What to expect
- Sleep Quality
Last 5 reviews
Atacama Explora needs attention
My stay at Atacama Explora was unfortunately rather disappointing. The rooms are tired e.g. peeling paint, overused / soft sagging mattresses & the safe was not working per instructions provided in the room. I had asked the gentleman that checked me in to see if anything could be done about the mattress issue, but nothing was done & I wasn't provided with any feedback either. The food options were rather average. There are no tea making facilities in the rooms; I thus asked for tea bags, milk & sugar to be left in my room, so that I could make it myself. Instead I found a cold pot of already made tea in my room when I retired for the night. On my last day my laundry was returned without ironing. There may have been a language barrier, but given the international guests visiting this establishment, I expected English to be reasonably well understood. Personally, I would have expected the morning explorations in this dry arid area to be started earlier than 9am, especially given how hot it gets there in the summer. climbing up a dune at 10:30am when it is already hot, is not at all pleasant. I shared my thoughts on that with the guide on the day.
We had stayed at 2 other Explora hotels before. This one was as wonderful as the others. We loved the daily explorations. The guides were so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They discussed with us the hikes every day to find out what would best fit our interests. The hotel itself is like a big beautifully designed hazienda. The 4 pools (one heated) are large and also well designed. Everything is well organized, from the pickup/drop off at the airport to all other activities. The rooms are large, very clean, and the beds very comfortable. The observatory was an additional plus, as we had never been to one and enjoyed seeing Saturn and the moon. We also appreciated their consideration for the environment. No plastic bottles at this hotel! What a wonderful place!
Great hotel and perfect location to explore the desert
If you are a photographer, book the half day over land excursions. They are very hike focused here and the problem with that is the time photographers need is not there on the hike versions. You have to keep moving!! The overland version of the hikes get you to the location and you have a lot more time to explore the light and get their right photo. But if all you shoot is on an iPhone, the hikes will be fine. One of our travelling companions was told to stop taking pictures and that she was in the wrong group. We did not experience that rudeness but we did only one hike then switched to the overland versions of the destination we wanted to photograph. Four full days was perfect. Guides are well trained and know a lot about flora, fauna, geology and history. Most are gregarious and engaging. The food is excellent and the accommodation as well, just like the other Explora sites. The architecture is stunning with a view of the volcanos. Some might feel the cost is too much. However, if you have to do all your organizing separately and add up all the costs not to mention the time it will take to source and evaluate and book each item, Explora is excellent value. The all inclusive price is good value for the level of service and dedication to getting it right.
Superb basecamp from which to explore the Atacma Desert
I have spent all of my adult life traveling for science and pleasure to the world’s most iconic and remote regions, from Antarctica to Tanzania. This review, the first that I have ever written, is about explora Atacama where we recently spent three weeks. It applies equally well to the two other explora venues we have visited, explora Sacred Valley Peru, two weeks 2018, and explora Patagonia Chile 2017, two weeks. Two sets of attributes make explora very special. First is the quality of the staff, especially the guides. We learned in conversations with our guides that to become an explora guide they must meet three sets of criteria. One, he or she, almost equal numbers, must be proficient in Spanish and English. Most are proficient in at least one other language. They must have a university degree in any field. They must also have a track record of personal travel to foreign lands. Many had lived abroad for a year or more. Two, the prospective guides with these qualities are then required to attend a two-week training camp at explora’s ranch in Patagonia, where they are taught to ride the acclaimed explora horses and are assessed for their leadership skills in wilderness settings. Three, those who pass the test advance to additional 3 to 5-week training at an explora lodge where academics from universities in Chile and elsewhere teach them about the cultural history, geology, and biology of the region, and about astronomy. They also learn about safety and how to deal with issues that could require first aid when on explorations away from the lodge. I have climbed high peaks on every continent. I would welcome an explora guide as a hiking, climbing or travel partner anywhere. Second, the infrastructure at each explora venue. The lodges are comfortable and have every amenity needed to recover from a full day on the trail on foot, horse or bike; hot tubs, saunas, massage, and lap pools. Cuisine is locally sourced to support the local economy and superbly prepared. In 21 days at explora Atacama, few menus were repeated. If you have food issues as I do such as gluten and lactose, and we are fish eating vegetarians, the chef and staff seemed to take delight in creating dishes to meet our needs. Within a few days of arrival everyone knew our personal dietary needs. That is one of many examples of how each member of the staff cares about the individual needs of their guests.
superb hotel with the best excusrions
stayed for 4 nights and had a wonderful time. The best part was the trips out...Having arrived at 4.30pm a guide was waiting to meeting us to offer us a private trip at 5pm!. We took a variety of other trips, and several were exclusive to this property...for example a walk down Lunar valley....their private pool in the hot springs! we were made to feel special at all times...the staff were truly amazing and helpful...the guides very knowledgeable and with a fun sense of humour. They even coped with a bout of altitude sickness...rustling up a doctor in under an hour...and going to collect the medicines. the room was a nice size with a comfy bed.....the restaurant and food were great...though the lunch food was of stunning quality...the evening food not quite so. This is surely the best place to stay in the atacama...highly recommended and thank you to all of the team for making our stay so special
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