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“Highlight of South American trip.” 5 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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Phoenix, Arizona
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Highlight of South American trip.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

Simple---just go, it's worth it.

Big thanks to guides: Alexandria, JJ, Joel, and Andres. Had some great conversations with each of them during my stay. I certainly didn't find the staff standoffish at all, everyone was very friendly and warm. Waking up to a volcano view every morning, horseback riding through sand dunes, and mountain biking through canyons---what more could you want?

Room Tip: I had room 39...had a wonderful view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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 4, 2013
Dear traveler,

Thank you very much for your very kind review of your explora Atacama experience.

I will make sure to pass on your feedback to the explora guide team and want say how much I appreciate you taking the time to write a review.

Please know that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA, a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts of 10% and room upgrades for repeat guests. For information, please visit our website.

We look forward welcoming you back at explora.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (20)
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Corpus Christi, Texas
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

My husband and I travelled to this lodge because we had really enjoyed Patagonia. I think I enjoyed Atacama more. It is in a desert, so it is not lush with tall trees, but they did an excellent job showing us the beauty that can be found in even desolate barren looking places (Sunset at the salt flats was amazing and we really enjoyed the cactus walk and the rainbow valley). We had read some criticism of the food but found it to be excellent. The room was quite comfortable and the staff exceedingly friendly and helpful. When I thought I would have to leave without tasting a rico-rico pisco sour, our friendly bar tender went into the steeping store of juice and made me one to cap off a perfect day (it has to soak for a week). if you go during their winter and want to see the geysers, ignore the 46-72 degree fahrenheit temperature guides and bring a fleece. it was 20 degrees when we arrived that morning. I was also pleased to have some time to ourselves. Not every minute was booked. It was a beautiful experience.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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 4, 2013
Dear traveler,

Thank you very much for your very passionate review.

I know that at first sight a desert can look barren and uninviting, but just as you’ve pointed out, the Atacama is full of beauty and life once you take a closer look and experience the destination the explora way: through walking, riding a bike or horse in the stunning landscape.

As for the explora rica-rica pisco sour, I am delighted to read that you were treated to this specialty. Let’s just keep the explora recipe among us, please!

Please know that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA, a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts of 10% and room upgrades for repeat guests. For information, please visit our website.

We hope to see you in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

This hotel is truly an experience. The excursions, the food and the amazing guides and staff, made this a very different holiday for us! To join with other people to discuss all the fabulous things we had seen was wondeful. The desert has never struck me as beautiful, but, when you are taken by experts, and informed about the area, you see things with new eyes! Loved every moment, and very impressed by the level of knowldge of the young people working at Explora! A once in a lifetime holiday!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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 4, 2013
Dear traveler,

Thank you very much for your complimentary review of your explora Atacama experience.

I am delighted to read your comment about the explora guides, which we take great care to select and train every year. Together, travelers and guides create a vital link to the explora experience and are essential to the philosophy that has kept the company at the top of the adventure travel genre in South America for more than two decades.

explora’s School of Guides includes practical and theoretical training in varied disciplines including: cartography, horseback riding, trekking, local communities, hospitality, and the ins and outs of leading travelers safely and securely via iGPS. Naturally all explora guides must earn certification as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). But training is one thing; a passion to reveal the beauty, culture and mystery of the remote is another. Again, we are delighted to read that you enjoyed your journey with explora.

Please know that after visiting one explora destination, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA , a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for returning guests. For information, kindly visit our website.

We look forward to having you back at explora.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

Explora is a fantastic hotel located 10mins walk from the central shopping street in San Pedro de Atacama. The focus at Explora is on excursions and experience, and it was great to sit down with one of the guides when I arrived to discuss what I wanted to focus on.
The hotel is set in expansive grounds with a big pool area. My room had a fantastic view of a volcano. The food in the restaurant was very nice with a focus on typical dishes, and again there is a lovely outdoor terrace with beautiful views.
The other highlight of this hotel are its stables with beautifully cared for horses. The horse riding at Explora was the highlight of my stay.
If you are looking at Explora´s other hotels in Easter Island and Torres del Paine, it´s worth noting there are booking discounts if you book 2 or 3 hotels for the same holiday.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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 4, 2013
Dear traveler,

Thank you for your review and feedback.

