The only lodge in the San Pedro region that is totally enveloped by natural surroundings, Alto Atacama is a remote eco-retreat in the middle of the Chilean desert. In fact, it just may be utopia.
An easy two-hour flight from Santiago, once you arrive at Calama, the luxury starts with your private airport pickup. About an hour drive to reach this hidden paradise as anticipation builds, once you get here, you’ll never want to leave. Crafted out of local, sustainable materials, the lodge seamlessly blends into the terracotta ridges of the Andes Mountains, making sure you’re fully immersed with nature. With just 42-rooms on site, it’s the ultimate getaway for privacy and personalized attention. Your room is stocked with still and sparkling water, soft drinks, bathrobes, and slippers and it’s fully encouraged to sashay around like you own the place.
The Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert on the planet and is estimated to be the oldest desert on Earth with terrain that’s been compared to Mars (perfect for filming an endless number space movies). Just south of the Peruvian – Chilean border, it encompasses part of the Andes Mountains, salt lakes, and lava flows, making it one of the most unique landscapes in the world and a WWF protected eco-region. With a total lack of precipitation, it’s a great place to visit year-round and although the conditions are harsh, over 500 endemic species have learned to adapt to the environment and climate, ensuring you’ll see some truly unique flora and fauna that can only be found there. Beyond the awesomeness on-land, due to it’s nearly non-existent cloud cover and lack of light pollution, it’s one of the best places to see the stars and constellations as the night sky feels like your own private canvas under their mystical observation platform.
When We Say All Inclusive, We Mean All Inclusive
Named “one of the top 100 hotels in the world” by Fodors and a Traveler’s Choice Property from TripAdvisor, this is not your average all-inclusive. Sure, there’s fine dining and celebrated Chilean wines made from the highest quality local ingredients that you can indulge on to your heart’s content, but the real highlight is that all excursions and adventure activities are also included to make vacation planning about as easy as it can be.
There are over 40 small group activities available to choose from (each with no more than 10 participants) led by multilingual guides. If you somehow manage to not find one you like from the daily offerings, they will create a tour just for you, always going above and beyond to accommodate. But that’s never really a concern with geysers, hot springs, volcano climbs, salt flats, sand dunes, and ancient Incan ruins and petroglyphs all within a few hours of the resort. Categorized by cultural van trips, treks, mountaineering, and mountain biking in varying levels of difficulty, you can completely tailor your experience to your interests. And with such unique terrain to explore, you’ll regularly feel like you’re going to the ends of the Earth…and then some.
Each day you’ll have the option to relax around the resort with an elegant sit down lunch or get your food boxed if you’re heading out on an excursion. Each van is stocked with water, soft drinks, beer (for the adults) and snacks, so you’ll never go hungry, no matter where you’re exploring. If there happens to be an illness or injury as minimal as altitude sickness to something bigger, the staff will go above and beyond to offer remedies and make sure everyone’s happy, healthy, and having the time of their lives.
That Spa Though…
Afterwards, relax your tired muscles at the spa, named one of the 10 Best in Latin America, with treatments from around the world like Finnish Saunas, Turkish Baths, Scottish Showers, and quinoa facials. It’s the best of both words – adventure and release. With a focus on holistic wellness, six outdoor pools in varying temperatures provide plenty of H20 and refreshment despite their desert status. All water is taken from a well beneath the resort and recycled, making it one of the most sustainable properties in the region and a huge priority is put on preserving the natural wonders of the area.
Kid Tested, Mother Approved
A great place for families, the kids will love all the excursions, feeding the on-site llamas, finding chocolates on their pillow at night, and having their own private heated pool to relax in. There were plenty of choices for them on the breakfast buffet with fresh local fruits, homemade juices, and warm pastries appeasing even the pickiest of palates. In the evening, sit by the fire enjoying pisco sours and star gaze for a living science lesson as the entire Milky Way unfolds before your eyes.
Turns out, heaven is on Earth. And it’s in Chile.