Access to Barraco Lodge requires a 2-hour flight from Santiago de Chile and a 3hr drive, followed by a zip across Martin lake by speedboat. Omar and his oxen, Muchacho and Bonito, wait on the other side to transport guests and their luggage up the steep hill to the lodge. Piping chimneys and Pisco sours await. This is a world class hideaway set amidst a bucolic backdrop of forest, grassland, rivers, lakes and soaring peaks. The lodge is hearty, soulful, wholly uninterested by thread-count and room service. The Puelo river, perfect for dipping in, runs by the property, carrying glacial water from the mountains to the lake below. Guests are usually woken to the sound of kindling being added to the wood burner in each chalet. Shower water pressure and temperature are erratic. Mealtimes are biblical. Sleep in this part of the world is well earned and incomparably deep. Jaime and Boris, who run the show, are both experienced helicopter pilots and thrill in taking guests to the wildest corners of the region for off-piste skiing, rafting, trekking, kayaking and riding.
Location: The journey to Barraco Lodge is an incredible experience in itself. After landing in Puerto Montt (1h45m flight from Santiago), guests will travel 2 hours by 4×4, before boarding a speedboat to cross Lago Puelo (10mins). On arrival, there is a steep incline to reach the lodge. Luggage is usually loaded into a cart and transported up the hill by oxen. This remote corner of northern Patagonia is pristine; mountains are densely-clad with ancient forest, carved by fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls of pure mountain water. One of the lodge’s great assets is its position, high on a mountainside, providing breathtaking views of the lakes and valleys below.
The lodge: Sleeping 10-12 guests in 3 log cabins with wood-burning fires, Barraco is an inviting wilderness refuge. Originally a 1940’s colonial style house, the lodge has been renovated by local craftsmen using materials gathered from the surrounding forest; predominately larch wood. The style is intrinsically Patagonian, blending effortlessly into its natural environment.
Private rooms feature king beds, hand-carved wooden furniture, cosy sheepskins, thick blankets with traditional Mapuche embroidery, chandeliers designed from antlers and en-suite bathrooms.
Each cabin has ample indoor and outdoor dining and social spaces, including a lounge, music room with piano and a well-stocked library with books detailing the history of Patagonia. There’s also a sauna and outdoor hot tub with a view across the valley for relaxing after a day’s exploration!
Exploration: While there’s plenty of time for reading, swimming and relaxing, days here are generally adrenaline-charged. There is hiking through dense forests, mountain climbing, horse-riding, fly-fishing, kayaking alongside glaciers and puffing volcanoes and whitewater rafting. All activities are completely personalised with private guides. The lodge also offers more gentle expeditions, as well as massages.
Horse riding: Programmes typically last a half or full day and are led by experienced guides. For those looking for a tailor made expeditions, we can design more demanding itineraries, sleeping under canvas and in local farmsteads.
Helicopters: Both Jaime, the lodge owner, and Boris, lodge manager, are experienced pilots. There are usually two helicopters at the lodge. Whilst the most popular expeditions are heli-fishing and heli-skiing, flights to nearby volcanoes and glaciers for treks and indulgent lunches are not to be missed.
The helicopters are used to reach the most secluded hiking trails and lakes for fishing and paddle-boarding. One of the most extraordinary experiences takes guests over the Puelo and Poicas rivers, to see and sulphur pluming from the Puelo volcano, before flying over the immense ice crevasses of the Yates Glacier, with views of Hornopirén Volcano, Pinto Concha Lake and the Pacific Ocean. Those keen to do so can then heli-ski down the 45-degree slope of the volcano.
Stalking & Trout Fishing: Deer and bore stalking are on offer from March to April. Fly-fishing is a year-round activity and a highlight of a stay at Barraco Lodge. The location is close to the Puelo and Triador Rivers and the guides are first-class – taking guests on jet boats to different sections of river or lake each day, and providing classes for beginners. Heli-fishing is popular at Barraco as it allows guests to access stretches of river that have rarely been explored.
Patagonian Cuisine: Chef Maite Daroch spoils guests with hearty meals to keep energy levels high. Delicious BBQ’s are served outside with stunning views over Lake Tagua Tagua – these tend to be long, indulgent affairs!
Maite sources all food locally and grows many products in the onsite organic garden, ensuring ingredients are always fresh. Dishes range from Patagonian specialities such as lamb, king crab and seafood, to traditional native dishes like wild mushrooms (Morchelas) from the Puelo Valley.
Honeymoons: The seclusion and tranquility of Barraco’s setting and the beautiful surrounding landscapes provide the perfect escape for nature and adventure lovers. We can arrange excursions in Tagua Tagua national park; hiking along nature trails, swimming in gin-clear lagoons and enjoying private picnics at the foot of hidden waterfalls. One of our favourite excursions is to a remote river beach for pisco sours and a typical Patagonian asado (BBQ). Guests are then given a map to discover volcanic hot springs hidden in the forest.
Sustainability & Community: Barraco Lodge is proud to use green energy, and always sources organic and local produce. The lodge works with local communities, providing jobs and education. Sustainability is an fundamental part of Barraco’s operation and they are keen to share with guests their passion for protecting their natural surroundings.
Part of a Journey: We’d recommend 3-7 nights at Barraco Lodge. Afterwards, fly south to Torres del Paine National Park, for spectacular hiking, or north to the Atacama for dramatic lunar landscapes and desert expeditions.