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.

Insider Safaris: Offbeat Meru

Most first time safari-goers head for the famous Maasai Mara or Serengeti, but for those in the know, Kenya’s Meru National Park is where the wild things are. One hundred and sixty miles north of Nairobi, the landscape is unlike any other with bright red cotton soil, the multi-branch doum palms, and 13 winding rivers that draw thousands of animals to its shores. Being an insider spot not only lends itself to fewer crowds, but more intimate accommodations, like the six-tent Offbeat Meru. We have so many favorite African safari camps from our HoneyTrek but when it comes down to good vibes and epic wildlife sightings, our love goes to Offbeat Meru.

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From the staff to the design, there is no pretension at Offbeat. The charming manager team welcomed us into camp, as did the all the waving and smiling guests that were enjoying themselves in the pool. We continued on to the open air lobby for check-in, settled into the chic linen sofas, sipped a cold ginger beer, and had the feeling wash over us…this is going to be a great stay.

Built in the the true safari-tent style, each canvas and screen escape embraces the outdoors with just enough luxuries to make us feel like we weren’t vulnerable to the elements (or wildlife). Our king-size canopy bed and outdoor living room was like a hotel suite but the hot bucket shower and monkeys at our door reminded us this is what a safari camp is all about.

04Fishing at Offbeat Safaris-honeytrek.com
One thing we particularly loved about Offbeat was their choose-your-own-adventure approach to itineraries. In the mornings and evenings, game drives were always available but activities like walking safaris or fishing at the watering hole were also fantastic options. We took a walking safari our first night and when we saw the crew catching huge catfish, sipping Tusker lagers and having a grand old time on the river, we joined the fishing action the following night.

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The next morning we got up before sunrise to watch the animals awake from their slumber and caught this fireball over the horizon of doum palms. The golden glow illuminating the gangling branches and red earth below was spectacular.

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All the safari vehicles come equipped with traditional Maasai blankets to combat the morning chill. Our guide Bernard gave me the inside scoop on how to wear one like a local.

Bernard’s tracking skills always brought us to the front row of the action. We were driving along and suddenly he suddenly pulled into the bushes, and low and behold there was a male lion relaxing in the shade! I’m still not sure how he knew this, but his sixth sense never ceased to amaze.

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For breakfast we picnicked at this lush watering hole filled to the brim with hippos. Instead of just hopping back in the car on a full stomach, we got to extend our stop at the river with a bit of fishing upstream. We caught four fish in a matter of minutes which added such fun to the morning and a whole new way to appreciate time in the savanna.

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A family of the endemic Reticulated Giraffes whizzed past us. The way their spots are outlined makes them particularly beautiful, but like all giraffes they still have a funny gallop with those long necks and skinny legs.

After nearly three months traveling Africa we’d seen hundreds of elephants, but we’d never seen one with tusks as massive as these. These long swaths of ivory seemed to stretch for miles and slash through the air like swords. We certainly knew this was not the kind of pachyderm you’d want to mess with, but he gave us a mock charge and a few snorts just to make it extra clear.

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Just when we thought we’d had the most eventful game drive, the most unbelievable sighting was yet to come! According to our East African wildlife field guide, the Beautiful Sand Snake has never been seen alive in Kenya…until it crawled right past our dining tent! The fearless assistant guide Mark saw it slither by and snatched it up before the moment was gone forever. This delicate, precious reptile seemed more legend than reality so in the name of science, the team held on to the snake until the specialists could come in to examine it. History was made and we are proud to say, we saw it first at Offbeat Meru!

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Between game drives, we always found ourselves dipping into their cool, calming pool.

On our final morning we arrived at the park’s premier event….the Meru Rhino Sanctuary! Poaching is a serious problem in Africa so the the Kenya Wildlife Service has created large protected areas for these 67 rhinos to roam safely. To even see an endangered rhino chewing grass is exciting but we were lucky enough to catch the most incredible father-son moment. Watch this elder rhino school his young on how to use the horn to defend himself and his territory.

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From unexpected picnics to fishing holes to pool-time, we love that Offbeat Safaris is about so much more than game drives. The wildlife is among the best in the country but it’s the remote and intimate nature of camp that makes this safari lodge one of Kenya’s best kept secrets.

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

Immerse Yourself in Kamu Lodge

The best travel experiences are when you can truly immerse yourself in a new culture…and they are often the hardest to come by. So how can you gain access into fascinating far-flung communities without relying on chance encounters or an Abercrombie & Kent price tag? Well in Laos, the answer is Kamu Lodge. Thirty kilometers up stream from Luang Prabang, this 20-hut lodge was built in conjunction with the neighboring Kamu tribe as a way to preserve and honor their traditional way of life—farming the land, fishing the rivers, and crafting everything by hand—by inviting guest to be apart of it. By teaching their trades and sharing traditions with guests, villagers not only gain income by working at the lodge but a large portion of the proceeds goes directly back into the community in the form of schools, health care, and a micro-financing development fund. Of all the accommodations we stayed at during our honeymoon around the worldKamu Lodge was easily one of the most enriching.


Our boat went full steam up the Mekong river along the limestone cliffs and docked on the sandy beaches of Kamu Lodge. The location felt a world away from the city where we started.

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The local villagers escorted us to our villas made of thatch roofs, canvas walls, and traditional furniture.  Our beds were thoughtfully decorated with bougainvillea petals and the bathroom was beautifully done and fully equipped. Far from roughing it, we took a hot shower (heated with solar) and then met the masseuse for an incredible couples massage.


The entire camp is centered around a working rice paddy with the restaurant and bar weaved into the terraces. Sitting on the patio, watching the emerald blades blow in the wind, and smelling the fertile earth beneath us, as we savored our homegrown rice with buffalo curry, was a one-of-a-kind dining experience.


After lunch, we took our first visit to the adjacent village to learn about local life. A baby had just been born so the community was celebrating the birth of their newest member with music and dancing. The houses here are small thatch dwellings with a single room for cooking and sleeping. Not much more is needed since most people spend their days in nature or the center of the village with family and friends.

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Rice is the most important staple of life in Southeast Asia and we were about to learn how to grow it. A farmer motioned me to take off my shoes and come into the paddy. I step into the water, the mud squishing between my toes, and he hands me a seedling to plant into the earth. The technique is to corkscrew it into the ground about eight inches apart from the previous plan and in just a few months it will fill into a field of mature rice, ready to harvest.


After we learned how to grow our food, we learned how to catch it. This stared with a lesson archery followed by net fishing. While most Kamu aren’t hunting with a crossbow anymore, fishing is still a daily practice. The technique is to hold the net at the edges, wind up your torso and throw it as far and flat as you can. This is a workout—especially when it can take dozens of tries to catch a fish!


We went to dinner and were surprised with a private table in the paddy! It was magical to dine in the field with the glow of the moon and candlelight. We finished our meal and were invited to a special performance by the village. Sitting around the fire we took in traditional song and dance for a nightcap to a very special day.


The next morning we took a relaxing morning stroll along the shore and village, before heading back to Luang Prabang. Kamu Lodge has 2-day or 3-day packaged that include meals, activities, hikes and ample time to soak up the local culture and environs. No matter how long you stay, you’ll return with a an experience you won’t soon forget.

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.