Down the chilean coast is an untouched habitat of verdant reserve – a place where the lush forests of south america meet the undulating rhythms of the south pacific off the coast of Patagonia.
Lush meets the rough as ancient rainforests bursting with life converge upon the rocky Pacific cliffs of Patagonia. The famed expanse between Cape Horn and the Chilean capital of Santiago has long been an area marked by its contrasts in geography.
This enigmatic locale, immortalized by Darwin’s writings, is possibly one of the world’s last examples of untouched wilderness. Four-wheel drive vehicles act as chauffeurs over winding roads to the secluded Cliffs Preserve, a trek with a sudden reveal that leaves visitors astonished by the seemingly endless variety of surroundings.
Perched on the striking Pacific coast of Northern Patagonia, the Preserve delivers a brew of dissident scenery and fascinating biodiversity, tempting those in search of unmatched adventure and bliss. The over 8,000 acres of Valdivian Temperate Rainforest bordering the Preserve are a naturalist’s playground – each sway of the trees is an invitation to explore. There are twenty miles of trails through the landscape’s diverse palette of pristine beaches, broad fields, ancient forests and natural ridges. Just 6% of the forest has been developed, the remainder ruled by countless specimens of Plantae and Animalia. Similar to stateside redwoods, the venerable Andean alerce trees are the pride of the region. Old-growth olives and pines also tower overhead, sheltering throngs of avian generations. Bird-watching tours reveal the Magellan woodpecker, among the planet’s largest woodpeckers, and dozens of other bird species that reside in the wood. Additional animal inhabitants include the puma, or Andes’ mountain lion; the eighteen-inch tall pudú, the smallest deer in the world; and the Monito del Monte, a rare “mountain monkey.”
The range of expeditions and wildlife encounters broadens when traversing the six miles of coastline that border the Preserve. Tour the coast on horseback and steal beachside glimpses of otters, sea lions, Humboldt and Magellanic penguins and a myriad of marine birds, several of which are threatened species. Open water excursions offer choice deep-sea fishing and inspiring views of humpback and blue whales on their migration routes. There’s also kayaking and white-water rafting on the Petrohue River, and zip-line trips through the trees in nearby Puerto Varas. But for every possible thrill at the Preserve, there exists a counterbalancing moment of respite. Discover Patagonian culture, customs and crafts at a simplified pace on trips to neighboring communities, where many members of the Preserve staff have lived their entire lives. Epicurean guests will favor a jaunt to nearby organic farms or roam the 6 acre sprawl of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers – all planted, tilled and harvested without machinery. The Preserve’s executive chef is your guide through the culinary and medicinal properties of domestic plants during a horticultural tour of the garden and grounds. A grand pool, gift boutique, gourmet restaurant and wellness center are cornerstones of the 20,000 square foot clubhouse. The roomy pool deck furnishes opportunities to be kissed by sunshine, Pacific breezes and faint ocean sprays.
For nightly wholesome fare, visit the dining room and choose from menus of ever-changing starters, main courses and desserts – a service designed to allow guests to experience the broadness of the regional tastes. Each savory dish showcases seafood from the area and produce grown in the garden. On a given evening the spread can include such choices as cayenne-spiced breads, golden roasted salmon, grass-fed Argentine beef and homemade vanilla ice cream. Compliment your feast with a vast selection of Chilean wines unavailable outside the country. The second floor wellness center and spa provides excellent pampering, as invigorating for the body as the magical setting is for the spirit. Suspend all activity in a collection of meditation and relaxation rooms, indulge in a steam or chocolate bath in a glorious one-piece marble tub and allow the expert staff to soothe you with a variety of massage treatments.
The beauty of the region is echoed in the medley of accommodations available. Six massive villas dot the coast, comprising independent suites and amenities including private porches, wood-stoked hot tubs, and open fireplaces. As balance to the modern conveniences, nearly everything has been hand-crafted by local artisans using indigenous materials. All rooms offer stunning views and maximize natural lighting; the villas suites boast private living areas, balconies and luxurious wood-fired, outdoor hot tubs overlooking the dichotomous surround. A yin and yang of peace and adrenaline, the Cliffs Preserve will endure in your memory long after your journey has ended.