When you think of South America, you probably don’t expect glacial fjords and lush rainforests to go hand-in-hand. But if you’re visiting Patagonia’s snow-flecked mountaintops and emerald jungles, we’re ready to match you with a luxury lodge that’s equally spectacular.
For this expedition through the southern tip of South America, SmartFlyer clients adore Rio Palena Lodge by Eleven Experience as a home base. This riverfront oasis provides guests with an exciting array of angling and adventure offerings. Couple natural beauty and Chilean customs with world-class guide teams and hyper-customizable itineraries, and you’ve got an unparalleled Patagonian escape.
Here’s your preview of one of Chile’s most exciting stays.
The Art of Accommodations
Rio Palena Lodge’s seven suites offer unmatched access to adventure and tasteful amenities. Situated directly along its namesake river, this luxury hotel occupies 35 acres in the breathtaking Andean valley. The lodge was designed by No. 12 Interiors, a design team that carefully considers the local architecture and cultural aesthetic when outfitting a space. The designers constructed spaces inspired by indigenous Mapuche textiles and Spanish colonial accents. Modern Chilean artists also stamped the space with the region’s signature flair.
Rio Palena’s suite interiors are sure to leave guests in awe. For example, each of the accommodation’s colossal windows open up to the emerald Chilean landscape. You can feel their love for detail as you step out from the shower and onto the Chilean-made cement tiles. After freshening up, kick back and read your book of choice by a fireplace fashioned from the Palena River rocks. If you’re looking to stay in for dinner, then step onto their river-facing patio with a quincho barbecue site. Gather here after an action-packed day to appreciate one of Chile’s greatest costumbres (customs): a Patagonian Asado. More to come on that in a bit.
Upon arrival, Rio Palena Lodge’s local chefs, guides, and experience managers invite you to share the country’s rich traditions. Chile’s culture distinguishes it from all of its neighbors, right down to its one-of-a-kind colloquialisms and faster-than-light speech patterns. And on the dinner table, you can find native dishes and beverages from Patagonia topping this luxury hotel’s menu.
Native dishes and beverages from Patagonia top this luxury hotel’s menu.
Taste the comfort of Chilean empanadas prepped in a traditional mud oven alongside sopaipillas con pebre, Chile’s favorite appetizer. Additionally, the garden salads are delicious and topped with avocados bigger than your whole hand! If you’re craving a taste for the sea, then try the hotel’s colorful offering of mussels, scallops, sea bass, salmon, and congrio fresh from the Pacific. Thanks to Chile’s diversity of ecosystems, an expansive array of world-renowned wines are procured for any guest’s palate. But you haven’t tasted Chile until you’ve imbibed an ever-popular Pisco Sour, a citrusy tart cocktail poured with native Pisco liquor and topped with delicately frothed egg whites.
The pinnacle of Eleven Experience’s immersion into local tradition, however, is the world-famous Asados. The event kicks off outdoors in the special Asado zone, situated along the banks of the Palena across from the lodge’s sweeping lawn. Afterward, guests are invited to rendezvous around a large-scale barbeque marked with local lamb and beef. Enjoy gaucho games, live music, and traditional dancing while the lodge’s expert chefs put the finishing touches on your meal. In summary, this luxury hotel’s experience truly captures Chilean Patagonia, blending the many sides of the country’s culture into one spectacular night.
A Peek into Palena Life
Rio Palena Lodge prides itself on being steps ahead of its guests’ wants and needs in every occasion. Need waders? They’re already packed with every kind of rod, reel, and line you might want. Ready for dinner? It’s already been prepared, with locally sourced hors d’oeuvres and delectable entrée flavors. A bit parched on an excursion? A cooler’s within reach, containing a Chilean favorite mote con huesillo and – of course – a few bubbly options.
But instead of hypotheticals, we thought it’d be best to show how you can spend your Patagonian adventure.
Fish on the Palena
After a chef-prepared breakfast, head out with your angling guides for a full-day float. Eleven Experience’s guides live and breathe fishing outside of work and are experts in helping you land your dream catch. Firstly, wade or float right out to Chile’s famed fisheries outside the front door of the lodge. Then, allow the guides to help you snag a 20-inch brown trout out of the Palena, Rio Yelcho, or the lower Futa.
Hike through Patagonia’s rainforests
Fishing not your beat? Then let your guides lead you on a hike to indulge in one of Patagonia’s most remote corners. Step under the canopy of the region’s vibrant rainforests, strewn with cascading waterfalls and magnificent overlooks. While you explore, let the guides introduce you to the Alerce trees that have stood there for over two millennia. Perhaps catch a glimpse of the pudu, the smallest deer in the world.
Raft the Big River rapids
First, feast on a riverfront lunch accompanied by vino tinto after a morning on your own. Then, set out to whitewater raft the internationally-acclaimed Futaleufú River, named for its native Mapuche translation of “big river.” Let your adrenaline charge you through the rapids as your guide directs you down this thrilling aquatic excursion. Finally, polish off the day with stargazing from the outdoor wood-fired hot tub. Whatever your preferred agenda, your guides’ infectious spirit and unrivaled know-how will create a day that will exceed all expectations. Whether you’re enticed by the rich culture or want to unwind in a truly remote oasis, Eleven Experience’s Rio Palena Lodge luxury hotel packs a punch while connecting you to the heart and soul of Chilean Patagonia.