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PUYUHUAPI LODGE AND SPA IN CHILEAN PATAGONIA

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Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa
Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Accessible only by boat, Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa is located in northwest Patagonia in the Aysen region of Chile.

The easiest way to get to this pristine wooden lodge is to fly to Santiago, Chile, then take a second flight to Coyhaique/Balmaceda Airport.

All-inclusive rate

Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa offers a four-day all-inclusive hotel stay. It incorporates the 282-kilometer (175-mile) transfers to and from the airport, meals with good Chilean wines, an open bar, guided excursions, use of the spa and open-air hot spring pools.

The 30-room lodge boasts tranquil views of the forested fjord and mountains. We arrived after dark, when amber lights glowed from the windows and a fire blazed in the fireplace.

Gourmet food

After welcome drinks and a four-course dinner of crab-stuffed chicken, grilled salmon with herb sauce and a dessert buffet of parfaits, tortes, crepes and pies, we headed to our peak-roofed wooden chalet for the night.

Singing birds woke us up early. Yellow dahlias, blue hydrangeas and red roses surrounded our chalet. Vibrant pink fuchsias draped themselves over the roof, attracting squadrons of tiny hummingbirds.

Father and son outside home in Puerto Puyuhuapi, Patagonia
Father and son outside home in Puerto Puyuhuapi, Patagonia
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Hiking in Queulat National Park

Mist rose from the emerald bay in front of the lodge. We followed a path skirting the inlet to a waterfall that cascaded in four tiers through a profusion of ferns, bamboo and moss.

There was plenty to do here, from paddling crayon-colored kayaks in the placid fjord to visiting Queulat National Park, home to a hanging glacier and the world's smallest deer, the pudu.

We hiked along fern and moss-lined trails, past scenic lakes and waterfalls. Guides described the area’s plants, birds, animals and geology.

What to do in Puyuhuapi

We hired a motorboat to visit the nearby fishing village of Puerto Puyuhuapi. A trio of grey dolphins arched their way in front of us, playfully diving under and around our boat.

Children greeted us on the dock as we arrived. It was Sunday. Several villagers were singing hymns in the wooden-shingled church.

A young boy rode a pony bareback, as his father and a neighbor played tejas, a game similar to horseshoes. Smoke billowed from chimneys as Sunday dinner baked over wood fires.

Thermal bath in hot spring

Soaking in thermal pool at Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa
Soaking in thermal pool at Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Back at Puyuhuapi Lodge, we indulged in a massage followed by a bountiful seafood buffet. As the sun dropped, like a gold coin into the horizon, we wrapped ourselves in thick white terry robes and followed a stepping-stone path to where puffs of steam rose above the foliage.

Beneath low-hanging clouds, we found three thermal pools, naturally heated by babbling hot springs. Our favorite was a romantic grotto, surrounded by elephant ear-sized tiaca leaves and lacy ferns.

We sat on the smooth pebbled bottom and steeped ourselves in the 40°C water. Above us, a flock of green parrots roosted in the trees, while clouds played hide-and-seek over the snow-covered mountains.

It was hard to leave this natural paradise. After breakfast, a four-hour drive in the lodge van along the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway) brought us back to Balmaceda Airport.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa: www.puyuhuapilodge.com

More things to see and do in Chile:

Giant of the Atacama and Pintados in Northern Chile

Torres del Paine - Hiking from Explora Patagonia Lodge

Puerto Natales - Giant Milodon Cave

Punta Arenas Chile - City at the End of the World

Chilean Fjords Cruise