Fly to Punta Arenas in southern Patagonia and continue by road to your lodge right on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park. With any luck, you will have glimpsed seen the remote ice-throttled peaks and glaciers from the air, but that won’t detract from the impact of witnessing this grandiose scenery up close.
Milky blue and gem-sharp emerald lakes, sinuous rivers, glaciers and wind-scoured steppes have forged a unique environment. Torres del Paine is the natural habitat of over 150 species of birds (flamingos, condors, eagles and ostriches) and 25 species of mammal (including guanacos, armadillos, silver foxes and pumas). Come prepared for elemental drama: the dictates of the weather prevail but this national park is well worth the journey south, whether slashed by rain or bathed in sunshine.
The road from Punta Arenas carves a lonely path across flat, ferociously wind-buffeted grasslands where you might spot a little hardy wildlife, but gradually the monotony of the landscape is overcome as the huge granite massif of Torres del Paine, with its icy spires, looms up on the horizon. You enter an area of blue green lagoons, waterfalls and tufty hillocks, where guanacos graze and water-birds shelter.
Tierra Patagonia, your stunning designer hotel, sits on a bluff overlooking the rain-fed lake Sarmiento, the largest in the region. All rooms have views over the water, and you are within a stone’s throw of the iceberg-dotted lakes, snow-jacketed mountains, scrawny forests and vast expanses of open steppe.