Fifteen years ago, cutting-edge hotelier Pedro Ibañez opened the first Explora—Hotel Salto Chico, a luxury eco-lodge in Patagonia—and pioneered a new way for travelers to experience South America’s most rugged landscape. He’s breaking ground again, 2,000 miles off the central coast of Chile, with a hotel on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, which is known for its monolithic moai statues. Only residents are allowed to build on the remote isle, so Ibañez partnered with free-diving champion Mike Rapu (who gave the hotel its quirky name, Posada de Mike Rapu). In true Explora spirit, the LEED-certified property—set between the Pacific and a massive volcano—takes its inspiration from the surrounding environment. The 30 spare-but-stylish ocean-facing rooms and suites are made from native woods and volcanic rock. During the excavation of the site, a prehistoric cave was discovered; a glass floor in one wing allows guests to get a peek at this natural wonder. Local guides take adventurers swimming in natural pools, biking to craters—and, of course, hiking to see those famous figures. Explora en Rapa Nui–Posada de Mike Rapu; 866/750-6699; explora.com; doubles from $2,334, including all meals and activities, three-night minimum.
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