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“Travesia from Atacama desert to Uyuni salt flat” 3 of 5 stars
Review of explora Atacama

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explora Atacama
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Domingo Atienza s/n | Ayllu de Larache, San Pedro de Atacama 7580150, Chile   |  
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Paris, France
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Travesia from Atacama desert to Uyuni salt flat”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2011

We chose the Hotel de Larache as the start point of our Travesia to Uyuni salt flat (with Explora as well). As at the 2 other Explora properties at Torres del Paine & Rapa Nui, the proposed excursions are excellent with very knowledgeable guides. However, the hotel itself is not as impressive as the 2 other Explora properties. Some equipments such as the swimming pools require a better cleaning & maintenance.

Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Atacama, responded to this review, August 25, 2011
Dear traveler,

We are grateful for your time and effort to review your explora travel experience to our three lodges in Atacama, Patagonia and Easter Island. Naturally, we wish your experience had been perfect in all three destinations. While that overall seems to the case, you’ve pointed out some shortcomings in the pool area of our Atacama lodge. Due to the surroundings and setting of the pools, we have a dedicated team of 4 employees to ensure proper cleaning and maintenance. Rest assured that your feedback is taken very seriously and will be addressed and corrective actions taken.

Allow me to point out that we are honored to have you as a returning guest who has not only traveled with us in all three explora destinations, but also embarked on our nomadic journey - an explora Travesia - from the Hotel de Larache in Atacama to the Uyuni salt flats. The explora Travesias are about savoring the moment and the spirit of travel while exploring the inimitable nature and culture of South America’s most remote regions. Rather than focus on a fixed geographic area, the Travesias expands over extensive distances, creating an intense travel experience. In many ways the nomadic journeys are what the explora manifesto defines as the heart of our philosophy of travel: Enjoy the journey.

Again, we appreciate your feedback. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
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226 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2011

A remote and dramatic landscape where the staff makes you feel welcome, proyected and at home.
A young team of guides lead you throughout a myriad of fascinating sights, feeding you on remote lakes, mountains and rivers. Fine jeeps take you to gleizers and moon valleys at sunrise bringing you back to an infinite pool for a relaxing swim followed by expert massages that leave you ready to enjoy your delicious "Pisco Sour" by the terrace.
Un unforgettable journey!

Rebeca de Vives
Boston, Ma.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Atacama, responded to this review, August 25, 2011
Dear traveler,

Thank you taking the time to review your explora experience.

I am glad to read in your review that you took advantage of our full day explorations, which offer a deluxe pick-nick in a pristine outdoor location. Not all of our 50+ excursions in the Atacama Desert return to the explora lodge around mid-day for lunch in our restaurant or on our outdoor terrace. Full-day excursions offer a gourmet lunch presented on tablecloth, including soup, sandwiches, desert, fruit, hot coffee and tea and much more.

One of my favorite outdoor meal is an early afternoon snack at the Puritama´s Hot Springs.

Remember that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

Thank you for your enthusiasm for explora.

With kind regards,

Jesús Parrilla
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Culebra, Puerto Rico
Top Contributor
193 reviews 193 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 84 cities Reviews in 84 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2011

Had a very enjoyable stay. Rooms were great - great view, minimal furnishings, great baths. Pool area - never used by guests. Service was excellent. Guides were very personable. Guests seems to be less into hiking than at the Explora Patagonia. We hiked everyday and the management was very helpful in assuring we got to hike as much as possible. Would definately go back again. Much better location than several other high end hotels - which are in the midst of town. Town is dusty and much too touristy. Only found a couple of great local artist shops - one was a local weaver.

Room Tip: room with a view of the mountains is a must
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, Gerente General / CEO at explora Atacama, responded to this review, August 4, 2011
Dear traveler,

Thank you for taking the time to review explora Atacama. We are grateful for your kind comments.

I am happy to hear that you were able to experience the pool area all to yourself. After all, we thrive to create a private sanctuary in the desert. explora travelers really seem to enjoy the hotel’s pool area, it remains the perfect spot to melt after a long day of desert exploration. We recently transformed two of our four saunas into Turkish Baths and a pair of open-air Jacuzzis offers space for 10 guests right next to our four pools with varying temperatures.

