Eolo Glamping Review

Arriving to Eolo in Patagonia’s La Anita valley is unlike any other hotel approach experience out there. Surrounded with nothing but windswept pampas and the peaks of the region’s iconic mountains as far as the eye can see, it’s hard to imagine that a luxurious property even exists round these parts. Surprising guests is part of what makes Eolo so alluring.

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After driving around, seeing nothing but the natural glory of Argentine Patagonia, Eolo appears as if out of nowhere, this low-lying lodge modeled after a classic sheep farm, an unexpected refuge in a desolate yet beautiful locale.

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Located 30 kilometers west of El Calafate, the touristy nucleus of this pocket of Patagonia where there are meaty restaurants and shops for souvenirs or whatever you may have forgotten to pack for the trip, Eolo really does act like a tucked away retreat. Set on a private 4,000-hectare estate with virtually no visible neighbor, you can’t dream up more reclusive accommodations in a region known for providing travelers with space, especially in the luxury market. And with only 17 private suites, things don’t ever get crowded at this property.

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Once you get inside, it’s all about subtle design touches, giving Eolo the warm intimacy of a private home. Worn-but-refined leather furniture, complementary antiques, carved wood, crisp linen, patterned area rugs and plush animal hide combine to create an atmosphere that honors the destination in a luxurious and relaxing way. There’s never too much to look but everything works together to deliver one design narrative: that there’s harmony between what’s inside and out.

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Private rooms are spacious and chic with beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows. (And the corner rooms get two!) There’s no hiding of Patagonia here. Same in the bathrooms, which are simple and rustic-looking. The showers come equipped with eye-level windows so there’s really no getting away from glorious views of the outdoors. And depending on which room you have, you could be peeking at Lago Argentino, La Anita valley, the Torres del Paine or the Rico branch.

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This is a Relais & Chateaux property so you know that food is going to be exceptional. Breakfast is a wonderful start to the day with a ton of sun usually flooding the dining room as you while away on fresh juices and flakey pastries.

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Your day will likely be spent on a excursion so Eolo can prepare a gourmet picnic lunch, which you’ve selected the day before, ticking little boxes to say you want sun-dried tomatoes in your sandwich and a brownie for dessert. You may not be at the hotel when you enjoy these treats, but the meticulously prepared boxes is one of the best examples of how exceptional the service is at Eolo. You feel like you’re being taken care of, even when you’re miles away from the staff.

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Dinner service is when Eolo’s full culinary prowess is unleashed when a menu of locally sourced deliciousness will be on offer. Each course provides a handful of choices – if you’re staying a few days you can sample them all – that will satisfy even picky eaters among us.

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A starter could be grilled local vegetables or soup while Patagonian lamb is usually among the options for a main course; but you are in Argentina, perhaps a perfectly seasoned cut of steak is the unbeatable choice. And don’t forget the wine. Eolo boasts a selection of vintages sourced from all over the great wine-making regions of the country.

Awasi: The Atacama Desert Oasis

At 10,000+ feet above sea level, less than a millimeter of rain per year, and miles of jagged salt flats, the Atacama Desert would seem to repel all things luxury…but then there’s Awasi. This lodge in San Pedro de Atacama has the coveted Relais & Chateaux seal of approval, and we quickly realized it wasn’t just its stunning design, unbelievable activities, award-winning food, and high thread count sheets that earned them five-stars—it is the unparalleled personal attention. There are over three dozen staff members for just eight rooms and every room comes with a private guide and chauffeur, dedicated to making your Atacama wishes come true. Awasi was an absolute oasis in the driest desert in the world.

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Originally a second family home, the property was inspired by the simple homes of the nearby archaeological site or an early Atacama village, Aldea de Tulor. The earthy buildings are round in shape and made with the traditional mix of adobe, mud, grass, and stone with a concrete core for modern-day stability.

03 Awasi Suite-HoneyTrek.com

The villas with brea-stick roofs may appear rustic from the outside, though inside they anything but. Our circular suite was so spacious and beautifully decorated with a mix of tailored and organic accents–from French settees to locally woven textiles.

04 Awasi Lounge-HoneyTrek.com

We had our first meeting with our guide in this chic outdoor lounge and quickly settled into its sea of colorful pillows. “First things first,” she said. “Can I get you a glass of Chilean wine?” Absolutely. She returned with two crisp glasses of Viognier (Awasi is all-inclusive, by the way) and discussed the slew of cultural and adventurous excursions to create our ideal itinerary.

