My recent journey to Chile was magical – it is the perfect destination for nature-lovers and active adventure travelers like me! My brother and I started in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, the driest place on the planet. We floated in buoyant salt lakes, watched the bright flamingoes at sunset, went horseback riding down massive sand dunes, hiked through a gorge with cacti over two stories high, and spent time in the little town of San Pedro de Atacama. There are many new luxury properties in the area but my favorite by far is Tierra Atacama. The architecture has a modern, chic flavor but blends nicely into its surroundings – and it’s hard not to love a property where you can watch the stars at night while taking an outdoor rainforest shower!
Our next stop was Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, which most certainly lived up to my expectations. I have always dreamed of hiking to the base of the famous towers but I never imagined doing it in the Chilean winter. Many clients avoid Patagonia during that time but many of the guides actually prefer it, as the winds are milder and the park is virtually empty. I was prepared for an arctic freeze but it was clear and sunny and the temperature during the day was in the 40s and 50s, perfect for hiking! During a portion of our trip to the base of the towers, the snow reached our thighs, but much of it was not very difficult and we had the view entirely to ourselves once we got there! We stayed at the Explora Hotel Salto Chico, which is still the place to stay. Its location is unbeatable and the service is top-notch; they even pack gourmet picnics to enjoy while hiking – I tucked into a bowl of warm corn soup at the base of the towers!
I also visited Santiago and Valparaiso, an old port city, and I would be happy to answer any questions about these two cities as well as any other Chile or South America questions you have! Happy travels!
– By Brooke Garnett
WHAT’S IN BROOKE’S BAG?
Brooke shares two of her tried-and-true travel favorites…
Neutrogena Sun Stick is a solid sunscreen so there are no worries about leaks and drips in your bag. I’ve literally used it on every trip I’ve taken! And travel backgammon has kept me entertained on too many long layovers to count and has also been a nice way to interact with locals I meet along the way, since it’s a pretty universal game.