Explora AtacamaSan Pedro de Atacama, Chile
One of the first and best known hotels in the Atacama Desert, the Explora has been completely refurbished and is firmly back as one of the best hotels in the area.
The hotel shares a distinctive architectural style with its sister hotels in Patagonia, Easter Island and in Peru with airy open plan spaces, natural wood finishes and expansive windows to make the very most of the views. But what sets it apart from the other hotels in San Pedro de Atacama is that it occupies a site of 17 hectares (42 acres) with a large open courtyard shaded by acacia trees, its own stables so that the horses are on site, and even its own observatory for star gazing at night.
There is a spa area with 4 interconnected swimming pools set in a landscaped desert garden, with sauna and steam rooms nearby. The 50 bedrooms are generously sized (a minimum of 30 square meters) and are positioned to make the most of the views.
There is a choice of over 40 excursions for guests to choose from, with a variety of treks and mountain biking rides to suit all abilities, and also guided excursions up to the Altiplano and to the Tatio Geysers. However, what we particularly like about the Explora Hotel is that the on-site stables house more than 20 horses which have all been trained to the highest standards and their riding programs cater for very experienced riders as well as novices.
Fifteen years ago the Explora Foundation bought the Puritama Hot Spring reserve totalling 8,000 hectares which is being declared a nature reserve.