05 San Pedro de Atacama Church-HoneyTrek.com

Our heads were racing with all the exciting possibilities in the area so we decided to get our bearings with a stroll through the town center, which was just outside Awasi’s front door. San Pedro de Atacama, a town that was actually apart of Bolivia until the 1800s, feels particularly unique to Chile. Its buildings are made of adobe, dripping with red clay from the incredibly rare and brief rain cloud that pass through–no matter if it’s a posh restaurant or the town church. It feels a bit like the the wild-west, filled with extreme athletes, hippies, luxe ladies, sun-worn locals, and flash-packers mingling in a town that has a character all its own.

06 Atacama Volcano

Looking down most streets you can catch glimpses of the snow-capped mountains and volcanoes in the distance. To get a better vantage point and to see how dazzling a sunset could be, we walked ten minutes out of town and up a tiny hill for this jaw-dropping vista. You’d think any vision of snow would be a mirage, but at 17,00 ft the Andes can beat the desert heat.

07 Awasi cuisine

We made our way back to Awasi for dinner and knew we were in for a treat. The incredible menu changes daily, each meal with multiple courses of Chilean-fusion cuisine presented to perfection. Case in point: the raspberry sorbet, served in a candied baby papaya topped with a caramelized crisp…How beautiful is that?!

08 Cejar Pond-HoneyTrek.com

We woke up early the next day for our first big excursion: A bike ride to Cejar Pond. Located in the middle of the Atacama Salt Flat, this pond is so salty that the buoyancy rivals the Dead Sea. What looks like white rocks around this pool are actually salt crystals.

09 Moon Valley-Atacama honeytrek.com

If there is one iconic spot in San Pedro de Atacama’s varied landscape, it would have to be the Moon Valley. Numerous travelers gather at its ridge for sunset but our guide had a secret peak in mind. Carrying a cooler of wine, cheese, crackers, fruit and mixed nuts, our amazing Awasi team led Mike and I up a steep hill for the most breathtaking and exclusive sun-downers.

10 Death Valley Atacama Awasi HoneyTrek.com

The next morning we slept in to enjoy a late breakfast, the hotel pool, and to gear up for some late-day horseback ride and stargazing. I’m not a rider, but when presented with the opportunity to gallop through the magnificent dunes of Death Valley, I suddenly found my equestrian within.

11 Atacama Stargazing

When 10pm stuck were swept away by Awasi’s resident astronomer Jorge Antonio Corante Fernández and into the desert abyss for our stargazing session. With a rainfall of four inches every 1,000 years, and 0% humidity nearly every day of the year, the Atacama has some of the clearest and most spectacular night skies. Jorge had all the knowledge and high tech telescopes to teach us about all the stars we never get to see in the Northern Hemisphere and more.

12 Tatio Geysers

The thing we loved most about Awasi is that the luxury isn’t confined within the walls of their lodge; it follows guests wherever they go. This sit-down sunrise breakfast, aside the steaming Tatio Geysers, is one of many examples. With Awasi, wherever we wanted to go, whatever we wanted to do, it was always possible and achieved with unforgettable style.


Anne and Mike Howard are creators of the around-the-world honeymoon blog HoneyTrek.com and Trip Coaches or those looking to extensively travel the world safely, affordably and off the beaten path. You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @HoneyTrek.


Glamping Review: Tierra Patagonia

As I turn the lights off in preparation for bed, I head to the window, in need of some fresh air. I crack it slightly, and the sound of the howling wind rushes in. Just across Lake Sarmiento, the snow on the surrounding peaks reflects the moonlight, even as low clouds roll in around it. Stars dot the sky, and there’s not a sound to be heard except for that of the breeze.

The breathtaking view from my room at Tierra Patagonia is a constant reminder of the hotel’s remoteness, enveloped by the vast landscape of Chilean Patagonia. An hour’s drive from the nearest town, and four hours from Punta Arenas Airport, getting there requires an abundance of commitment and time. Though the logistics may seem daunting, Tierra’s location ensures that you’re fully immersed into the magnificence of your surroundings, and only adds to the extraordinary nature of a trip to the end of the world.


The property itself is an architectural marvel. Built low into the landscape, it’s hardly visible until you drive right up to the front door. The wooden structure looks like the cross section of an airplane wing, sloped and curved. Massive wood and glass doors allow you into the reception area, and a wide hallway leads to common areas ahead. To the left, two flights of stairs lead to rooms and suites, and the formal dining room is to the right.


