From Robin Noble, Portland, Me.
“I planned a trip to Chile in the early fall because my husband and I had enjoyed a trip to Argentina and Uruguay the year before. We wanted to explore more of South America and appreciated that there was no time change. As we are two physicians with four small children, our one week alone is very precious. We wanted luxury and adventure and found both. The goal was to visit Santiago (stayed at the Ritz) and one other area in eight days. The choices were difficult: wine country, Patagonia and Atacama, the high-altitude desert. In other seasons we would have considered skiing (definitely) or the beaches.
“We started off our visit to Santiago with a culinary tour with Liz Caskey (www.lizcaskey.com), an American who left Wall Street for a different life. She gave us our bearings in Santiago and a lovely introduction to local food, culture and Pisco Sours—right off the plane. I planned the whole trip myself on the Internet, and I was extremely fortunate to find Liz and Explora Atacama. One visit to Explora’s Web site, and I had made up my mind on how we should spend the second part of our trip. The luxury outfit has resorts in Patagonia, in the Atacama desert and on Easter Island. (They also do special tours in Argentina). The travel to Patagonia was twice as long, so the decision to go to the Atacama property was simple.
“We found just what we were looking for: in four days we managed to climb to 18,000 feet (assisted by guides equipped with oxygen, first-aid kits and beautiful lunches), mountain bike, hike, ride horses and swim in a salt lake. We even found time to relax poolside, eat and drink too much and get a massage. Imagine five-star travel combined with an adult Outward Bound–type experience. You feel as though you’ve really accomplished something, yet you’re also being pampered.
“There were choices of excursions each day for the more active or less active. The food and wine were fabulous; the service was impeccable. That it was all-inclusive meant that my husband never had to reach for his wallet the entire time we were there. As he put it: ‘I would rather get hit with a check once.’ The entire experience exceeded our expectations. We had found luxury, adventure, even adrenaline and peace of mind. Now we have to go back…to the Explora resort in Patagonia and the wine country.”
Read a member postcard on a place to miss and one to try in Patagonia
Read an insider’s advice on traveling in Patagonia
For information or special offers on South American travel, contact our booking department by calling 212-988-2611 or sending an inquiry