Tierra Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama
Tierra Atacama is a small resort located on the outskirts of town. Our rate included everything from airport transfers, to food and drinks, to half-day and full-day excursions. The all-inclusive style is fairly common for the higher-end places in the area.
We were escorted to room 30, on the far end of the property, from the reception desk. The room was not far, just a 2 minute walk through a lovely garden filled with lavender, rosemary, fig and pomegranate trees.
We were given a quick tour of the room followed by the delivery of our luggage. Overall the room was comfortable, with a window seat area, large bed, and lots of space. The bathroom and closet were closer to the patio entrance, which also had an outdoor shower.
cotton clothes dried in mere hours on this porch, very dry!
The bathroom was functional enough with nice shampoo and soap, but a bit dark for shaving or makeup due to the placement of the light.
There were plenty of outlets for charging the computer or camera, and stainless steel water bottles for our use. We were fine with the lack of TV, but it might have been nice to have had a clock in the room given the daylight savings switch problems. (More on that later.)
Meals at the resort were generally good. Breakfast was a small buffet with cereals, some fresh fruit, an assortment of breads, scrambled eggs, pancakes or french toast, etc. The bread items were good, but the eggs were generally quite watery and disappointing, and the fruit didn’t look great and was attracting flies.
Lunch and dinner were much better, with each seating offering two or more appetizers, entrees and desserts off a menu that changed daily. We tried items including beef short ribs, conger eel, mahi mahi, Ecuadorian shrimp…. Eric had more seafood in this short desert trip than he’s had all year! The menus are in Spanish and English. Most of the wait staff spoke limited English but we didn’t find it to be an obstacle. They were patient with our elementary Spanish.
- Eric discovered a new favorite drink, frambuesa, which is raspberry juice. Also good mixed with a little sparkling soda (which confused the bartenders a bit).
- The wines were good quality, with two whites (a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon blanc) and several reds (Pinot Noir, Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). We were a little surprised that they didn’t have a sparkling wine available by the glass, but you could get it in complimentary Kir Royales.
- Pisco Sours: we’ve tried them in Peru, but the Chilean version is different, lacking the egg white foam. Each bartender seemed to have their own version of this drink, and we had them served in champagne glasses, cocktail glasses and martini glasses.
The itinerary for our stay was decided during a meeting with the activities director shortly after we settled into the hotel. We had read the descriptions online before we arrived, but there were a few small differences. Based on their advice we signed up for two easier trips our first full day to get used to the altitude (7900 feet at the resort!), two medium hikes the second day, a longer drive excursion on the third, and short trip the morning before we were to leave.
We’ll posts on individual trips seperately, but overall, the guides were excellent. Each excursion included beverages (water, sodas, beer) and snacks (dried fruit, nut mix, candy bars). Unsurprisingly, we preferred the excursions that featured hiking into the stunning landscapes, especially when we were the only two on the excursion.
Departamentos Hotel Orly, Santiago
Santiago is a fairly expensive city, and we felt lucky to find the Hotel Orly apartments for a good price. Even though it is a small hotel, our rather late (about 10p) check-in didn’t seem to faze the great employee at the reception desk.
After checking in, another employee, Simon, helped us roll our bags to the apartment, up the block from the hotel in a small building closer to the river. The apartment was a good size, with a small kitchenette (including a washing machine), table and couch in the entry room, separated from the bedroom and bathroom by a small hallway and door.
Our chief issue with the apartment were the thin windows– there was so much street noise we thought the windows were open when we first settled in for the evening. Single pane windows + busy street = noisy room. Thankfully we were tired enough that it didn’t affect our sleep too much, but it would be a consideration in the future.
Our rate included a continental breakfast, so each morning we walked down the street to the hotel for the small buffet featuring several different breads, scrambled eggs, cereal, deli meat and cheese; adequate but not memorable.
The hotel is located in Providencia, a bustling neighborhood with lots of shops and restaurants, and about three blocks from a metro stop. Definitely a great jumping off point to see the city.