For me, speechlessness is a rare occurrence, but the design of Tierra Patagonia took my breath away. Plush chairs face the giant windows, with views of Torres del Paine National Park and the Cordillera del Paine, the park’s central mountain range. To the side, a more intimate sitting area surrounds a giant, hand-illustrated map of the park, with a scattering of reading lamps providing soft, ambient light. A round fireplace separates the living room from the bar and dining area.


Trinidad, the manager on duty, escorts me to my room, where my luggage is already waiting. The room design mirrors that of the rest of the hotel, with hardwood floors and plush rugs. A king bed faces the window, while comfy chair and hanging lamp occupy one corner. Back in the entryway, a closet (with polished rocks as knobs), has plenty of space for clothes, as well as a small chest of drawers and safe. The bathroom has dual sinks and a massive white bathtub, while two opaque glass doors separate the toilet and walk-in shower from the rest of the bathroom. Perhaps the neatest feature is the long, rectangular window above the bathtub, which allows for an uninhibited view of the mountain landscape through the room’s larger window. L’Occitane shower amenities are lined up on the counter, while a plush bathrobe and slippers sit next to the tub. A reusable metal water bottle, perfect for excursions, is a welcome gift from the hotel.


After settling into my room, I head back to the common area to chat with the guides about tomorrow’s excursions. Rosario, one of the many guides on property, sits down with me and explains the day’s various trips. Both full day and half day excursions are offered, though after hearing about my length of stay and interests, Rosario suggests two full day excursions. On Saturday, I will head out on a driving tour of Torres del Paine National Park, ending with a boat trip out to Grey Glacier, and on Sunday I’m to attempt an 18km (~11mi) hike to the base of the Torres del Paine, the park’s namesake granite peaks. These two trips would allow me to see most of the park’s important landmarks in the shortest amount of time, while providing incredible photo opportunities.


By the time I’m finished up with Rosario, dinner service has already begun. Served in the main dining room, the food focuses on Chilean-influenced modern fare, made with fresh, local ingredients. The choices were different each night, but typically consisted of three appetizer choices, three entree choices, and two dessert choices. Everything was delicious, from the beef tenderloin with potatoes to the Chilean-style lamb stew. Desserts hit all the right notes, be it key lime pie or chocolate fudge dollop served atop a fresh cookie. Those staying under the all-inclusive package also have their choice of drinks, with house wines and spirits included. It’s difficult to go wrong with a Chilean red wine, and the wines served on property were no exception.

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It’s Sunday morning, two days into my stay. The breakfast is impressive, with a huge variety of meats, cheeses, yogurt, juices, breads, and about six different kinds of jellies and jams. Huge, juicy squares of pineapple, honeydew, and cantaloupe are laid out, along with delicious grapes. Scrambled eggs and a french toast variant are also offered. It’s the perfect balanced breakfast, and good fuel for the body. I’m steeling myself for this morning’s eighteen kilometer hike.

It’s a relatively big group today; nine guests plus our guide, Catalina, a Ch. On the drive to the trailhead, she explains our route for the day. It’s a nine kilometer uphill hike to the base of Towers, some 2870 feet up, where we’ll eat lunch before heading back down. Eight hours of hiking are estimated.


So, we set off. The scenery is beautiful, with small streams and footbridges crisscrossing the path, and horses climbing a parallel route. The scenery is lovely and varied, ranging from lush forests to mountain overlooks. Roughly three hours in, Cata stops so we can take a break before heading into hour four, the immediate ascent to the lookout point.


It becomes immediately obvious that it will be a long, strenuous final kilometer. Dirt trail gives way to a wall of rock, taunting us with a quick glimpse of the peaks of the towers. At this point, Cata really shone, encouraging everyone and charting the best way to scale the last obstacle between us and lunch. After another forty-five minutes of climbing, we finally made it up to the base, where a turquoise glacial lake stood between us and a nearly unobscured view of the massive monoliths, reaching far into the sky.


It is a wonderful, fulfilling moment, not unlike the entirety of my stay at Tierra Patagonia. There is something inherently special about spending three nights at the end of the world, but the ambience at Tierra only adds to that remarkable feeling. The staff is second-to-none, and vibe is relaxing from the get-go. It’s a true immersion into the spirit of the land, an embrace that holds on tight and never lets go.