Set deep within Patagonia Park is perhaps the centrepiece of Doug Tomkins’ legacy, a legacy that Explora’s team have recently become the custodians of.
Arriving at Explora Patagonia Park, I was invited to join one of their leading guides for a drink and to start planning my stay. It soon became clear that my visit would only provide a taste of what’s on offer.
With only 22 guest rooms and not another lodge for miles, the stunning mountain panoramas feel as though they’re there for you alone. In every direction lies glaciers, lakes, woodland, fauna and flora free from human interference. What was once land for farming has been returned to its natural state – a positive in a world where negatives are often the dominant feed.
The lodge and surrounding acres are inhabited by many huánuco strolling across the lawns, often appearing outside your window. Be in no doubt, this is prime puma territory too. The collections of bones strewn all around the lodge offers all the proof you need. Against this backdrop, each metre walked between lodges at night are steps of fascinating interest. The lights of your torch shine bright but you’re never quite sure if a cat’s eye might offer a reflection. They eat huánuco, not humans, so the staff reassure me. This has to be assumed as an absolute fact, but in pitch black surroundings, a certain vulnerability is hard to avoid – the feeling you’re being watched.
I left after three days with the feeling I’d been somewhere truly unique. I enjoyed hikes across mountainous landscapes with no one else in sight and I saw evidence of expanding forests and thriving fauna and flora. Explora are the custodians of a special legacy, it’s a great honour, and one I felt each guide I met genuinely felt privileged to be a part of.