Your comment about “hiking as much as possible” represent well the sentiment of many travelers that visit us – that’s an integral part of what we do. I found your observation about guests being less into hiking than in Patagonia a very interesting one as our statistics show a similar percentage number of travelers doing hikes than in Patagonia. This may have been the case during your visit as fellow travelers may have had other interest such biking, mountain climbing, cultural activities, etc. I hope that you’ve also taken advantage of our stables on each property, riding remains to be one of the finest ways to explore our destinations. We’ve also created enough diversions on property to ensure that guests who don’t want to go on two daily excursions can relax in our library, the pools, the exploration room or enjoy the magnificent views of the surrounding volcanoes from our elevated terrace on top of the explora lodge. In short, we aim to help travelers discover the environments in which we operate as well as the explora grounds.

Lastly, thank you for highlighting the location of explora Atacama. We are in a private setting yet not far from the town of San Pedro, it’s a short stroll, a quick bike ride or a hop on an explora van, which will happily drop our guests off/pick them up in town.

Again, thank you for your feedback.

Sincerely,

Jesus Parrilla
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Top Contributor
1,003 reviews 1,003 reviews
162 hotel reviews
Reviews in 195 cities Reviews in 195 cities
1,640 helpful votes 1,640 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2011

This is one of those trips that the hotel really makes the difference. In addition to providing their own tours to all unbelievable Atacama sites in comfortable vehicles, under the care of "politely informal guides" and true "gourmet picnics," we can see clearly that all the hotel staff is committed to providing a unique experience of satisfaction, increasing so much the beauty of the place with insuperable care and luxury. From a simple visit to the village to a bird watching in the Salar, from the Geisers del Tatio awakening by the sunrise to the cycling to Laguna, from the conquest of Toco to Licancabur´s rise, from the rest in the beautiful swimming pool complex to the unforgetable astronomy class... everything was magic. Thanks for everything, especially the natives Rene (guide) and Cristian (bartender). By the way, I find it interesting the initiative from Explora to walk toward the professionalization of local tourism by training locals to deal with tourists (in our experience, we were much better instructed and assisted for those than for the others, non-natives).

Room Tip: If you have already been to another Explora hotel, you shoul ask for an up-grade, upon availability.
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  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calgary ab
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2011

In May I traveled to Chile staying first with explora in Patagonia (amazing!!!) and then up to Atacama at the Hotel de Larache.
The explora lodges are simply amazing and the one thing that stuck with me after traveling with them is that I returned home truly feeling as though I explored these regions in depth. It was one of the most active holidays I'd ever had - hiking, biking, horseback riding all day, eating gourmet cuisine, sipping on fine wines, enjoying the beautiful pool areas and company of good friends.

Here are a few excerpts from my blogs while I was there that covers the hotel and various excursions we took in:

This region offers a number of comfortable and luxury accommodations, but I really think explora does it the best. The lodge is wonderfully designed with different areas - the area where you meet with your guides, information and areas showcasing education on Atacama, dining, large comfortable living area and the bar, and an AMAZING pool area. They offer 4 different pools with varied temperatures, saunas, Jacuzzis, very relaxing after all the activities that there is to do. During the high season, and depending on occupancy in the low season, every Saturday the hotel offers a typical barbecue outside, roasting lamb over the fire, lots of great food, music, dancing, we had this last night and for sure a highlight. explora also has their own stables for horseback riding and as I mentioned, the observatory.

As mentioned before, everything is included here, so each night you meet with the guides and they will ask you what types of activities you would like to, and what kind of experience you want out of your time here. They are very good at matching you up with varied tours (over 50 in Atacama).
Being here the last 4 days, I really feel like I`ve explored this region in depth, and not just seen the `touristy` highlights. They do a great job of offering excursions that most people do not do and are constantly looking for new hikes and activities.

This is one of the most active holidays I`ve taken, but I`m convinced it`s the way to go. Sure it gets tiring once and while, but the experience is so fulfilling! Some of the people in our group never do these types of activities at home, and they`ve all really enjoyed it as well. What a better way to see region than by foot, horseback, or bike!


The Atacama region has countless opportunities available for the exploring the area. explora offers over 50 excursions in this area, and it's so hard to choose what to pack in on a small timeframe. There are many highlights, the geysers, salt flats, sand dunes - but so many ways to do them, biking, hiking, horseback.

