Explora en Atacama
The Altitude: 8,015 feet.
The Perch: On a 42-acre oasis in the Atacama Desert—the world’s highest—the explora looks out over volcanic peaks by day, and incredibly clear starscapes by night (even clearer when viewed from the hotel’s on-site observatory).
The Journey: Explora vans will pick you up from the airport in Calama, the closest major town (and a two-hour flight from Santiago); then you’ll take a one-hour drive through stretches of desert and mountain ridges to reach the lodge.
The Best View: No view disappoints, but any room between 35 and 43 overlooks the 19,000-foot Licancabur volcano, on the border where Chile meets Bolivia. Say the word and explora will lead you on a two-day trek to its summit, where you’ll find ancient Incan ruins and Laguna Verde, the world’s highest lagoon.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.