be concerned about locking up my laptop and whatnot. Was there a safe place to do so?
Hey Alex, this looks perfect. I stayed at Ikoma tented camp in the Serengeti in Tanzania so if you ever make it to safari I really recommend it. The staff are amazing and you wake up to the most beautiful views. Me and my boyfriend were lucky enough to be the only guests here one night, and whilst I was a bit wimpish that evening walking back to the tent with the armed (bow and arrow) guard , I really did appreciate it. Enjoy Ecuador!
Wow! That sounds amazing… and exotic! I am dying to go to Africa, and I’ve added this to my list for when I make it someday!
I stayed in a similar tent last year in Oman at a sea turtle observatory. I’d never seen such fancy tents! They even had air conditioning – but we opted to open all the windows and let the ocean breeze in… I can’t think of a more perfect way to sleep.
Wow, that sounds fantastic! It is on my bucket list to volunteer at a sea turtle hatching beach someday. I’m obsessed with them!
Wow! This looks great! I too am not a huge camping fan (particularly with British weather!) but I could totally get behind this! A wonderful way to get away from it all…if only for a while!
Can’t wait to hear about your Ecuador Escapades!
Thanks Caity! I can’t wait to start sharing them next week…
congrats on wrapping up your peru reportage! it was such an enjoyable ride.
i think my closest experience to a luxury tent was a designer yurt @ treebones resort in big sur, california. it had a wrap-around balcony with an ocean view, a ping-pong table inside & an organic garden onsite that provided a lot of the produce for the restaurant. obviously, i highly recommend!
Um, that looks AMAZING! Added to bucket list!
I had a feeling it would be up your street! I forgot to respond to your “2014 Travel Plans” post but was very excited to see California on the list. It looks like your visit will already be action packed but as you’ll be in LA & San Fran, perhaps you can squeeze in Big Sur? As I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s an epic drive from either city.
Luxury tents, or rooms with thin walls? When it has running water, showers, electrical outlets, permanent floors, LCD TVs, marble like vanities, thatch roofs, etc., seems like they have invented a new category… The food looks rather bla but the accommodations look great… Canvas has one huge drawback – mold.
Nice coverage of Peru. I learned much and enjoy your travels!
I didn’t think about mold, I didn’t see a speck though so they certainly must work hard to eradicate it!
Alex – damn! That’s amazing. We’re hoping to do a luxury tent experience in Africa.
I look forward to reading about that!
Never slept in a tented camp and, like you, am hoping to do so in Africa one day!
I am kind of wowed that there is a travel experience you haven’t tried twice! Africa 2015, then? 🙂
Tents with beds lol… And they’re bigger than some of my homes I’ve lived in!! Love that pic of you on the beach during sunset.
Thanks Abby! I love that one too… it makes me remember how happy I was. Sunset on the beach, wine in hand!
Now that’s just lovely. I like the fact that you always stay honest about your experiences, as that’s the reason why travel blogging can survive in an industry that’s full of confusing fronts and manipulation. You bring a true edge to the table of tourism, and I thank you for that.
Looking forward to read about your trip in Ecuador Alex! Happy travels.
Thanks Ruann! That’s a really lovely compliment to get 🙂
The tent hotel looks lovely, but that red dress is gorgeous!
Where’s it from? We may have to get Sarah one! 🙂
I stole it from my little sister a few years ago 🙂 I think it was probably from either Target or H&M… where all our clothes come from!
I had my first luxury tenting experience in Tanzania — I’d do it again in a heartbeat. This place looks luscious! 🙂
That sounds like it would be amazing! I’d love the tent experience with the added fun of animals roaming around everywhere.
OMG these tents look AMAZING. Great post & beautiful pictures!
Thanks Laura! And fun blog name 🙂
OHhh i LOVE luxury tents. they are a big trend in Goa now and I stayed in one for ben and i’s anniversary this year, it was right on the beach and you could see through the tent at night and see stars! glamping is fun! glad you tried it
I read about that on your blog! Looked like an amazing experience…. love that you could see the stars!
Looks like a great place to relax. Also want to second/third using the word “glamping” – best way to go camping!
I’m going to be doing a bit of “glamping” this summer at Tomorrowland as well 🙂 I’ll keep the term in mind for that!
This looks like a fun and unique place for a short getaway. I could a place cut off from the outside world for a few days.
You could use that more than anyone I know!
AAhhhh those look amaaazing!!! I’m definitely a tent person hahaha. And that beach!!! True about needing a vacation from travel once in a while, to recharge and relax truly!!! Thanks for the beautiful update Alex! xx
Thanks for reading, Jessie! 🙂
Now if you could just find a way to fold that tent and contents into an easy to carry travel kit I would be well up for tent sleeping. But that makes regular tents seem even worse now!
Ha, I don’t know if that would make it past airline baggage restrictions…
Wow this place looks amazing!! Is it expensive to stay there?
Prices vary by season but it’s more affordable that you might think (compared to US resort pricing, anyway) starting at around $150 a night.
This makes me miss the sunsets in Mancora. Some of the best!
We were treated to some fantastic ones in our ten days in Mancora. Beautiful place!
I want to live in this place. Super jealous you ended up there,
I wouldn’t mind moving in either! 🙂
Glamping!! How can one not love it?? It’s on our list for Africa. We’ll definitely look up Vichayito as well when we head to Peru. It looks beautiful!
I can’t wait to read about you guys in Peru! You will love it.
Looks amazing! I love that you look so happy 🙂
Thanks Juno! I had a lot to smile about!
Oh Alex! This looks like exactly what we will need after partying at SXSW for a week! No WiFi though – eek!
Every once in a while, it feels like a blessing 🙂 But probably not when you’re hoping to upload all kinds of amazing SXSW photos!
I am SOOO happy I scoured your site for ideas for a trip I’m planning. South America in February because my birthday happens to fall around Carnival 🙂 Gotta add this beachside glamping to the itinerary!
I think this would be the perfect place to recover from a wild birthday/festival! Enjoy, Lauren!