The Art of Travel: explora
There are travel companies, and then there is explora. Specializing in journeys that take travellers to the remotest landscapes, explora promises meaningful escapes tailored to every kind.
Founded in 1993, explora operates in seven regions in South America, including locations in Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The company was founded on three principles. First, it operates solely in remote areas, where guests have a chance to escape everyday life and explore new horizons. On an explora excursion, the goal is to lose touch with the familiar, and maybe even discover something about yourself you didn’t know before.
Second, trips focus on experiences in which guests can meaningfully interact and engage. It’s not about checking off the highlights—it’s about getting out and actually experiencing something.
Finally, explora preaches something they call the Luxury of the Essential—the benefit that’s gained by stripping away all the clutter and having a real experience. These aren’t cookie-cutter holiday excursions. They’re the chance to interact with the natural world, via an itinerary that’s customized to suit your goals.
With over 2,200 miles of routes to explore in the remotest areas of South America, explora offers award-winning accommodations and guests will want for nothing, but the emphasis is really on what happens outside the lodge.
Each excursion is a chance to experience pristine wilderness—hiking, horseback riding, cycling, boating or tackling high mountain ascents. You can explore—safely and luxuriously—where few others have gone before, charting your own path through spectacular, rarely seen vistas.
The explora approach is not about choosing an adventure off the menu. With that much wilderness and all those possibilities, it’s about creating an experience tailored to suit. The company’s approach is consultative, with guests helping shape their journey. It might be about pushing yourself to new heights. It might be about achieving a new level of relaxation. Either way, it’s up to you.
It’s an approach that has attracted attention, with explora trips being recognized by Fodors, National Geographic Traveler, Trip Advisor, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Forbes and many others.
At the center of the Torres del Paine National Park, on the shores of Lake Pehoé, explora Patagonia offers a breathtaking view of the Paine Massif and horns.
Regardless of the time of year, there are always adventures to be had. On foot or on horseback, there are more than 50 half-day or full-day adventures on offer, at all levels of difficulty.
There are 49 rooms at explora Patagonia, each designed to take full advantage of the silence, privacy and expansiveness of the surrounding landscape. And, every evening at the hotel bar, guides meet up with guests to program the next day’s activities, with groups limited to no more than eight people so you never feel disconnected from the adventure.
Can’t-miss in Patagonia: Base Torres, Grey Glacier, French Valley and Lake Pehoé.
Rapa Nui, Chile
Rapa Nui—which some call Easter Island—has been the cradle of a unique and enigmatic culture that continues to endure today. Located just five miles from the capital city of Hanga Roa, explora Rapa Nui is located in the perfect location from which to explore the island.
At explora Rapa Nui there are 18 exploration opportunities on offer – by sea, bike or on foot – and at different levels of skill, all have strong cultural and archaeological overtones, and are led by an expert bilingual local guide. Between the volcanoes and the Moai (monolithic statues), the best way to appreciate the scale of the island and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean might just be on foot.
Can’t-miss in Rapa Nui: the different Moai platforms, Hanga Roa, the volcanic cones of Pui Rano Raraku and Anakena beach.
Rising from the Pacific Ocean up to the Altiplano, the foothills of the Andes. the Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth – an environment as extreme as it is beautiful.
Located near the village of San Pedro de Atacama, explora Atacama offers 37 different ways to discover Atacama. Through guided hikes, horseback, bicycle rides and van explorations, you’ll have the opportunity to traverse the depths and scale the heights of Atacama’s nature and history. You can even arrange for your own private exploration. Once you’re acclimated—and worked up your courage—you might even consider a climb to one of the area peaks, over 13,123 feet above sea level.
Can’t-miss in Atacama: Moon Valley, Death Valley, Puritama Hot-Springs, Licancabur Volcano.
Valle Sagrado, Peru
The fourth explora lodge opens in 2016 in the Sacred Valley in Peru.
Locked away in a secluded hacienda close to Cusco and Machu Picchu, explora Valle Sagrado will be located within an ancient corn plantation overlooking the vertiginous mountains, which were once home to the Inca Empire. The lodge will offer guided hikes and bicycle tours that take travelers deep into the area’s unique blend of geography and Andean culture.
Founded in 1993, explora is a travel company that owns and operates hotels and Travesías (nomadic journeys), in seven remote destinations of South America. Inspired to travel for the pleasure of the journey and by the richness of the experiences that it brings, explora offers a new way of traveling, based upon in-depth exploration of the surroundings, the luxury of the essential and sustainable development.
explora believes remote areas aren’t just far away. They are a chance to withdraw and detach from everyday life, observing our existence from afar. The distance seems to reorganize the different aspects of our lives, putting them into perspective, widening our horizons and filling us with fresh, new ideas. They call their philosophy “art of travel.”