In the 4 days we had in Atacama, we really did a variety of landscapes and ecosystems. Because Atacama is at 8200ft, and the surrounding volcanoes and other areas can go up to 19,000ft, you have to ease into some of the excursions slowly.

The first day we arrived we started out with a hike to Death Valley, just outside of San Pedro. The views are spectacular, and you can really notice the altitude and shortness of breath. There are massive cliffs in the forefront, with towering sand dunes behind, and then the volcanoes in the distance. Late in the afternoon the colors are amazing! We hiked along the top of the valley to stop, take a couple minutes in silence to enjoy the serenity, and then take the shoes off and fly down the sand dunes! So fun!

The next day I was so tired, and almost cancelled the morning excursion but so glad I didn`t! We did an 18km bike through the end of town and to the salt lagoons. The minute I got on the bike I was thankful I went, it was a nice change from always being on your feet, and the scenery was wonderful. It felt so good to ride along slowly and take in the experience. The salt lagoon was so fun, the guides set up a little bar of juices and beers, and we all jumped in the lagoon (freezing) laughing and having so much fun. The Dead Sea has 27% salt, and these lagoons are at 22%, so very buoyant. Definitely a highlight of the trip!

That evening we drove 2 hours to the Salt Flats stopping in a small town called Trocanero (I think my spelling is wrong on this, need to check), walked around, which was great, interesting vegetation and wonderful views. The salt flats were amazing, different from what you would see in Bolivia because of the February rains, it isn`t flat, but more in bunches. Flamingos in the distance, ever changing colors as the sunset, it was perfect! Get back to town and enjoyed a local Chilean restaurant - by far one of my favorite days!

The following morning we took in a horseback ride through town, it was an easy level, so a bit slow, but was glad to get on the horse, try a bit of trotting and get back to town early to do some shopping!

In the afternoon we did a wonderful Cactus hike, I thought it sounded a bit boring, but you go into this canyon following flourishing vegetation along a creek of streams and waterfalls, climbing and maneuvering your way through. Really an adventure, and definitely another highlight! Awesome photography in this area!

Our last day, today, we woke up at 430am to drive 2 hours into the Andes to see the geysers. For me, it was an emotional morning, so tired, but the road was so bumpy there was no way I was sleeping! I cranked my music and just took everything in, watching the colors of the sky change from black to blue to pink, vicunas jumping across the road and climbing our way through the passes, I couldn`t help but reflect on this whole experience, feeling so thankful for what I`ve seen and done this week, tears in my eyes, and arriving at the geysers for the most spectacular sunrise!
On the return we stopped at the hot springs, which explora manages so have reserved the top pool at all times - truly am amazing way to end the last real excursion of our trip!

All in all this was a fabulous trip – I will definitely return to Chile one day!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, Gerente General / CEO at explora Atacama, responded to this review, August 4, 2011
Dear traveler,

Thank you for your very kind words about explora.

There is little to add to your enthusiastic and very detailed description of explora Atacama. What strikes me as truly important in your description is the variety and sheer amount of excursions that you’ve chosen during your stay at explora. We cater to all age groups and all levels of active travel and you seem to have chosen to take in as much as you can, which is wonderful.

The description of your explorations are exactly what we try to achieve. We enable travelers to get to know and, at the same time, to experience. It’s a fine balance.

explora wants you to satisfy your curiosity, to learn about nature and people, to get to know the geology, flora, fauna and culture of the places in which we operate. We want things to happen.

We offer in-depth exploration because we wanted our travelers to be able to interact with their environment and establish relationships with other people and to be a part of, rather than observing, each situation they encounter - engaging not only with reason but also with senses and emotions.

Thank you for sharing your explora experience!

Sincerely,

Jesus Parrilla
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santiago de chile
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2011

it was a magnifical experience, GUIDES where not as good as the say the are, in one exploration the guide was really in a hurry.

the hotel is way to big, the pools´ are too far away.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, Gerente General / CEO at explora Atacama, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Dear traveler,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your stay. We are thrilled to hear that your trip to explora Atacama was a magnificent experience.

Your comments, while succinct reflect a bit of a frustration with the distances and the amplitude of the lodge. Please allow me to properly address this.