Indeed the very first encounter with an explora guide on property will be about helping travelers to define (or refine further) what they try to accomplish at explora. This is not to say that travlers can’t change their minds, but all explora stays are customized to each and every travelers goals and interests.

We thank you for your wonderful feedback about the explora guides, accommodations and food. And since you’ve mentioned our benefits, allow me to mention that explora celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and that we’ve taken our benefits to yet another level to celebrate:

Returning travelers who enroll in explora adventures through Club Exploradores del Sur de América (CESA) will enjoy savings of 10% off the total price of their reservation. That’s up from the 5% discount previously offered by the program.

Likewise, travelers employing explora Passport to combine two explora destinations in a single trip now receive a 10% discount – or a 15% discount on three or more destinations. The offer is good on all explora offerings in the Atacama Desert, Patagonia and Rapa Nui (Easter Island), as well as on explora Travesías. Furthermore, explora is waving the single supplement for solo travelers at all of its lodge destinations from April 15 to October 15, 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
157 reviews 157 reviews
60 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

I previously stayed at Explora Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile. I loved it, and was expecting Explora Atacama to be just as good. I would say that the place need a little TLC. It was beat up, the paint was peeling, the staff was a little standoffish and the food at the restaurant was very mediocre. The restaurants in the little town of San Pedro de Atacama were better. Very disappointed.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, May 20, 2013
Dear traveler,

Thank you very much for your feedback about your explora experience in October 2012.

I am very saddened to read about your experience and apologize if our staff has not treated you as kindly as you should expect. The last major renovation of explora Atacama was finalized at the end of 2008, and I am surprised to read that you felt the lodge needed improvements.

Due to the nature of the harsh weather, maintance and up is a daily thing in Atacama, but not to the point you expressed since last year as a result of the heavy rains in the month of February there was a major "cosmetic" overhaul to the exterior of the lodge.

Regardless, I take you feedback very seriously and will investigate your complaints.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

I just stayed here and had an overall amazing stay. I would recommend the hotel to all my fam and friends.

The best part about ExPlora is the excursions and the modern design of the Atacama hotel.

The Design: the hotel is well designed. The rooms are cozy. The shower is strong and amazing. The dining room is very zen and modern. All the bathrooms and fixtures are new and modern. The pool area is beautiful. I mean even getting to the 4 pools felt like a walk thru a desert Wonderland with huge wheat plants and a wooden walkway. Great landscape design. You feel like it is a special haven. But the actual pools need to be re-done. The pool walls/floor was a little worn.

The food: The food was great although I do wish they had more than two main course options for dinner or lunch. We stayed here for 4 days/3nights. And though they changed up the selection, I felt limited. I actually wish they had a typical meal option each night. Because all the food was upscale, you don't get a sense of the typical Chilean Meal. I had seared tuna. Ratatouille. Etc. But as a foreigner in an all inclusive, it seems like a typical simple fare would have been more special to sample. I hope they add a typical meal option so it gives guests a variation to the upscale food they serve. They also need options for kids. Each night the kids had a choice of steak and pasta or steak and potatoes. That was pretty boring 3 nights in a row.

The Excursions: The staff are friendly and courteous. They are knowledgeable. We had Andre for a few excursions. We loved him. He was very attentive, informative, and fun. I strongly suggest the geysers, Cejar lagoon, Puritama hot springs, sslajares de atacama (salt field) for excursions. I am sad to have missed the anti Plano but we had not enough time.

The cons: Laundry service is not quick. Took us 2 nights to get our clothes back not 1. Food options as mentioned. And a pool lining upgrade. Also, I had a massage which was more aromatherapy than real deep tissue massage. And there is no wifi in rooms. Nor a tv. Which may be a good thing if you want to break from the real world.

