Patagonia’s landscapes are some of Earth’s most fabled. Split between the southern reaches of Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is a magical land of stunning glaciers, granite spires, dramatic mountains, cerulean lakes, charismatic fauna and ethereal flora that have adapted to the intense climate of the world’s lower latitudes.
Augmenting this natural splendor is Explora Patagonia, a luxury lodge in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, the crown jewel of the region. On an aquamarine lake in the shadow of the park’s iconic Cuernos del Paine, or “Horns of Paine,” Explora Patagonia doles out a panorama so jaw-dropping, it’s often cited as the most spectacular in the Southern Hemisphere. Capitalizing on this vista, the lodge was constructed so the snow-capped horns remain in plain view from nearly every room in the house. Simply unreal.
Because of the vast distances to reach the lodge, trips to Explora Patagonia require a minimum of four nights. The daily excursions are classified as half-day or full-day, depending on distance and duration. Half-day excursions include hikes along the rushing, glacier-fed Pingo River; climbs to various park vista points; and 14 different horseback rides.
Those who opt for the full-day excursions reap the greatest rewards, traversing portions of the park’s famed 35-mile “W” trail on a piecemeal basis. You’ll ascend past floating icebergs and perennial winter wonderlands to reach the Grey Glacier. You’ll dangle on floating bridges en route to the French Valley, gawking at the principal peak of Grand Paine Mountain. And you’ll ascend a glacial moraine until you stand flush with the base of the majestic towers for which the park was named.
Experiential eats match the excursions. Gourmet breakfasts and dinners buffer physical activities. When partaking in half-day excursions, guests enjoy Chilean barbeques at Explora’s private ranch along the park’s perimeter. The feasts begin with choclo, or corn empanadas, and Kunzman beers before moving on to grilled meats and fresh salmon from local waters.
With each passing season, the lodge and its surrounding terrain assume new personalities. Winter’s snow ushers in stark panoramas of white, with snow-flecked guanacos scavenging for remaining plant life. Summer’s perpetual daylight unveils brilliant blue skies and layers of green in picturesque mountain meadows while resident wildlife frolics in extended summer recess.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the eco-adventure and extraordinary landscapes that beckon at Explora Patagonia compose a honeymoon fantasy unlike any other. For those who want to simply stage a picture-perfect backdrop for the first pages of their honeymoon diaries, Explora teems with options for relaxing, swimming, dining and pampering in the thick of extreme natural splendor.