When it comes to planning a trip of a life time, where you stay can make or break the experience. If you’re looking at South America, your accommodation worries are solved below…
Published: Monday 30th September 2019
A region of exceptional diversity and peerless natural beauty, Latin America offers high-end experiences to suit every traveler: from foodies to photographers, wildlife watchers to thrill seekers and the most committed beach-loving sun-worshipers.
Since its establishment in 2011 by Simon and Kirsty Williams, Humboldt has gained a strong reputation for outstanding personalised service and specialist five-star packages in Latin America.
Offering luxury tailor-made tours featuring hand-crafted experiences that go beyond the ordinary, Humboldt’s boutique team of specialists draw on their extensive knowledge of the destinations and unrivalled network of contacts to design a wholly bespoke trip for each client.
Therefore, when collating a list of the best hotels and accommodations in South America, it made sense to put our trust in their hands. Humboldt director Simon Williams presents his top picks below…
UXUA CASA, TRANCOSO, BRAZIL
For those seeking the ultimate barefoot boho luxury experience in a paradisiacal beach location, you can do no better than UXUA Casa, situated in the celebrity hangout of Trancoso in the state of Bahia, northern Brazil.
Based on a ‘shabby-chic’ tropical design concept by designer Wilbert Das, each private villa in this boutique mini-resort evokes a different character from Trancoso’s colourful past. Featuring luxurious private plunge pools, secluded private gardens and sun-drenched terraces.
The characterful ‘casas’, tastefully adorned with bespoke furniture pieces made from recycled natural materials, are the perfect spot to curl up with a good book and lose yourself in Trancoso’s relaxed ambience.
An exquisite spa, an exclusive beach club and a charming restaurant complete the picture at this laid-back retreat.
TITILAKA, PUNO, PERU
Occupying a privileged spot on a remote private peninsula by Lake Titicaca, Titilaka hotel offers extensive private grounds and blissful isolation in this region of striking natural beauty.
Cradled by the snow-capped Andes, the cobalt blue lake shimmers under cloudless white-washed skies, making this minimalist luxury retreat the perfect hideaway for landscape photographers or hikers.
Bearing the Relais & Chateaux seal of approval, the hotel’s contemporary Peruvian cuisine is flavoursome and delicately presented, whilst a similar attention-to-detail is applied to Titilaka’s flexible service ethos.
Exclusivity and social responsibility are what sets Titilaka apart from its competition – activities at this remote lodge are conducted away from the mainstream tourist crowds and in collaboration with local indigenous communities who benefit directly from the interactions with lodge guests.
For an in-depth experience of one of the Andes’ most scenic spots – look no further.
CASA SAN AGUSTÍN, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
A city of such effortless Caribbean charm that it is almost impossible to dislike, Cartagena de Indias on Colombia’s north coast is overflowing with quirky luxury boutique properties hidden away in converted colonial mansions: Casa San Agustín, however, is unquestionably the best of the bunch.
With a light and airy design featuring splashes of delicate blue as a nod to the crystalline Caribbean Sea, and handcrafted touches sculpted from reclaimed wood or woven from local fibres offering rich textures as an earthy counterpoint to the smooth modern elements – this hotel is elegant, rustic and contemporary all in the same breath.
With a stunning spa, a private beach area and artfully preserved architectural characters, this hotel immerses guests in the magic of Cartagena’s colourful history with the utmost style.
MASHPI LODGE, CHOCÓ CLOUD FOREST, ECUADOR
Tucked away in the biodiverse equatorial Chocó bioregion, this environmentally conscious hotel offers a singularly in-depth wildlife experience in the cloud forested highlands of Ecuador.
One of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, Mashpi is a world-leader in sustainable eco-tourism and alongside providing discerning nature-loving travellers with world-class luxury accommodation, does important conservation work for the many endemic species in the area.
Minimalist suites with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows invite the verdant forest of the outside in, as the hotel restaurant celebrates the bounty of the Ecuadorian jungles with a delicious menu of sustainably sourced dishes inspired by local ingredients.
With responsible exploration of the cloud forests’ delicate eco-system as the lodge’s ruling priority, Mashpi takes guests on a journey into the untouched wild like nowhere else.
THE VINES, MENDOZA, ARGENTINA
Situated in the sunshine-soaked foothills of the towering central Andes, two hours south of Mendoza; this luxury boutique wine resort benefits from an indulgent full-service spa offering a playful menu of treatments conceived using ingredients inspired by the expansive local vineyards.