But that is pretty not picky items. Overall this is an awesome luxury oasis in the desert. We loved our stay there.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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, CEO / Gerente General at explora Atacama, responded to this review, May 20, 2013
Dear traveler,

Thank you so very much for your review and detailed feedback about your explora experience.
I want to thank you for mentioning some details about the explora architecture. explora’s founder and president, Pedro Ibanez, has been very involved with each explora lodge design process. While never ostentatious or accessorized with superfluous extras, explora lodges are build to enable an all-encompassing outdoor experience, with a focus on the luxury of the essentials. The lack of in-room TVs is by design, but we do have a TV room in near the front desk.

Luxury of the essential is the concept behind the food we prepare. We seek to enhance the original flavors of selected ingredients, avoiding excess and alteration. Our cuisine offers pure flavors based on the best-quality ingredients, many of which are produced locally. It is healthy and well-balanced, ideal for people going trekking, horseback riding while on other explorations. At explora Atacama we use quinoa to prepare salads, risotto and tabouli. Quinoa is a cereal that grows at 3,500 meters (11,482 feet) above sea level and which has been cultivated since time immemorial by the Atacameño people. We also serve Pataska, a local recipe from the area which consists of a delicious stew of sweetcorn mixed with vegetables. With the fruit of the chañar (Geoffroea decorticans), a tree native to Atacama which grows in the patios of the lodge, we make a thick, sweet honey which forms the basis of an unforgettable dessert: turrón de Chañar (nougat).

While not exclusively Chilean, many of the meals offered at explora Atacama have either ingredients or side-dishes of distinct Chilean origin. Again, the main goal of our culinary philosophy has always been to enhance your explora experience, that’s why we offer high-quality ingredients that are as fresh as possible given the remote locations in which we operate. explora offers a healthy and lighter cuisine that is designed to satisfy and enhance your energy level for the many outdoor excursions that we offer.

Children can always choose from the main menu and are never limited to a child menu, however, your feedback is very valuable and we’ll make sure to review the child menu again. We most definitely don’t want it to seem limited.

We do hope to welcome you back at an explora lodge. Please know that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA, a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests. For more information, please visit our website.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Kilbride, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013 via mobile

Explora atacama is a great exprience- an adventure so unique and cool - I would say it is almost a must!
- The best :
1. The guides( especially Roberto and Micaela) - are so knowledgeable, nice, attentive and fun- really bring this place to another level
2. The rooms( the deluxe rooms, the normal ones are dorm like rooms, would never sleep in that type of accomadation for these prices) -really big and well designed!
3.The trips- scenic, well organized and just beautiful wee trip( expoditions as they call them)
The worst-
The restaurant- seriously it is a bit of a joke- the food is ok on better days and inadible on other. The fish was defrosted on several ocassions and the flavours were just not there. Really expected better food for the price you pay to stay there! Also- they were really trying but were not successful at preparing Gluten free food. I got my alergies . And really bad. At Least they tried and the manager cybil was really nice and attentive.
To sum up- amazing experience but they have to improve the level of food( and keep the great guides )

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, CEO / Gerente General at explora Atacama, responded to this review, May 20, 2013
Dear traveler,

Thank you very much for your review. While a mixed review, we thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.

Regarding your comments about the food, we are sorry to hear you found it to be just OK. Please allow me to state that lthe uxury of the essential is the concept behind the food we prepare. We seek to enhance the original flavors of selected ingredients, avoiding excess and alteration. Our cuisine offers pure flavors based on the best-quality ingredients, many of which are produced locally. It is healthy and well-balanced, ideal for people going trekking, horseback riding while on other explorations. We frequently cater to travelers with dietary restrictions and I am sorry to read that your gluten-free dietary requirements were not entirely met.

I am delighted to read that you enjoyed your room, but strongly disagree with your descriptions of other rooms. The explora Atacama lodge has 50 comfortable rooms, each designed to maximize silence and privacy. All rooms are tastefully designed with wooden ceilings and floors made of stone and tiles. Each has a small living area, a hydro massage bath and beds designed for deep, pleasurable sleep after a day of exploration.

Lastly, I am grateful for your exuberant comments about our team of guides, which explora trains each year in the explora school of guides.

As you probably already know, after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA, a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests. For information, kindly visit our website.

Yours truly,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
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 > Atacama 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:
#2 Luxury Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
#3 Business Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
#4 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
#4 Family Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — explora Atacama 4.5*
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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