Chile Adventure Honeymoon in 15 Daysby Sarah Murphy and Stefaan duPont of Miles & Miles
Chile has long been a popular destination for adventure seekers, foodies, wine enthusiasts and photographers alike. When the traveling duo behind Miles & Miles, Sarah Murphy and Stefaan du Pont, tied the knot after 17 years together, their first order of business was to plan an adventure honeymoon. Curated by Kiwi Collection and featuring Tierra and explora, two of the region’s most luxurious, adventure-driven brands, the couple’s 15-day escape spans the coastal charms of Chiloé Island, towering peaks of Patagonia and otherworldly geology of the Atacama Desert.
Days 1-3 Chiloé Island
From Santiago, hop on a quick flight to Puerto Montt, Chiloé’s main airport. It’s a three-hour drive including a quick ferry ride to Chiloé Island, which sits off the coast of southern Chile, and is home to historic wooden churches and rolling pastoral landscapes.
Head into the quaint town of Castro where you can find local artisan handmade Chilean sweaters and crafts at Feria Artesanal y Mercado Campedino Lillo. Stop for a pick-me-up yerba mate and empanada at the adorable Sizigia cafe which also runs as a boutique hotel. Once you’re fueled up take a stroll to see the colorful palafitos (houses on stilts over the water). Head further to Dalcahue to shop for more beautiful handmade jewelry, hats, socks, sweaters and alpaca ponchos. Take a day trip to Muelle de las Almas, a half day hike along the wild windswept Pacific Coast.
Mimicking the traditional stilt architecture of the area, Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa sits perched on a lush green hilltop with the Pacific coastline at its heels. This bucolic landscape is just a sliver of what makes this place heaven. Take an excursion on their private boat, Williche, through fjords and the islands of the Chiloé Archipelago. Hop on horseback or bicycle and explore the 150 acres of rolling hills surrounding the property, or simply enjoy the in-house spa and heated outdoor pool. While enjoying a locally-sourced meal, watch the sun set over the water through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Days 4-6 Lake Sarmiento
A short flight from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas (or Puerto Natales in peak season only) and a five-hour drive brings you to Torres del Paine. Known for its incredible landscapes, hikes and wildlife, the opportunities for adventure are endless.
Located just outside of Torres del Paine National Park, there’s the vast and remote landscape of Baguales. Pack snacks and take a drive down the seemingly endless roads, spotting caracara (pictured), condors and guanacos along the way. If you’re lucky, you’ll even stumble upon fossils dispersed along the many river beds. Next, break in the hiking boots with a short half-day walk along Cornisas, a ridge with views as far as the eye can see. For an afternoon excursion, head into the park for an easy stroll to Salto Grande and watch the tips of the Torres turn pink as the sun goes down at Cuernos Lookout.
Blending effortlessly into the landscape and located a stone’s throw from Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa is a feast for the senses. This sustainable and swanky retreat attracts a diverse, discerning crowd. With its pristine grounds, local cuisine and proximity to the endless outdoor excursions, you’ll want to stay forever. Designed with a minimal ecological footprint by Chilean architect Cazú Zegers, Tierra Patagonia is right at home in its natural windswept habitat. Each day is full of adventure, with the help of Tierra’s expert guides, but be sure to make it back in time for a deep tissue massage at the spa or a soak in the heated indoor pool with stunning views of Lake Sarmiento.
Days 7-9 Lake Pehoé
Right in Torres del Paine National Park, explora Patagonia sets guests up for in-bounds adventures. You’ll want to spend the next three days outdoors as much as possible to truly experience the magic of this wild terrain.
After a few days of activity, it’s time to take on a larger hike. Get a good night’s sleep and rise early to begin a full day hike to Mirador Las Torres (Base Towers Trek). Along the way, look out for pumas—they’re most easily spotted in the early morning hours. The ascent is difficult but rewarding. The trek covers varying terrain, including lush forest, river crossings, and finally, a rock scramble to the highest viewpoint. Reaching the turquoise alpine lake and towering peaks makes every effort worth it. If the day goes well, you’ll arrive back at explora in time for sunset. Grab a drink and walk the wooden boardwalk along the property as the sky turns gold then pink then purple. The next morning, start with a soothing soak in one of the many spa hot tubs and work up the courage to take a cold plunge into Lake Pehoé.
Opened in 1993, explora Patagonia sits perched on the edge of Lake Pehoé’s turquoise waters. The first all-inclusive luxury eco lodge to open in Torres del Paine National Park, it remains one of the region’s most popular destinations. Each of its 49 rooms have views facing Cuernos del Paine. Offering more than 50 half and full day excursions, including treks, horseback rides and private cruises on its very own catamaran, there is no shortage of exploration options. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Days 10-12 San Pedro de Atacama
Sadly, it’s time to depart from the magic of Patagonia, but if the weather is right that morning, there will be a beautiful sunrise on the way to the airport. After the five-hour drive to Punta Arenas, it’s a quick flight to Calama. Here, swap Chilean sweaters and alpaca socks for sundresses and swimsuits—you’ve arrived in the Atacama Desert, the land of year-round sun.
The town of San Pedro de Atacama sits at an altitude of 8,000 feet, so you’ll want to spend the first day acclimating. Get your feet wet, literally, at Lagunas Escondidas de Baltinache. These crystal-clear pools are so high in salt content, you’ll float. Next, head to to Salar de Atacama, to see flocks of flamingos grazing the landscape. On the second day, take a day trip to the Altiplano, situated between 13,000 and 15,000 feet. Drive on to Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques for vast views and turquoise lagoons. A short ride from there is Salar de Talar and Laguna Tuyajto where the landscape changes drastically presenting a mind-altering color palette. Linger a little longer here and you’re sure to see guanacos and flamingos. On day three, stay local and explore the quaint town of San Pedro de Atacama searching for local crafts and delicious food.
In the heart of San Pedro de Atacama, Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa is an oasis in the arid desert. Sustainably designed to integrate into the surrounding area, the luxury eco lodge is the perfect retreat from the heat of the desert. The property offers an array of excursions, so it’s easy to have an idyllic day. Start with a healthy breakfast in their beautiful dining area, then set out for one of their many treks on foot or horseback and return to the refreshing pool. Tend to any sore muscles with a treatment at Uma Spa, which his nothing short of a dream.
Days 13-15 El Tatio
On the next leg of the trip, explora Atacama becomes the home base from which to venture north to see even more geographical diversity.
Hit the road early so there’s plenty of time to stop along the way to the final destination, El Tatio, a geyser field situated 14,170 feet above sea level (insider tip: tour groups go for sunrise at the geysers, so have a leisurely breakfast and plan on a midday arrival—you’ll likely be the only ones there). Plan the route to first stop in Guantin to see the cactus fields. If there’s time, hike through the valley amongst the towering cacti. Next, head further north to the quaint town of Machuca for a quick lunch and visit to the church. Afterwards, drive through the wildlife-filled wetlands to El Tatio, passing many active volcanoes along the way. A steamy and colorful natural wonder, El Tatio is the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere;. On the way back, stop at Puritama Hot Springs—as a guest of explora Atacama, you’ll have access to private pools.
Encompassing 42 acres, explora Atacama is a spacious place to unwind after a long day of adventuring. Surrounded by lush pampas grass, this sprawling property makes you feel like you’re the only one there. Walk along the many beautiful pathways to reach their four pools. There, spend an afternoon lazing away and nibbling on fresh fruit. This desert retreat is the perfect blend of modern and heritage.