A lush oasis in the midst of the majestic Atacama Desert in Chile, Alto Atacama conjures a sanctuary away from it all and the magnificent hotel structure in the desert says it all. The perfect harmony of its buildings and facilities with mother nature cannot be missed as it seems to blend with the terracotta-colored ridge that rises behind it creating an illusion that the hotel itself is a part of the mountains. Nothing beats its quietly evoking scenery in addition to all the comforts of the hotel’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment provide.
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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-colored ridge that rises behind it. The setting, the sweeping views, the tranquility 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 traveler’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 traveler, 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, horseback riding on a sand dune, and exploring ancient Incan ruins and petroglyphs are just a few of the 30 adventurous excursions offered, always led by highly trained local guides.