The lodge is located on a plain known as the Ayllu de Larache, once inhabited by an ancient Atacameño community. We have respected the original layout of the land and restored and maintained some of the buildings. Our lodge is situated on 17 hectares (42 acres) and the pool area is located 150 meters (164 yards) away from the main building and 205 meters (224 yards) away from the farthest guest room. This area is secluded within our 17 hectares to ensure privacy, serenity and total relaxation. It is during this walk between the lodge and the pool area a time in which we invite travelers to explore the beauty of this restored oasis that houses over 1500 native chañar and pimiento trees byproduct of our reforestation plan. It is during this walking distance that we also push travelers to discover the exuberant play of local and migrant birds in the World´s driest desert.

Our 50-room lodge has an award winning architecture and architecturally acclaimed construction – its blend of modern South American style and traditional Andean influences has produced a hotel characterized by bold architecture, functional décor and strong colors. The hotel assures hospitable refuge inviting to enjoy all common areas in freedom while avoiding small, crowed or tight spaces.

Our guides are well-trained by experts in various fields and are very knowledgeable about the geographical areas in which our lodges are based. They can provide our travelers with expert orientation to help them choose the explorations which best suit our client’s interests and abilities. All have substantial knowledge about geology, botany, zoology, history among other disciplines. Cognizant of their need to grow and to continuously meet the expectations of well-traveled travelers, on an ongoing basis we offer our guides refresher courses and provide them with tools to enhance their knowledge and gain further specialization.

As far as your comment about the guide being in a hurry, it is hard to ascertain any reasons to rush through an exploration unless there were adverse conditions to carry out a specific activity. In any case, the guide should have carefully explained the situation and lay down a plan. For this we apologize and please rest assured that we will address our guides using your example to prevent this from happening in the future.

We thank you for your feedback and look forward to seeing you in the near future at another explora destination.

Sincerely,
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Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2011

I experienced four incredible nights at the Hotel de Larache in San Pedro de Atacama and the memories will last a lifetime. Definitely put this wonderful property and area on your bucket list! Where does one start when everything was so exquisite from the welcoming and attentive staff, the delicious gourmet food and wine at every meal, the expert guides and explorations(hiking, horseback riding, biking, and more), the accommodations, the pool / spa area (great massages!), and to top it all off an observatory with a magnificent telescope to view the heavens. Highlights for me were the food and wine, the excursions to explore the area, the observatory, and the staff.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, Gerente General / CEO at explora Atacama, responded to this review, July 15, 2011
Dear Traveler,

Thank you for posting your comments on TripAdvisor and for recommending us. We are thrilled to hear that the memories from your trip to Atacama will last a lifetime.

Your comments, while concise, encompass everything that we try to be – a way to travel to remote areas in South America, based on in-depth exploration of the surroundings and luxury of the essential. This would not be possible without attentive and caring staff, expert guides, well-selected and executed explorations, top of the line accessories such as the observatory and mountain bikes, inviting accommodations and carefully design and balanced meals with the right wine to go with it.

In reference to the massages and despite the fact we are not a SPA lodge, we frequently hear from our travelers that the massages are great, and many venture into describing them as the best ever.

We look forward to seeing you in the future and thank you again for taking the time to comment about your stay with us.

Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about explora Atacama

Address: Domingo Atienza s/n | Ayllu de Larache, San Pedro de Atacama 7580150, Chile
Location: Chile > Antofagasta Region > San Pedro de Atacama
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
#3 Luxury Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
#3 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
#3 Business Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — explora Atacama 4.5*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our lodge is located on a plain known as the Ayllu de Larache, once inhabited by an ancient Atacameno community. We have respected the original layout of the land and restored and maintained some of the buildings.Opened in 1998, our lodge is situated on 17 hectares (42 acres) of grounds just a few minutes' walk from the town of San Pedro de Atacama. In the area surrounding the lodge, we have maintained the ancient pathways and buildings which form a labyrinth that invites exploration.There are 50 rooms housed in three long buildings, positioned to form a central square planted with large trees for ample shade. On the fourth side of the square is the building which houses the lodge's public spaces. The views from the lodge's broad terraces enable you to enjoy Atacama's vast chain of volcanic mountains.In 2008, we set ourselves the challenge of intensifying your explora Atacama experience, remodeling the furnishings and the indoor and outdoor spaces. Now that the work is complete, we are pleased to be able to offer you new facilities and services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
De Larache Hotel
Resort All Inclusive De Larache
Explora Atacama San Pedro De Atacama, Chile

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