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“Sometimes, despite all the exotic travel destinations you go to, one place absolutely floors you!”

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explora Patagonia - All Inclusive
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 February 2014

It's difficult to explain this to people:

The easiest way to get to the hotel is to fly to Punta Arenas, way down on the southern tip of South America, a three hour flight from Santiago, and spend a night there.

Get picked up and drive four and a half hours, the last hour and a half on gravel roads.

Spend an outright fortune per night (which admittedly includes food, drinks, and excursions).

And, despite this, you'll leave swearing that this was a life highlight, that it was worth all the trouble, and all the money, and that though you generally avoid returning to the same places for vacations, that this one might be the exception to the rule.

It's THAT special.

Torres del Paine is one of nature's treasures, with it's own weather pattern, scenery, massive glaciers, lakes, rivers, forests, hiking paths (it's famous for the "hiking the W", a six day trek), and unique flora and fauna. Salto Chico is right in the park, and it just seems amazing that a five star resort would find itself in this amazing location.

The hotel features expert guides that offer MANY expeditions daily, from simple to extremely challenging, from van tours to horseback riding to steep, long climbs, to simple hikes.

The guides are young, energetic, experienced, positive, knowledgeable, attractive, educated, and fun to be with. I'm NOT the type that enjoys spending my days hiking up steep inclines while being pelted by "Patagonia-force" winds, but while spending time with this group, you know what...I don't really mind. It was FUN.

Our group of six had just come through Santiago and Buenos Aires, and if I'm honest, it was tough to get this group up and moving each morning, and one of us is a particularly early riser (ME!). But, put us in Salto Chico, and all six of us were up early each morning, decked out in our trekking gear, and ready to go before dawn.

What happened to us?

Perhaps it was the out of this world amazing scenery, which changed moment to moment as the light hit the massive massifs.
Perhaps it was the delicious food served in the intimate dining room, every meal of which was delicious.
Perhaps it was the wine and drinks that we sipped while exchanging stories about our days with one another and the other guests.
Perhaps it was the layout of the hotel, which is like nothing I've ever seen before, and features large communal areas where guests of all sizes and types and nationalities congregate and befriend one another.
Perhaps it was the wonderful lap pool beside the lake with the four hot tubs and the intimate spa (reasonably priced, I might add).
Perhaps it was the nightly lecture about the glaciers or the pumas or a wide variety of interesting subjects.
Perhaps it was the excitement of doing something each day that we've never done before, and frankly never thought we'd ever do.

All I can say is...I'm not used to getting up predawn, as usual, and seeing all of my fellow travel companions sitting around and chatting with the other guests.

You simply don't go to places like this anywhere else.

This place is unique. It's out of this world, and frankly it's at the end of the world.

I met a number of people on this trip, both in Santiago and in Buenos Aires. We stayed in outrageously beautiful five star resorts. I kept running into people either departing on cruises or disembarking from one, about to fly home.

Some of the passengers were cruising with Seabourn, and frankly, I love that line.

But the truth: I felt sorry for them.

I experienced Salto Chico. You can't compare what they had done with what we'd just experienced. They simply aren't in the same league.

Listen to me, please. Go there! Go to Salto Chico.

It's one that you'll always treasure. It's worth the difficulty of getting there, and the high cost. It's worth ever penny.

And, when you've done this, drop me a line, not to thank me, but to exchange stories with me. It's that kind of place.

Happy traveling.

Room Tip: It doesn't matter. Yes, they have a few suites. You really don't need them. The bathrooms ar...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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9  Thank steve l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 February 2014

It's a little hard to get to, but well worth it when you get there. The scenery is breathtaking. The explorations are varied and offer something for everyone-- from serious hikers who want to experience the major hikes of the W trek, to people more interested in a stroll. Same was true of the horseback riding-- I think most people were beginners, but for those who were experienced riders, the guides would take them on their own private trip. Everything was perfectly orchestrated for maximum enjoyment. The guides are young and enthusisastic (especially the girls) and seem to love what they do. All of the staff were exceptional, really. The food was good, considering the logistics of getting quality ingredients into an area that remote. The included wines and drinks were top shelf. The barbecue at the ranch was delicious and fun. Nice spa, comfortable rooms with amazing views. Tiny bathrooms.

There was a certain cameraderie among the guests- alot of hanging out in the bar and public rooms which were really comfortable.

