San Pedro de Atacama (The Atacama desert, Chile)
A uniquely-designed hotel on the outskirts of the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama. The restaurant and spacious sitting area in the main building is contemporary in its design and decorated with local textiles. The grounds are extensive, with stables, a series of swimming pools and hot tubs. There is also an observatory for night-time stargazing.
An extensive menu of activities (in small groups of up to 10 people) is available and is discussed with the guides on arrival. This includes hikes in the desert (which range from easy to difficult), mountain biking, riding (for both beginners and more experienced riders) jeep tours, and tours to the more frequently-visited sites including El Tatio geysers and the Valley of the Moon. Explora's philosophy is very much based around exploring the area in depth and their guides are trained to the highest of standards and are passionate about what they do.
The 50 rooms are spread around a terrace style cobble-stoned courtyard and all have a small sitting area, a jacuzzi bath, good showers and wonderful views. The 4 suites also have a spacious living room and balcony with the same great views.
When to go
Client comments and reviews
The Atacama desert was a revelation, I expected lots of sand! So many places to see but we felt we did the excursions justice and got a good idea of the area. The altitude did cause a few problems and when we went up to 4,300m to walk from Machuca to Rio Grande it proved quite a challenge! I loved the horses and managed to get two rides in, one on my own with a guide which was great. The Explora is a real activity centre (albeit 5*) with excursions morning and evening and some quite demanding - lightweight walking boots are recommended and a certain amount of fitness is required to get the most out of the trip. The atmosphere was very relaxed, the dress code informal and the accommodation and food were excellent. The staff were also most attentive. - LT (January 2011)
It is just fantastic. There is nothing chi chi about it. In fact someone likened it to a luxurious base camp. Loved the fact that you drove in through the stable yard and the hotel itself was open plan with stone floors, skins and rugs everywhere. The rooms were simple (whitewashed rough walls) with great bathrooms (shower heads like large dinner plates) and extremly comfortable beds. The food was truly amazing during our whole stay. They bake their own bread twice a day, make their own ice cream, pasta, preserves and have amazing seafood, fish and meat, and most definitely not forgetting the wine. - SR (December 2005)