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Waking up to (arguably) the best view in Patagonia

Mallín Colorado is one of the most magnificent yet humble places you can find. Perched on a hillside overlooking the General Carrera Lake as it glimmers in the sunlight, this is a place where any traveler of the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway) can not only find refuge, but also discover the wonders of the region of Aysén, Chile.

That’s just how it started. The Santiago-based Christensen family bought a field some 27 years ago to build a cabin for their summer vacations. In those days, the road was a dirt track and it was an 8-hour drive from Coyhaique to Puerto Río Tranquilo with no rest stops in between. When travelers saw the cabin of Mallín Colorado, they would stop and ask if there were any rooms available. Inspired to help these stranded travelers, the family soon began building more cabins for passersby.

These days, the journey from Coyhaique is closer to 4 hours and travelers tend to book their stay at the lodge in advance. But the friendly, welcoming charm of the residence has never changed. The family of seven siblings continue to manage the lodge, each having their own touch. One brother designed and made the marvelous lamps and lights, that bring the outdoors in by upcycling driftwood. A sister makes small traditional tapestries from sheep’s wool to decorate the cabin’s walls. This is a place that’s as full of character as it is quality, with arguably the best beds on the Carretera Austral!

The lodge lies between the towns of Puerto Rio Tranquilo and the Patagonia National Park making it a wonderful base to explore northern Patagonia. From here, you can head north to visit the beautiful marble caves that showcase nature’s perfect beauty or venture to the Exploradores Glacier to trek across ice that glows a spectacular shade of blue. Or you can go south to the powerful confluence of the rivers Baker and Chacabuco or visit the village of Puerto Bertrand for an adrenaline-packed white-water rafting experience.

But the charm of Mallín Colorado lies much closer to the cabins. Each is carefully designed to make the magnificent view of the General Carrera Lake its centerpiece. Whether you’re on the terrace, on the sofa, or waking up in your bed in the morning, you can admire in awe the landscape of blue waters, green hills, and the white caps of the mountains. Any guest here could stay in their room an entire day just to enjoy the view.

The view and being surrounded by beautiful nature, it’s no surprise then that Mallín prioritizes sustainable practices to protect their environment. From their organic kitchen garden – fertilized by their own compost – to their reforestation efforts and reduced laundry cycles, here you can contribute to the preservation of nature as much as you enjoy it.

You may be miles from any town, but there’s no need to get in a car to explore if you do want to get out. The name Mallín Colorado roughly translates to ‘red meadow’ – a homage to the beautiful nature that surrounds the lodge. Mallín Colorado offers three paths that start right on the doorstep of your cabin and that will offer you some of the most unique trails in Patagonia. You can choose to walk the short- to medium-length routes or join an outing on one of Mallín’s horses through the Patagonian landscapes.

Two routes head up the mountain. The longer of the two is a four-hour round trip that immerses you in the native forests of the region. You’ll emerge to take in a panoramic view of the Contreras mountains and then Lakes Bertrand and Plomo. The shorter mountain walk is just 30 minutes, making it pleasant for an easy afternoon stroll. It takes you through the forest above the cabins.

The final walk offers one of the best views of Patagonia from the shores of General Carrera Lake. Crossing the Carretera Austral and walking through a forest of immense coigue trees, you emerge on the western edge of the lake. From here, the route forks allowing you to walk parallel to the beach and admire the horizon, or to drop down to dip your toes in the cold waters of the second biggest lake in Latin America.

After a morning hike, you can return to the lodge’s cosy and welcoming ‘club house’ for a hearty meal. Enjoy a lunch that carefully fuses local flavors and ingredients with international favorites and that will warm your soul. Breakfast and dinner are just as delicious, including homemade bread and jams, mouthwatering dishes, and divine desserts. Those lucky enough to try a traditional ‘asado’ (barbeque) like a true Patagonian are in a real treat for the senses.

Photo by Frits Meyst / MeystPhoto.com

There are few places in the world like this – where you’re truly surrounded by silence, a peaceful solitude, and a true night sky. If you’re looking for a unique Patagonian adventure, to switch off, or to reconnect with nature, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Talk to an Ecochile travel specialist today to plan your trip to Aysén and Mallín Colorado.