Sleek and spacious suites with a delicate, neutral colour-palette offer sweeping vistas of the mountains and surrounding vines.
Fine wines and hearty Argentine cuisine play a central role in the hospitality of this brutalist-style contemporary design hotel, with acclaimed Argentine chef Francis Mallman’s Siete Fuegos restaurant on-site serving a range of delectable rustic specialities such as 9-hour slow-grilled rib eye steak, cast-iron salt-baked salmon and regional grilled cheeses paired with award-winning boutique wines from the area.
TIERRA ATACAMA, SAN PEDRO, CHILE
Boasting striking views of the Licancabur Volcano and an exquisite contemporary architecture typical of the Tierra brand, Tierra Atacama gives each guest an immersive experience of the rugged, copper-toned landscapes of the Atacama Desert alongside outstanding service, cuisine and thoughtful, minimalist design.
Highlights of a stay at this chic luxury lodge include the tranquil outdoor pool, offering sweeping vistas of the snow-capped mountains and dusty lunar valleys; the UMA Spa, utilising locally sourced ingredients to inspire energising treatments to rejuvenate the body after a long day of exploring; or the colourful gourmet dining experience, placing locally sourced produce and traditional preparation techniques centre stage.
For a luxury break in a region of peerless natural beauty, Tierra Atacama is the perfect choice.
CASANA, PREÁ, BRAZIL
Masterfully blending the laid-back bohemian beach sensibilities of the nearby windsurfing hub, Jericoacoara, with a technologically advanced approach to luxury hospitality more suited to the control room of a spaceship, or at the very least a sleek inner-city business hotel, Casana certainly stands out from the crowd.
Avant-garde details like the chic black-mirror infinity pool and the space-age bedside electrical control panels provide an interesting counterpoint to Preá’s unspoiled coastal landscape of pale sand and isolated coconut palms occupying the hotel’s doorstep.
Casana offers accommodation on a full-board basis and guests are treated to an ever-changing menu of colourful meals updated daily to incorporate freshest local produce.
Elegant plates of exotic fruit, organic vegetables and fresh seafood are developed using innovative cooking techniques to delight even the most refined palate.
AWASI IGUAZÚ, PUERTO IGUAZÚ, ARGENTINA
With much more to explore than merely the magnificent Iguassu waterfalls that have made it so internationally famous, Awasi Iguazú’s unique programmes offer guests the opportunity to get to know the hidden delights of Argentina’s Misiones province.
Composed of 14 stand-alone villas tucked away amongst the verdant tropical vegetation of the Atlantic rainforest, guests of Awasi have a private guide and 4×4 vehicle at their disposal during the entirety of their stay to explore the region at their own pace.
Naturally, time spent peering over the barriers above the deafening Iguassu Falls is a must-do – however, specialist birdwatching, illuminating cultural visits to local Guaraní tribes and intrepid river kayaking on the Rio Paraná are also an option.
THE SINGULAR PATAGONIA, PUERTO BORIES, CHILE
Housed in a distinctive historic building overlooking the icy waters of the Fjord of Last Hope, The Singular Patagonia occupies the skeleton of Chile’s first ever cold-storage facility from which refrigerated meats produced in the region were shipped to Europe to feed war-weary troops in the early 20th century.
Repurposing much of the old warehouse machinery to imbue the hotel’s industrial décor with some typically Patagonian heritage charm, this luxury institution still encompasses an on-site museum dedicated to educating travellers on the history of Patagonia’s settlement.
Serving a varied menu of outstanding Chilean cuisine, offering thoughtful personalised service, and a truly original programme of excursions in the hotel’s expansive private reserve – The Singular is an experience in the far south like no other.
KACHI LODGE, UYUNI, BOLIVIA
Situated in the midst of unquestionably one of the most surreal landscapes on earth, the striking geometric domes of Kachi Lodge perch on raised wooden platforms above the shimmering ethereal whiteness of the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.
Offering a luxury ‘glamping’ experience in Bolivia’s remote southern Altiplano, these six rustic-chic domes evoke the cultural and artistic heritage of the Andes featuring cosy alpaca-wool fabrics, hand-crafted furniture of reclaimed wood and exquisite woven-wicker details.
Providing a jarring contrast with the sophisticated neutral palette is the original artwork of Bolivian artist Gastón Ugalde’s bold technicolour pieces, bringing a little of modern Bolivia into the otherwise understated design.
Guests enjoy wholly bespoke private tours of the Salt Flats during their stay and full board gourmet meals provided in partnership with Gustu, one of La Paz’s most innovative and in-demand dinner venues.