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explora Patagonia - All Inclusive
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Reviewed 10 August 2011

We stayed here years ago, and I still dream about going back. Best hiking on the planet. Best food I've ever had. Cool James Bond type digs. Travelers with whom you share a common love.

Only dig is it's super-expensive, but we splurged and it was totally worth it. We generally have a travel rule that we never go the same place twice. I'll break that someday for explora Patagonia.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank eortman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2011

Dear traveler,

Thank you for your kind review.

The explora team would be more than pleased to welcome you at one of the other explora destinations, Atacama or Easter Island. You might also consider one of the explora Travesia, nomadic journeys that are specially designed for people who are well traveled and enjoy new experiences. Each Travesías takes several days, crossing the national borders of Chile, Argentina or Bolivia, exploring diverse areas, and bedding down in distinctive accommodations that explora has equipped to be simple yet comfortable.

Lastly, after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

We look forward to welcoming you back.

Sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2011

I traveled to Patagonia last October (2010) which is early Spring there on a National Geographic Expedition. Part of that expedition was spent at Explora Lodge - Hotel Salto Chico in Torres del Paine National Park (http://www.explora.com/explora-patagonia/hotel-salto-chico/). The weather was perfect--mild temps, relatively calm winds. Explora Lodge was fantastic, nestled in the most beautiful spot. I stayed in a Cordillera Paine room on the side with a view of Macizo del Paine--spend the money--the view is absolutely worth it. The lodge provided various treks into the foothills, horseback riding, spa services, meals and bar are included in the room rate, transportation from Punta Arenas to the lodge, to/from treks/stables. They provided snacks for the treks, water, guides, walking sticks. The food was excellent. The lodge was spotless, the rooms were great and the staff was excellent. We spent three days/four nights but I really wanted one more day--I never made it to the spa--there was so much to do! Be warned that there is limited internet access--in the bar area--we didn't have much luck using their computers in the "business" area, but who had time! If you take clothes you can rinse out and hang to dry overnight, you won't need to take many clothes (take packets of detergent for using in the sink). Have some good hiking/walking boots and layer, layer, layer. If you simply want peace and meditation, this is also the place. There are many areas around the lodge (inside and out) where you can get away and sit, read, meditate, etc. No television--but you don't need and you don't care what's going on anywhere else in the world--it's so beautiful. I will return some day--the vistas and landscapes were unforgettable! Get a good camera that can take pictures from a distance. In my ratings, I didn't use Room Service nor time for the Spa or Pool--but they did look nice.

Room Tip: I recommend a Cordillera Paine room--well worth the money!
  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled solo
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3  Thank VacationerHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2011

Dear traveler,

Thank you. We are most grateful for your very kind review.

October is a wonderful time to be in the Torres del Paine Park. Allow me to point out, that a misconception sometimes leads travelers not to consider the Chilean Patagonia during autumn and winter in the southern hemisphere. As the traveler moves east across the South American continent, from the coast of Chile towards the coast of Argentina, the weather grows increasingly drier as the landscape changes to a typical Patagonian steppe. Torres del Paine is halfway between the Pacific and the Atlantic, more than 150 miles from either coast, and therefore benefits from low rainfall throughout the year. The park has a microclimate generating pleasant temperatures in both winter and summer. And even during rainy months, precipitation rarely measures more than 3.1 inches.

In reference to internet connection, we are pleased to inform you that during the month of April 2011 we upgraded our bandwidth (satellite) which has considerably improved the internet speed.

After visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

With kind regards,

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Reviewed 4 July 2011

The Hotel Salto Chico in Patagonia had been on my dream trip list for over 5 years, when I finally got to experience it, it was more than I could have imaged. After an incredible gourmet meal paired with excellent Chilean wines, I stepped outside the hotel to gaze upon the lake with the majestic mountain scenery and then I looked up to see the sky blanketed with stars, it truly felt like heaven on earth. This is is a wild and remote slice of paradise, by staying here you can experience it all with the expert guides, unique accommodations, excellent staff and great food and wine!

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Skywatcher23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2011

Dear traveler,

We are very grateful for your kind review. Thank you!

We are thrilled to hear that you have ticked off Patagonia from your bucket list and that it was more than you had envisioned. We are very fortunate to operate in areas that are in most traveler´s wish list.

We look forward to welcoming you at another explora destination.

