With its craggy moonscapes, salt caves, night skies and pink flamingoes, one doesn’t immediately think of Chile’s highest desert as a healing wellness destination. But a stay at Tierra Atacama Hotel and Spa is exactly that. As is time at Atacama’s sister property – the new 40-room Tierra Patagonia Hotel and Spa – named by Conde Nast Traveler, one of the 13 most stunning spas with a view in the world…
I could have asked a staff member from Tierra Atacama Hotel and Spa to drive me to the Puritama Hot Springs, set in Chile’s high desert – said to be among the purest geothermal mineral waters in the world. But part of the healing adventure is hiking in from the dirt road in San Pedro (15 miles or so).
A relatively easy trek for these parts, our guide led us for two-plus hours along an ancient trail used for centuries by herders to bring their animals from Bolivia to the Andes Mountains. The healing waters were traditionally used by the Atacameno Indians for the spring’s medicinal properties, but today welcome travelers from all over the world, eager to soak in their healing waters.
Surrounded by tall, willowy grasses and wooden catwalks, the natural hot springs – which range between 100 and 104 degrees – are never crowded. When I got there, I changed into my bathing suit and blissed out in each of the eight pools. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, our guide floated my way a wooden bowl piled with cheese, dried meats, and fresh avocados slices, followed by a glass of red wine – Chilean of course.
Our healing adventure continued in Patagonia, where by day, we hiked to glaciers, and rode horses alongside real Spanish baqueanos (cowboys) before checking into Uma Spa – with a view – for muscle-relaxing treatments, followed by peaceful stargazing to re-energize for the next day’s adventure.
What We Love:
Our outdoor rain shower – stunning light, open-air – so ridiculously beautiful, almost made me cry.