Day 361: San Pedro De Atacama, Chile
Don’t congratulate me yet, see I’m only on Day 361! And to celebrate one year, if I make it, I have a series of three posts reflecting on my travels.
When Tierra Atacama offered to host me for a few days I knew it would be the perfect day to end a year of traveling and celebrate the upcoming one.
To say this is the nicest place I’ve stayed in the last year is a massive understatement and I was surprised to see so much luxury in the heart of the desert.
You see many hotels and resorts try to tell you that you have all the comforts from home.
Here? That’s a lie.
This is better than home. This is why you leave home. This is the kind of decadence you want on vacation.
The bed is twice as big. The backyard is beautiful. The food is amazing.
The level of service is incredible. I went to dinner as I left I was thinking, wow I drank a lot of red wine but drank all the water in my room, that could be a problem in a few hours when I’m thirsty.
No it won’t.
As I was at dinner the staff came in, emptied all my waste bins, brought more water, left me a chocolate and cute little fable about the fox and the condor.
No one leaves me chocolate and an awesome bedtime story at home.
Yes this is better than home.
And while Tierra Atacama doesn’t try to promote itself as an eco-hotel. They do a lot of things without ever promoting it:
– To show respect for the people and their ancestors the resort itself was built on a platform so that it doesn’t disturb the archeological ground underneath.
– The resort was built with materials as close to San Pedro as possible and almost all the plants are native species.
– They source their own water from a well. The used water from pools and other facilities are then used to water the plants, trees and alfalfa fields.
– As it’s a small town, what they can’t grow has to be shipped in from Santiago. When they ship the bins back they send empty water bottles in them so they can be recycled (no facilities here).
Which brings me to the only thing that struck me as odd – plastic water bottles everywhere.
As a five star hotel, a lot of guests want bottled water. Chris, the manager of the hotel, explained that they are concerned about the excess plastic. They are looking for ways, such as offering complimentary flasks, to encourage guests to use filtered water instead.
What struck me most was his sincerity and genuine enthusiasm to be more conscious of waste. We had a long conversation of all the things they are pursuing and the challenges they face being in an isolated area.
It wasn’t a bunch of marketing jargon or a memorized speech, it was a conversation and I realized this “corporation” was a group of people trying to do the right thing. It’s not just the little family hostels that care about their environmental footprint but larger ones too.
Full disclosure: I was a guest of Tierra Atacama and did not pay for the stay. However, the opinions are my own. They did not ask me to write about anything or provide a favourable review. But this place and its people are amazing and it is easy to write such a glowing recount.