Unfortunately, just like my pictures (which don't seem to have captured how unique and magical the setting is), I'm not sure this review is doing a good job of conveying how UNIQUE, SPECIAL AND OUTRIGHT AMAZING this place is. Put this on your bucket list!

One hint, however, do not underestimate the wind--dress in layers, put comfort over style and you won't regret it.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank matrlaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2014

When you drive up to this place after five hours on the road, I promise you will wonder what you have gotten yourself into. And the next few minutes don't get much better. But if you like hiking in the wild and scenic backcountry, you are about to be in heaven. Especially, if you can catch a break with the weather. The treks are great. The guides are extremely knowledgeable, professional and fun. The food is excellent.
I was so impressed with the organization of this place and with so many moving parts. It was great. We did not want to leave.
Spa treatment was just so so, but the facilities were very nice. And we did not go there for the spa. Be sure to take in their presentations and film documentaries. They are excellent and definitely enhance the experience.

Stayed: January 2014
1  Thank RBH_SBH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2014

My wife and I took our three children to Explora for a 4 day stay. It was truly exceptional. While it was not flawless (will mention some minor issues later) it is hard to imagine a more special place given the scenery, the activities, the (100% self contained) infrastructure, the staff, and perhaps most unique, the vibe/community of this unique destianation. This latter part is really wonderful as you can literally end up spending 8 hours on a trek w/ some total strangers. In most cases this ends up being a great experience as it is small hotel and you end up getting to know many of your fellow guests.

Getting there is not easy and expensive but rest assured when you arrive you are in a simply gorgeous setting w/ views that take your breath away.
Rooms are very comfortable, not large but who cares as you won't spend that much time there...the beds are comfortable, bathrooms perectly nice...views to die for.
Hotel layout is ideal...creates a wonderful flow, super easy to run back to room if you forget something.
Food/dining room was small/intimate and focused on view. Food was very good, our kids 11, 14 and 15 were perfectly happy w/ the two options. Wines by the glass were terrific, was going to splurge for a bottle from premium collection but why spend $200 on a Chilean wine you can buy in states for $60 when the house wines were all superb.
Guides were outstanding. All spoke perfect English, were fun, informed, mature (mostly in mid 20s). Was obvious that they really appreciated being at such a well run destination in such an amazing setting.
Hikes were all beatiful ranging from 40 minute hike up nearby hilltop when we arrived, to 15 Kilometer, full day hikes. All were great and you really need to listen to guides to make sure you get what you want. Hike to Grey glacier was terrific, full day, ending w/ amazing cruise on lake right in front of beautiful massive glaciers. BBQ was fun and you can do hikes of varying length before and after. Horseback riding was fun, though pretty passive.
Crowd was def very sophisticated and well-heeled. this is after all a pretty exclusive spot given expense. Crowd was def not young. Would def NOT recommend small children, place is too small, but highly recommend for older kids that like to hike, etc. We were only family in the place, plenty of folks in 60s and even 70s. Fairly international though seemed like majority was clearly from US.
All-inclusive nature of place is awesome as you can literally put your wallet away for your stay. Bar was terrific, super accommodaitng and real social hub.
We lucked out w/ weather...was 75 and sunny every day...but don't count on that...weather is super unpredictable in Patagonia. It can be perfectly calm and 10 mins later you can faced w/ a 70 mph wind.
Pool/spa area is few minute hike down some stairs, but really well designed and right on lake.
Only critiicisms were small....pool was closed for 3 of 4 days which was very irritating. We went in lake which was ice cold but fun. We let our older kids go on hike on their own, and later found out that they weren't allowed to finish final part of hike despite being strong climbers. (Would have liked to known this before).
In conclusion, we have always wanted to get to Explora, we had high expectations given friends reviews...and it lived up to those expectations. Feel very lucky to have experienced. BTW...yes expensive when booking... but they do have a familly plan...and the overall experience can't be duplicated.

Room Tip: We loved being on first floor...so easy to get back and forth to rooms.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank HClowd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2014

From the moment you are met and moved from the Punta Arenas airport you realize this is a well tuned operation. Every desire is met before you are even aware of it. Yes this place is expensive but...world class service, great food, good wines and lots of excursions provided. Every evening the guides circulated with maps and lists of hikes and horse-rides that would be available the next day and explained in sufficient detail to match with your interests and abilities. In the morning, after breakfast, you rendezvous with the guide for the hike you chose, get snacks and hiking poles if needed and climb into the van to go to the trail head. Hikes or horse-back rides were limited to 8 people per guide and varied.....lots of scenery and wild-life. The view from your room is world class ( in fact it is the same as National Geographic Magazine covers or calendars or brochures of what Torres del Paines is!)

