May 07, 2009

Chile's most luxurious hotel, Explora en Atacama Lodge, has finally given guests a sybaritic way to rest their weary bones: the Turi Puri spa. After a day of horseback riding and hiking in the Atacama Desert, the world's driest expanse of land, visitors can rejuvenate themselves with hydrotherapy baths and lengthy massages. All of the treatments at the spa, whose name in Atacameño means "House of Water," use Turi Puri's signature brand of products, Kó, which are derived from regional plants (such as vitamin C­rich canella leaves), fruits (Pica lemons), and medicinal herbs (eucalyptus, chocolate). For those who can't make the trek, Kó's soaps and bath salts can be shipped anywhere. Explora en Atacama Lodge, St. Pedro de Atacama; 56-2/206-6060; www.explora.com; doubles from $2,592, minimum three-night stay; products from $35, at the lodge, or call 56-2/200-0547.
—Cheryl Brody

Explora en Atacama

The Altitude: 8,015 feet.

 

The Perch: On a 42-acre oasis in the Atacama Desert—the world’s highest—the explora looks out over volcanic peaks by day, and incredibly clear starscapes by night (even clearer when viewed from the hotel’s on-site observatory).

 

The Journey: Explora vans will pick you up from the airport in Calama, the closest major town (and a two-hour flight from Santiago); then you’ll take a one-hour drive through stretches of desert and mountain ridges to reach the lodge.

 

The Best View: No view disappoints, but any room between 35 and 43 overlooks the 19,000-foot Licancabur volcano, on the border where Chile meets Bolivia. Say the word and explora will lead you on a two-day trek to its summit, where you’ll find ancient Incan ruins and Laguna Verde, the world’s highest lagoon.

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