Relax and unwind in Chile

There are a lot of reasons to travel: to discover new cultures, to meet amazing people, to see new things. One of the best reasons is to slow down from the rush and pressures of daily life. How to do this is personal to everyone. For some, it could be escaping to the mountain and breathing in the fresh air while looking over a magnificent valley. For others, it’s about taking it easy, slowing down, and even enjoying a few luxuries. If this is more your style, keep reading to see what Chile has in store for you. 


The Atacama Desert is full of wonders. Its remoteness brings a sense of peace and awe to any visitor. It also, perhaps surprisingly, is a hub for a taste of luxury. The Atacama is home to some beautiful hotels that honor the traditional style of the region. Relax by the pool of your hotel or enjoy the calm of the morning with a coffee outside your beautifully decorated hut. In the Atacama, you can taste some truly mouthwatering dishes in superb restaurants that celebrate local flavors.

Outside of your hotel, visit the Puritama hot springs, an oasis of warm pools in the middle of the desert. The pools have temperatures between 28°C and 31°C and offer a high concentration of minerals to revitalize your body as much as your mind. Surrounded by tall grasses and the sound of running water, this is the perfect place to slow down, reconnect, and feel like you’re in a little slice of heaven. 


Easter Island

Easter Island can only be described as magical. Its friendly people and beautfiul coastal landscapes make it a great place to visit to chill out, enjoy great food, and discover new things. 

For the ultimate luxury reset, lie by the stunning pool of your hotel surrounded by green palms and reap the benefits of the island’s volcanic rock at the spa. Alternatively, you can reconnect with nature by spending a day on the white sands of Anakena beach and its clear-blue waters or snorkel with the island’s sea life around the southern tip of the island. 

Of course, there’s plenty to do if you want to explore the island more! Take a relaxed tour to see the Moai statues that characaterize the island, enjoy a cooking class to learn traditional Rapa Nui methods, or head out on a boat ride around the island to feel the sea air on your face. Whatever your favorite way to relax may be, you can find it here on Easter Island. 


Wine Valleys

Chile is known for producing some of the world’s best and most popular wines. With that, comes some spectacular locations to retreat to in the country. One place that stands out is the award-winning VIK hotel. Nestled in the rolling hills of the Cachapoal Valley, to the south of Santiago, this is a wine lover’s paradise and an idyllic stay for couples. Enjoy its first-class spa facilities including baths in wine that balances fluid retention and stimulates lymphatic flow through the body, as well as massages, scrubs and wraps to make you feel like new. If you’re looking to reconnect with nature, take gentle walks around the hotel’s reserve, protected by the winery’s sustainable methods. If food is your healer, enjoy for a traditional barbeque amongst the vines or sample its superb restaurant to tantalize your tastebuds. 


Alternatively, visit the organic wineries of the Casablanca Valley, an hour west of Santiago. Discover the different techniques, histories, and flavors of the wines here. You can stay at a charming boutique hotel on the hills of Valparaíso and overlooking the magnificent bay. Be sure to include a leisurely guided walk around the city to sample some of the culture. 

Lake District

If you prefer greener, more luscious surroundings, the Lake District in the south of Chile may be the one for you. 

Hotel AWA in Puerto Varas overlooks the stunning Lake Llanquihue with views of the snow-capped Osorno Volcano in the distance. Decompress in the beautiful spa facilities, find your zen at an in-house yoga class, or visit the nearby Teatro del Lago for a classic music concert.

Of course, exploring the beautiful surroundings will help you find harmony and peace. Besides leisurely strolls around the lake, you can opt for a light trail through the Alerce Andino National Park to discover 3000-year old forests to truly immerse yourself in nature. If you’re feeling really adventurous, include a (short) hike to up the Osorno Volcano and a visit to the Petrohue falls too! 

Whatever your idea of a vacation, the Ecochile team is here to build your perfect itinerary. Hit the ‘Plan your trip‘ button above to get in touch with our travel specialists and we’ll start crafting your dream vacation.

Where to stay: A Guide to Lodges, Cabins, Hotels & Glamping in Chile & Argentina

On an Ecochile itinerary in Chile and Argentina, you can find a range of accommodation options that suit you. But the names of these hotels can be confusing! Some places call themselves a lodge but seem more like a boutique hotel, while a ‘hostal’ can raise alarm bells for travelers who are long past their backpacking days. Here we’ll explain what we mean about different accommodation styles at Ecochile. 

