Hannah’s field notes from Chile and Argentina

Hannah shares her experiences from a recent trip through South America’s captivating wilderness

Freshly returned from the (often quite lunar-like) landscapes of Chile and Argentina, we asked Hannah for her thoughts and reflections. Two countries, both alike in beauty – but did she have a favorite?

Rural elegance at Vik Chile

Sitting on a hilltop among luscious mountains and rolling vineyards lay our first stop, Vik Chile. My private bungalow was elegantly furnished with modern art décor and mesmerizing floor to ceiling views. Each morning, I woke to breath-taking valleys, flourishing grapevines, and the glistening surface of lake Tranque Millahue, all beckoning me to explore. And that’s exactly what I did. Leaving the sweet scent of the vines behind, I cycled my way along the winding trails, heading further into the alluring surrounding hillside. I ventured into the forests of the Vik Natural Reserve, breathing in the crisp fresh air as I pedaled beneath ancient oak trees to the melodic sound of native birdsong. I felt a remarkable sense of peace. That was all capped off with a gourmet picnic out among the vines. It felt like time had stood still.

The secrets of the vineyard

The owners of this holistic hotel set out with the dream of making one of the world’s best wines. And with natural insulation and solar energy, you can really sense how local ingredients and sustainability are at the heart of what they do (and what they do is make wine. Lots of it). After weaving our way through vineyards, water features and sculptural rock installations, we stepped over the threshold for a really mind-opening afternoon of wine tasting. There’s a certain beauty to raising a glass made of grapes that hang on branches only meters away.

More about Vik Chile

hills overlooking lake chile
grapes chile

Desert charm at Awasi Atacama

In the heart of the Atacama Desert – a place that doesn’t really need an introduction – Awasi Atacama felt like a truly Chilean experience. Ancestral traditions, natural materials, desert inspirations. I dined under the stars (unforgettable) before curling up with a book beneath my blankets. It felt like I’d been transported into a pre-Inca realm. And it’s 100% carbon neutral (you can sense a theme with this, now).

In search of hidden waterfalls

Irresistibly tempted by the hotel’s breath-taking panoramas, we set off for a closer look. First, we sought out the radiant pink of the local flamingos – quite easy to spot against the backdrop of the desert. Then, leaving our 4×4 (and new feathered friends) behind, we trekked further into the wilderness of the Atacama. We hiked (and scrambled) over rugged rock formations, marveling at the forest of giant wild cacti as we journeyed through the aptly named Cactus Canyon. Our guide even led us on the hunt for a desert oasis or two. We watched as waterfalls and trickling streams weaved their way through the rocky orange-hued terrain. Blissful seclusion and exhilarating thrills. To top it off? There were literally no other travelers. Just us.

Stargazing and planet spotting

Not satisfied with exploring only by daylight, we headed out for a spot of stargazing in a 4×4. Embarking deeper into the remoteness of the desert, we looked to the skies. There was a goose-bumpy strangeness to watching the bright bulb of Saturn in the sky – looking up from a landscape that looks like that of Mars. For the astronomy enthusiasts amongst you, please do let us know if you’d like to star-hunt. Our luxury travel experts will ensure you go at the best possible time of year.

More about Awasi Atacama

flamingo in atacama chile
atacama desert at night in chile

Jungle bliss at Awasi Iguazu

Chile is all about big, contrasting landscapes. From the lunar deserts of the Atacama, my next stop was the tranquil Atlantic rainforest – and a hotel called Awasi Iguazu. It is a truly green haven. Private plunge pools, secluded suites, the melody of birdsong. Each villa comes furnished with traditional textiles made by the indigenous Guarani people and boasts captivating jungle views. My favorite part? The neighbors – ruby-crowned tanagers, green-winged saltators, and vibrant green malachite butterflies.

Visiting the Devil’s Throat at sunrise

With our hotel on the doorstep of one of the world’s seven natural wonders, it’s no surprise we soon headed off to seek out the majestic Iguazu Falls. Arriving before anyone else, we watched the sun rise above the iconic Devil’s Throat. We looked on as its flowing waters plummeted into the mysterious abyss below, shrouded in a perpetual mist that keeps it hidden from visitors. Thundering cascades, freshwater spray, and spectacular views – the perfect way to start the day.

Kayaking alongside otters

Our rainforest adventure didn’t end there. Embarking on a tour of Uruguai Lake, we glided over tranquil tropical waters. Imagine floating past petrified forest and exotic wildlife -even making friends with a giant otter or two. We eagerly sought out these intriguing creatures, keen to spot the so-called “river wolf” – the largest of its kind in the world. By private boat, kayak, and paddleboard, we explored the striking scenery of Iguazu National Park. It was a sublimely idyllic way to end our trip.

More about Awasi Iguazu

devil's throat argentina
kayak in iguazu argentina

Final thoughts

Despite having visited only recently, I find myself already dreaming of my (hopefully soon) return. Both Chile and Argentina boast a perfect blend of peaceful havens and natural wonders. And with luxury travel experiences thrown into the mix, it has a sort of adventurously dreamlike atmosphere. And like the best dreams, it’s one that’s hard to put into words.

Intrigued by South America?

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