With kind regards,

Jesús Parrilla

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Reviewed 22 June 2011

Explora Patagonia is a property I have always wanted to visit. So, when the opportunity presented itself (I am in the travel business) I jumped on it. If you have an interest in exploration, adventure and nature this is the place for you. This is not exactly the easiest place in the world to get to (if you have any questions about getting to and from Explora feel free to contact me). I arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile (via Santiago) from New York. I was immediately met by a representative from Explora and from this point on; I didn’t have to worry about a thing. Explora Patagonia is an all inclusive which means you pay one price and everything is included such as meals, excursions, transportation and even the wine!
I met up with some other travelers also arriving and we were loaded up into a van for our 5 hour journey through the valleys and mountains into the Torres del Paine National Park and Explora Patagonia. Unfortunately, due to the flight being delayed, the last half of the drive was in darkness.
Upon arriving at the property we were graciously met by the General Manager, Carlos. The hotel is actually called the Salto Chico Lodge and it is literally perched right next to the Salto Chico Waterfalls however I usually refer to this property “Explora Patagonia”.
Rooms
All of the rooms at this property are very similar in size and set up with the difference being the view. There are a couple of junior suites which are larger but on average the rooms are on the small side. They are cozy and simply designed. They have excellent beds and bedding. Very comfy. Crawling into the bed after a glass of tasty Chilean wine and a long day of hiking was divine! The bathroom is also on the small side (only room for one person) however I noticed that there was never a lack of hot water for showering and the water pressure was excellent, not to mention the in room Jacuzzi which is also a nice perk after a day of hiking and/or horseback riding. By the end of my stay I realized that the only time I actually spent in my room was to shower and sleep so the size ultimately did not matter. Clearly, the owners of the property took the important things into consideration: The Bed and the shower!
One of the most amazing moments for me was the first morning I woke up and rolled up my blind. Because I arrived in the dark of night, I had no idea what to expect out of my window. The view took my breath away. The mountain peaks just outside my window were spectacular. From then on, I slept with my blinds open so I could lie in bed in the morning watching the sun rise on these beautiful mountain peaks.
Food & Service
It is hard to understand how this property, located many hours drive from any town or civilization, is able to serve a fresh, enjoyable menu. Breakfasts consisted of European buffet with meats, cheese, breads, muffins, grains, etc. in addition to a full menu from which you could order eggs, waffles, etc. Coffee, like wine, is a different experience depending on where you might find yourself in the world. The coffee at Explora Patagonia was delicious! The menu changed daily for lunches and dinners, always with a vegetarian choice on the menu. All in all the food was pretty darn good. I always like to point out I live in New York City and enjoy a different restaurant on average 5 nights a week so I am a tough critic when it come to food. I was shocked at the quality of the salads. Where on earth are they getting these fresh ingredients in the middle of Patagonia! And as I mentioned before, the never-ending flow of excellent Chilean wine also adds to this satisfying dining experience. There are also days where you might enjoy a full day hike and so your lunch becomes a picnic lunch served somewhere interesting during your hike. These picnic lunches were also very enjoyable, sitting out doors, enjoying the view and noshing on some interesting salads, sandwiches, etc. The service level was very good in the restaurant and within the hotel. At no point did I ever feel my needs were not being met in anyway. Everyone is incredibly friendly and the guides were great too.

Exploration & Experience
As I mentioned previously, this is a destination of adventure and exploration (and amazing scenery). The property offers a myriad of hikes and walks and horseback riding for all age groups and capabilities. To be honest, I was a bit nervous before my trip about my level of fitness for my visit to Explora Patagonia. However, I soon realized that they tailor everything to each travelers needs. It was a bit intimidating at first not knowing what to expect on the hikes so I enjoyed the fact that I could work my way into it. For example, on the first day I broke up my day into a very enjoyable ½ day walk which was about 3-4 hours, returned to the lodge for lunch and then went on a 2 hour horseback riding excursion. During my stay I worked myself up to taking the full day 9 hour hike to the Grey Glacier, the highlight of my trip. So if you have a concern about being capable, don’t. If you enjoy walking and scenery, you will enjoy this experience.
Each evening, before dinner, guests tend to gather in the wine bar area, where they will enjoy a glass of wine with some savory appetizers while talking about their current days adventure with other guests, use the internet and discuss and explore with the guides plans for the following day. I called this my “Patagonia Happy Hour”. This is an environment (similar to a safari) where you easily meet and chat with other travelers. You will often be grouped with others during hikes and the intimate happy hour atmosphere is quite enjoyable since everyone is experiencing the same excitement of their day.
On one of my days at Explora I decided to stay at the hotel after lunch and arranged a massage. Carmen was my masseuse and I was pleasantly surprised. Because of my business, I travel extensively to luxury resorts and rarely book a massage. Living in New York I am spoiled by having one of the best masseuses. So needless to say I am usually disappointed paying an excessive amount of money to receive an average massage. Carmen did not disappoint and I found the price to be reasonable at $130.00 USD. I also took the time to enjoy the hot tub and indoor pool.
Overview
Overall, this is an unusual experience for individuals seeking something different. I was at the hotel in May when the peak season is winding down. At the end of my stay, Carlos, the manager, took me on a tour of the lodge and explained that the hotel would be closing for a period of time this summer where they would be making some major improvements to the communal area of the hotel including the bar and dining room and also the sleeping rooms. It all sounded very exciting and for those of you considering a visit in the future, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. If you have any questions about my experiences or would like recommendations please feel free to drop me a line, I am happy to help.

Room Tip: contact me and i can help
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled solo
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8  Thank aprotraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2011

What an amazing property.
The location is priceless- no value can be put on the view from your room..... snow capped mountains & icy blue waters.
My room was quite large with a lovely bathroom that offered a deep spa bath which was great after a day of walking.
The staff in the restaurant were lovely- Carolina was a wonderful host who always made sure that we were all taken care of.
The food was fantastic- 5 star.
Horse riding was my favourite activity & the horses are trained very well.
Go & experience this unique paradise- it's worth every cent.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled on business
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2  Thank MSCBrisbane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2011

Dear traveler,

We are very grateful for your kind review. Thank you!

Thank you for pointing out our stable and horses. The explora Equestrian Experiences are geared for riders novice through advanced. Guests delve deep into the Atacama Desert or Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia on English and Chilean saddles. The latter, designed for comfort by explora founder, Pedro Ibáñez, is affectionately known as “the couch.”

Remember that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

With kind regards,

Jesús Parrilla

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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