Guided Adventure and Cultural Immersion at New Explora Lodge in Patagonia National Park
Newest destination from pioneer of exploration travel in remote region invites travelers to hike, pedal, and make high ascents in southernmost South America
The leader of expedition travel in remote regions of South America, Explora is back where it started with a new destination amid the natural beauty at the southern tip of the continent. Introducing Explora Patagonia National Park, a 10-room setting in the Chacabuco Valley with myriad offerings for travelers, including dozens of explorations through the wilderness and cuisine conceived by the team from “Don Julio,” named Best Restaurant in Latin America by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021.
Explora has a deep history in Patagonia, having launched operations alongside the glacial waters of Lake Pehoé and the surrounding peaks of Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile, back in 1993. Spanning 640,000 acres of austral territory, Patagonia National Park was created when Tompkins Conservation, a non-profit founded by Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and her late husband, Douglas Tompkins, from Patagonia, The North Face, and Esprit, began donating land, including a sheep farm in the Chacabuco Valley, to the Chilean government to create a park. Today the park is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with protected public access to forests, mountains, rivers, glaciers, grasslands, winding rivers, and wild guanacos. Explora knows the area intimately, having assumed the park management in summer 2021 under a 25-year contract (with an option for five more years).
Your Base of Exploration
The Explora Lodge at Patagonia National Park has history too. Built in 2006 by the Tompkins Foundation, the lodge was designed to blend into its surroundings and cause as little interference as possible to the natural environment. Inspired by structures from iconic national parks worldwide and designed in keeping with the traditional architecture of Patagonian estancias, the handsome, stonewalled Lodge is newly refurbished, with renovations in Explora’s minimalist style to the lounge, exploration and meeting areas, as well as the Bar.
Travelers are welcomed with 8 standard rooms ranging from 270 sq. feet to 350 sq. feet, and 2 suites sized from 380 sq. feet to 460 sq. feet. All are arrayed with handsome wood furniture and furnishings and striking black-and-white photographs of local fauna, including pumas, zorros, and guanacos, as well as gorgeous views of the Tamango and Tamanguito hills and the park beyond. Accommodations are also furnished with king bedding; select units can be outfitted with an additional bed for children and can also be interconnected for the convenience of families.
The Culinary Theme of Fire
Guests of the Lodge will dine and drink splendidly throughout their stay, with a gastronomic concept designed by Pablo Jesús Rivero and Guido Tassi, owner, and consulting chef, respectively, of Don Julio in Buenos Aires, recently ranked as the Best Restaurant in Latin America according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021.
Explora Patagonia National Park’s cuisine is based on fresh and local products grown by small producers from Patagonia and designed to highlight the gaucho lifestyle of estancias throughout the region. “Fire” is the theme of Pablo Rivero’s menu for Explora’s newest destination in Patagonia National Park. Adjacent to Explora’s restaurant, guests will find a Zona de Fuegos outfitted with a barbeque area, a grill, and a wood-fired oven. Guests will enjoy meals in Explora’s restaurant, but pre-dinner drinks are also offered in the adjacent “Fire Zone,” where snacks will be prepared over an open fire.
The culinary concept for Explora Patagonia National Park is based on the interpretation of the vast Patagonian landscape, nature, and culinary traditions. Only seasonal ingredients are used by small, local producers who follow specified farming criteria. Wines are carefully selected exclusively from Chilean wineries. The produce is what matters most; it plays the leading role and is presented without excessive fanfare – handcrafted and meticulously executed, but simple at the same time.
Adjacent to the dining rooms, the newly renovated Exploration Rooms and Bar are the place for travelers to gather, get to know each other, and share details of the day’s explorations and those to come. Relaxing and intimate, the Bar is laid out with comfortable Vitra sofas, low-slung tables, and lounge chairs from Tribu and Frederica.
Explorations Designed for Immersion
In keeping with all-inclusive programming at every Explora destination in South America, Explora Patagonia National Park offers 32 crafted explorations through 6 different exploration zones within the national park, each with its unique geographic, cultural, and biosphere characteristics. Designed for immersion and discovery, explorations depart from and return to the lodge and are led by Explora-trained and -certified guides with itineraries including travel on foot, horseback, and e-bikes, as well as overland by van, over rapids via kayak, and even high ascents for truly remote exploration.
Rates, Combinations & More
Explora Patagonia National Park welcomes travelers for minimum stays of 2 nights, with guided bi-lingual explorations, dining, an open bar, and roundtrip transfers from Balmaceda airport included. Rates start at USD 1,090 per person per person/per night. Combining several Explora lodges is recommended, including Explora Torres del Paine, Chile, and Explora El Chalten in Argentine Patagonia. A new service, Explora Connects, is a private charter service offering small and medium plane flights between Torres del Paine and Patagonia National Park in Chile. Please check Explora’s website for the current flight schedule. The result is a new Explora Patagonia Circuit unmatched in convenience, ease of access, and adventure.