Barraco Lodge is a soulful wilderness refuge bordering the Tagua Tagua National Park in Chilean Patagonia. Cosy log cabins overlook panoramic views of the region’s notorious great outdoors, into which guests are taken on off-grid mountain, rainforest and lake expeditions by private guides. Fly-fishing is a highlight of an adventure-focused stay, and guests can expect hearty hospitality from manager, Boris, and his charming team.
Location: Landing into Puerto Montt in Chilean Patagonia (1h45m flight from Santiago), travel 2 hours by 4×4 along a dirt track, cross a turquoise lake by speedboat, then travel up a steep hill to the secluded setting of Barraco Lodge as your luggage is loaded into a traditional cart and pulled up the hill by oxen. The journey to Barraco is an incredible experience in itself, with arresting scenery of ancient forests creeping up mountains in every direction. This remote part of northern Patagonia remains completely wild; mountains are densely-clad with pristine forest and carved by fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls carrying pure mountain water. One of the lodge’s great assets is its position, high on a mountainside, providing breathtaking views over 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 with heart and soul. 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, fluffy sheepskins, thick blankets with traditional Mapuche embroidery, chandeliers designed from antlers, and large 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 – what a way to relax after a day out exploring!
Exploring Your Surroundings: For such a tranquil setting, days spent at Barraco Lodge can be extremely adrenaline-charged for those that wish. Hiking through dense forests, climbing mountains that are yet to have been scaled, kayaking with a view of puffing volcanoes and crunching glaciers, or rafting along rapids can easily be arranged; and all activities are completely personalised with private guides. The lodge also offers more gentle explorations as well as relaxing massages.
Horse riding: Expeditions are led by experienced mounted guides, sleeping in tents each night around a campfire.
Helicopter Rides: Lodge manager, Boris, is warm, welcoming and great fun. The fact that he doubles up as a helicopter pilot makes him one of the coolest guys we know in Patagonia. There are two helicopters at the lodge, and whilst the most popular excursions are heli-fishing and heli-skiing, scenic flights over nearby volcanoes and glaciers, or to remote corners of Patagonia that few people ever reach, are incredible experiences that few lodges in the region offer.
You can be dropped off by helicopter for secluded hiking trails, paddle-board on high-altitude lakes, and then be collected for a beautiful ride home above the tree-tops. One of the most extraordinary journeys in the region is a flight to Yates Volcano. Soar over the Puelo River and Poicas Rivers, seeing immense ice crevasses and Sulphur plumes coming out of the Volcano, before flying directly over the Yates Glacier with a view of Hornopirén Volcano, Pinto Concha Lake and the Pacific Ocean. The views are sensational and on the return journey the helicopter flies to the other side of the volcano, offering passengers incredible heli-skiing down a 45’ slope.
Stalking & 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 incredibly popular at Barraco as it allows guests to access pristine rivers and creeks which might never have seen a rod before.
Patagonian Cuisine: Chef Maite Daroch spoils guests with hearty cuisine to keep energy levels high and bellies full. Delicious BBQ’s are served outside with stunning views over Lake Tagua Tagua – these tend to be very leisurely, 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.
Romantic Escape: The seclusion and tranquility of Barraco’s setting and the beautiful surrounding landscapes provide the perfect romantic escape for nature and adventure lovers. We arrange romantic excursions in Tagua Tagua national park; hiking along nature trails, swimming in crystal-clear lagoons and private picnics at the foot of hidden waterfalls. One of our favourite excursions is taking a boat trip to a remote lake beach for a typical Patagonian asado (BBQ) and Pisco Sours. There are also volcanic hot springs hidden away in the forest that your private guide can take you to by helicopter for a relaxing afternoon à deux.
Sustainability: Barraco Lodge is proud to use green energy, always using organic and local produce. The lodge works in close partnership with local communities and supports local causes in conjunction with tourism. Sustainability is an important part of their 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. Following this, fly south to Torres del Paine National Park in Southern Patagonia for spectacular hiking opportunities, or fly north to Chile’s Atacama Desert for a complete change in scenery, with equal opportunities for adventure and exploration.