Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa
Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is the only lodge in the San Pedro region that is totally enveloped by natural surroundings. Located in the lush Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range, just over a mile from the plaza of San Pedro, the Alto Atacama’s design was influenced by local village architecture and conceived to blend seamlessly into its environment and appear as a part of the terracotta-coloured ridge that rises behind it. The setting, the sweeping views, the tranquillity and silence, and the hotel’s wonderful outdoor lounge spaces make the Alto Atacama a destination unto itself, and unlike any other hotel property in the region. Environmental sustainability and a strong connection with the local culture have put the Alto Atacama in a category of its own, as has its “Andescape” concept of decorative flora and stable of friendly llamas and alpacas, local cuisine, and Leave No Trace-schooled guides. Veronica Poblete, creator of Andescape, is a Paris-trained landscape designer and botanist, and ex-Harvard lecturer who has developed this new concept using local flora and ancient agricultural techniques.
The Alto Atacama seeks to open a traveller’s eyes, to explore, to feel, to connect, and to return revitalized and changed by a truly authentic experience one will never forget. Rather than simply taking photos as a passive traveller, Alto Atacama encourages guests to get off the beaten track, interact with the local indigenous culture and explore the desert’s varied and eerily beautiful landscapes by foot or bike. More than half of Alto Atacama’s staff is indigenous, and their personal stories and histories enrich a guests’ understanding of the region. Geysers, hot springs, volcano climbs, mountain biking through desert canyons, and exploring ancient Incan ruins and petroglyphs are just a few of the 30 adventurous excursions offered, always led by highly trained local guides.
Wine making started in Chile around 1548. Central Chile’s Mediterranean climate created the perfect platform to continue this ancient human activity.
The wines of Chile are internationally acclaimed and the wines of Alto Atacama are a microcosm of the superb quality that characterizes Chilean wines.
The Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is of the highest standards, preparing the ground for the great Syrahs and Carmeneres that are becoming more and more popular around the world.
The Northern skies of Chile are famous for being some of the clearest in the World. The combination of an extremely dry climate, high altitude and the distance from any source of environmental pollution makes them a perfect and clear window into the Universe.
The experience of viewing the Atacama skies is truly impressive, visible even with the naked eye.
After meeting the guide in the reception the group will walk to the observation point, just five minutes away, along a dirt trail before reaching the steps that lead to the observation deck. There are some 50 stone steps to the top, and the trail is illuminated with hand rails on each side. The observation deck has six lounge chairs and the telescope. Once the group has assembled on the deck, the guide will give a 15-minute introductory briefing, before indicating planets, galaxies and the major stars and constellations of the southern sky, with the aid of a professional laser pointer. The guests are free to explore the galaxy as they wish, which is the advantage of a manually-operated telescope. Hot and cold drinks will be served during the experience. The return walk to the hotel takes the same route.