Stars in your eyes

The number of stars a hotel has is often seen as the best way to judge what your hotel will be like. Our unpopular opinion is that it’s not! That’s why when you book with us we will ask you what you expect from your accommodation, rather than only considering the number of stars it has. This is because the number of stars is based on the amenities a hotel has. A 4* hotel could be just as luxurious as a nearby 5* hotel, it just might not have a spa, for example. 

Viña VIK Wine Spa

When you’re planning your trip, you might be surprised at the differences in prices between accommodations that have the same ratings. Believe it or not, 5* hotel in Santiago can cost you the same as a 3* hotel in Torres del Paine! The remoteness of the national park increases costs here, so you get less for the same money. 

Your Ecochile travel specialist will help you find the right accommodation for you and your priorities. If for you, a spa and pool is non-negotiable, we’ll find a hotel that has those. Likewise, if you want to be in the center of town or have a great lake view, we’ll recommend you hotels that suit your preferences. But, if your budget is a priority, we will work with you to find the best accommodation for your buck! Have a look at the styles available below to help us make great recommendations to you.

Palafitos, Chiloé


A ‘lodge’ typically refers to a small hotel in a rural location. These are very cosy and reminiscent of traditional, rustic means of living. Built from the wood the surrounding landscapes provide, lodges are nestled into their surroundings and have an authentic homely feel often with spectacular views. You often won’t have the luxuries of modern life at this kind of accommodation. Wifi can be but a distant dream and you won’t be steaming in the spa at the end of the day. But they do offer a way to immerse yourself in nature, to slow down and switch off, and enjoy the pleasures of living simply for a few days.

Pikera Uri Lodge – Easter Island

An example could be the Estancia Cerro Guido in Patagonia, which celebrates the Estancia’s ranching culture and the beautiful landscapes that surround it. Hostería Pehoé, sitting on an island in the Pehoé lake and overlooking the Cuernos del Paine is another magnificent option of this humble but impressive style of accommodation. 


These are small hotels that are as independent in ownership as in style. They are sometimes renovated, like the charming Casa Higueras, Valparaíso, which perfectly blends the old and new. Or they could be purpose-built, modern, and quirky like Hotel Bidasoa in Santiago. Boutique hotels are more common in cities and large towns and are great options if you want to be at the center of things and offer a friendly but professional service. They often have superb restaurants on site, too, if you’re looking for a delicious meal without stepping too far out of your hotel. 

Eco Boutique Hotel Bidasoa


Ecovillages and glamping

At an ecovillage or glamping experience, you can enjoy your own hut, airstream, or villa. Follow the pathways to your exclusive residence These are a great way to connect with nature or the traditions of your destination and have some of the best environmental policies you can find. The most iconic, but certainly not the only one, of these is Ecocamp in Patagonia. Its round domes offer a way to feel like your sleeping in nature without fearing that your tent will blow away! They also offer a range of domes depending on your budget, varying from a basic dome with a shared bathroom to an almost luxurious superior suites (private bathroom included!).

Ecocamp dome – Torres del Paine


No, this doesn’t mean a youth hostel with 8 bunkbeds to a room and being woken up in the night by your strange bunkmate! A ‘hostal’ roughly translates to mean a modest hotel, similar to a B&B. They are normally small in size and independently run and include breakfast. These can be quirky, decorated in a way that honors the area and traditions of the community, and attended by a welcoming host. The Hostal El Puesto in Puerto Río Tranquilo offers this homely atmosphere with communal rest areas and cosy private rooms. 

Hostal El Puesto, Aysén


A ‘cabaña’ translates to cabin. These vary in style, with more rustic or chic options available depending on the hotel and location. The great thing about these is that travelers can enjoy their own space as a couple or as a family while having access to the hotel amenities. The cabins often include a kitchen or kitchenette and a living space, as well as bedrooms and bathrooms. Staying in a cabin doesn’t necessarily mean losing out on the luxury aspect. You can enjoy some marvellous views across lakes and mountains, or even ask one of the hotel’s chefs to cook you a private dinner in your cabin! 

Huilo Huilo Cabaña