Room Tip: Paine Massif rooms have a mountain view...Salto Chico rooms have a waterfall view.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank vulch26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2014

This place has been on our bucket list for years - has it really been opened 20 years?

We finally made it for a 4 night stay (frustratingly you can only book in blocks of 4 nights in high season) and had a wonderful time. Many fellow guests complained about the long (5 hour) drive in from Punta Arenas - especially those that just got off a long flight! We had stayed at the Singular (WOW!) in Puerto Natales for 4 nights beforehand and enjoyed a wonderful river trip by catamaran and Zodiac (Agunsa tours) to the Explora - certainly a fantastic alternative?

The hotel itself is very pleasantly decorated and laid out with a light almost beach feel in the common and 2 level dinning rooms. The bedrooms have a ski chalet feel about them with lots of natural timber and are not particularly spacious - but the view - extraordinary. The character of the Torres and Masif change continually through the day and evening with the ambient light altering the view dramatically. This is THE place to splurge on the room with a view. We had a Cordillera room ( room 11) which afforded a stunning view of the mountains - I think all Cordillera rooms and suites have a very similar view.

The excursions were extensive though not all excursions were offered each day. The advice to leave the strenuous base of Torres trek till the last day was sensible as our legs and knees felt the efforts for a few days after we were very well looked after by our guide Courtney who also took us on a shorter 7kms walk to the "rock art" where we were rewarded with wonderful viewings of several condors, many guanacos and a few lesser Rheas! Ignacio showed us the way on our very windy French Valley Glacier excursion and whilst it was longish wasn't overly taxing as the vertical was on about 250m.

The food at the hotel was quite nice with a choice of 2 entrees and mains at dinner - this is not a gourmet experience but still very pleasant. Top shelf spirits were freely available and I believe there was a not included wine list but we never saw it or was it offered - one night the Chardonnay stocks were depleated but that was soon rectified.

The spa, indoor pool and jacuzzis are a 200m walk away from the main building which wasn't a problem in fine weather but could be an issue at other times.

Overall the location, excursions and staff are truly wonderful. For the prices charged I think other places have improved their amenity, food/wine and flexibility. Am I glad we went - absolutely! I would definitely do one of the transfers again with Agunsa and would definitely stay and relax at the Singular after rather than before visiting The Explora. I'm still undecided if it was worth it - but am certainly glad I went!

Room Tip: A Cordillera room certainly - room 11 next to the Eberhardt Suite was very well situated.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank tshields
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2014

We purchased a seven day two resort Explora package during a fundraiser for the US Sailing Center Martin Co. Fl. Our first four days were spent at Salto Chico and the whole experience made the long trip worthwhile. The setting, the food, the staff, the accommodations, the treks and the guides were all first class. If you think you would like outdoor activities in a spectacular part of the world, go here. The lake behind the spa is a little on the cold side (5 degrees C) but it was worth it to say we actually jumped into it.

Room Tip: Get a room with a view of Torres Del Paine
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Charles M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about explora Patagonia - All Inclusive

Address: | Sector Salto Chico S/N, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Phone Number:
Region: Chile > Magallanes Region > Torres del Paine National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
#2 Family Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
#3 Romantic Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
Price Range: £1,020 - £1,663 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — explora Patagonia - All Inclusive 4.5*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our lodge is located right in the heart of the extraordinary Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonia. The diverse and untouched landscapes of this area led UNESCO to declare it a biosphere reserve.Our Patagonia hotel lodge opened in 1993 on the banks of the Salto Chico waterfall. It affords an excellent view of the unique Paine Massif and two of the three impressive torres, or towers, which give the park its name.The lodge has 49 rooms and a variety of inviting spaces. Situated on a 3-hectare (7.4-Acre) site, the design borrows certain organic forms from the landscape itself, adapting to it with simple elegance. It was designed to create a dialogue with its environment, putting human beings in touch with the sublimity of their surroundings.For travellers, the lodge provides the welcome surprise of comfort in a remote area. Nonetheless, you are not isolated from nature, but rather placed "within" it. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Explora Patagonia Hotel Salto Chico
Explora Patagonia Torres Del Paine
Explora Patagonia - All Inclusive Torres Del Paine National Park, Aisen Region, Chile

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