Chile and The Cliffs Preserve Patagonia
We returned back from an amazing trip to Chile two weeks ago. What an adventure! We stayed in Santiago for one night at the Radisson Santiago Plaza. We navigated the metro and visited Bellavista Neighborhood, San Cristobal Hill (funicular ride) and the Plaza de Armas. The city is very easily accessable by metro and the price is so inexpensive. We found every Chillean eager to help us navigate the system. Even though English was rarely spoken, our broken spanish worked quite well. We then flew to Puerto Montt and stayed in Puerto Varas on the Lake at the Hotel Bellavista. Puerto Varas is a quaint town that reminds you of a "German/Austrian village" Many of the original inhabitants were from that region. We ate at "Donde el Gordito" which was recently featured on Anthony Bourdain's visit to Chile for the Travel Channel. Absolutely amazing place with great seafood. I had a plate full of salmon. Yes it was the size of my plate. My husband had the conger eel which tastes and looks like a white fish. Super and found all over Chile. Great drinks at a place called "Dublin" across the street from the lake. Nice visit to a very safe, clean, and interesting town.
Now..for "the" trip!! Roberto and Francisco picked us up in "the buffalo" from the Cliffs Preserve Patagonia. Wonderful and knowledgeable! We drove to the lodge which was about 2 hours from Puerto Varas. I can't even begin to describe our view of the lodge when we arrived!! It sits right on the Pacific Ocean with great waves, rocks, etc making for a beautiful scene. Our junior suite was building one. (there are 6 villas.) Each villa is very spaced from the rest. The lodge itself has a spa, workout room, restaurant, and kitchen. We were staying a week so enjoyed our activities. One day Roberto took us to a school about an hour away. We visited each classroom. The children were lovely. We even met the administration. One of our most special days was our visit with two others to Chiloe Island. Yes....it was a look day but so rewarding. We actually took two ferries to arrive to the island and then a few hour drive to the penguin preserve. Here, we departed from the beach into the ocean on small boats (there were 8 of us.) to see the penguins, otters, and sea lions living naturally. We saw the Magellian and Humboldt varieties and received an excellent lesson about them from a German girl who was part of the program to protect the region. What a magnificant day! This was all included from the lodge. Another day was spent trout fishing in the river and having a picnic lunch in a pasture. Each day, there were various hikes to explore the region. ANother highlight was being able to "cook" in the kitchen with John and Byron (the chefs). My hubby participated in preparing our evening meal. Another night we had an anniversary cake prepared for us!!
I can't even begin to go on about the lodge, facilities, adventures, and especially the people. The staff all want to please and want to give the best possible service. Yes, we did have some hiccups but it is the way that they were handled that makes those "hiccups" disappear. Drake, the manager had a heart of gold to really make sure everything was to the upmost standard. Alex, waiter, facilitor, and absolute gentleman, ensured that drinks were always available and helped us learn more of the customs of Chile and the region. His english was so perfect and he really enjoyed what he was doing. He would amaze us each day with discussions on music, history, foods, etc....I cannot thank the property properly for all they did to ensure an absolute trip of a lifetime. I was trying to make this as brief as possible but the experience warrants a book! I hope Luxury Link continues to include this property in their offerings!!!