Sound the air horns and pack your puffer jacket, the world has a new wonder: Torres del Paine National Park. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in central Patagonia near the southern tip of Chile was recently named the 8th Wonder of the World by VirtualTraveler.com, which collected more 5 million votes from well-traveled site visitors to update the classic “must-visit” list. No other address puts travelers amid the myriad marvels of the Park like Hotel Salto Chico of explora Patagonia. Not even close.
While many lodges and hotels ring the borders of the new 8th Wonder of the World, Hotel Salto Chico is the only luxury lodge located right at the heart of the Park. Gleaming white in the southern sun and designed to create a dialogue with its surroundings, the 49-room lodge is set within misting distance of the Salto Chico waterfall, which drains into Lake Pehoe, and before eye-widening views of the granite towers for which the Park is named. It’s a breathtaking location, to say the least.
Don’t let the remoteness fool you: Hotel Salto Chico is not only exceptionally comfortable, it is close to many of the Park’s most dramatic destinations, which are discovered with explora’s team of guides. Cuernos del Paine is just 12 miles away, while Torres del Paine is even closer and the Frances Glacier, at 10 miles, is closer still. Lake Grey, with stunning perspectives on Grey Glacier and the Macizo Paine Massif, is 3 miles. Sierra del Toro, with beautiful views of many skyscraping peaks, is just 18 miles away. And there are many more lakes, mountains, forests, rivers and glaciers to explore, as well as the widely varied plants and animals that inhabit them.
Travelers experience all of the above and more through small-group explorations from Hotel Salto Chico, all led by explora guides rigorously trained in the “art of travel” that earned explora recognition as South America’s Leading Expedition Company from the World Travel Awards. Trek to Ferrier Vista Point, the French Valley Glacier and through the Pingo River Valley, or ride on horseback explorations of the Pehoé Refugio, the Serrano River or Toro Heights. There are over 20 treks and 14 horseback rides to choose from.
Meanwhile, wrap yourself in explora’s “luxury of the essential” by relaxing at the lodge’s spa, Casa de Baños del Ona; dining on cuisine and wine inspired by authentic flavors of the region; and ogling the majesty of nature at every turn.
Rates at Hotel Salt Chico for a four-night stay from $2,820 per person, double occupancy for a standard room and $4,320 per person, double occupancy for a suite. Included are airport transfers, accommodations, all gourmet meals, open bar and daily explorations on foot, bike, boat and horse with bilingual guides.