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Latin Distractions: Escapes, Experiences and Events

Tierra Patagonia Takes the Crown

February 12th, 2013

Tierra Patagonia Awarded Best Resort In the Ninth Annual TRAVEL + LEISURE Design Awards

Property Entrance: Copyrighted by: Tierra Pataongia

Santiago, Chile,  (February 12, 2013) –  Tierra Patagonia, located on the edge of Chile’s Torres del Paine national park, takes the crown, being named Best Resort in theTravel + Leisure 2013 Design Awards, joining a prestigious group of winners in a range of categories. The award winners, announced in New York last week and currently featured on, are considered powerful examples of the ways in which good design makes better travel.

Blending traditional Patagonian hospitality with design inspired by the dramatic surroundings, Tierra Patagonia opened in December 2011 and possesses one of South America’s most iconic hotel addresses. The 40-room resort – sister property to the award-winning Tierra Atacama –  occupies a premier location on the shores of Lake Sarmiento, at the entrance to Torres del Paine National Park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, boasting stunning views of the legendary Paine Massif, one of the most photographed landmarks of the Patagonian region.

“We are delighted and honored for Tierra Patagonia to be recognized with this Travel + Leisure award,” said Miguel Purcell, General Manager of Tierra Hotels. “Our intention was to create a space and aesthetic that connects guests emotionally to the unique surroundings and natural beauty of Patagonia, and our design team captured that with a dramatic and graceful viewpoint.”

Tierra Hotels’ owners brought together Chile’s leading architects - Cazu Zegers, Roberto Benavente and Rodrigo Ferrer – to design the hotel to blend beautifully with the natural patterns and topography of its privileged location, aiming to minimize the impact on the land while maximizing the awe-inspiring setting. The result is a harmonious architectural dialog between the elements, landscape and culture.

Hotel View | Copyrighted by: Tierra Patagonia

Architect Cazu Zegers drew inspiration from years of travel to the region and her connection to the environment, from her first journey by motorbike in the 1970s to a recent water coloring trek. Zeger’s concept for Tierra Patagonia was born from an ambition to find an architectural language that would translate the aesthetics of Chilean culture and give the structure relevance to its breathtaking location. The finished hotel rises from the shore of Lake Sarmiento at the foot of Torres del Paine National Park like a 200-foot-long sand dune, resembling forms drawn by the wind or “an old fossil, a prehistoric animal beached on the lake shore, like those studied by Charles Darwin,” described Zegers.

This environmental relevance greatly influences the guest experience, starting with the journey and arrival to the hotel as the Torres del Paine peaks come into view. “On approach at a distance you see the peaks before you actually see the hotel; it’s hidden within the landscape before it reveals itself,” said Zegers.

While the architecture is meant to centerpiece the landmarks, Zegers built in comforts to make the hotel a “second skin,” protecting guests from Patagonia’s harsh elements without limiting their interaction with the mystic beauty of the place.  All exterior materials were sourced from the area, including the stone that anchors the base of the hotel and sustainably grown washed Lenga wood paneling that gives the exteriors a weathered finish typical of old wooden houses that have been worn away by winter seasons.

Pool Area | Copyrighted by: Tierra Patagonia

The interiors, which offer guests sumptuous comfort with minimal detail, have been created by Chilean designers Alexandra Edwards and Carolina Delpiano, who also designed the award-winning spaces at Tierra Atacama. Edwards and Delpiano incorporate hand-crafted furnishings using natural Patagonian textiles, wools and trims, to evoke the surrounding environment with comfort and style. The interiors offer a sense of tranquility and solace from the extreme elements of the outdoors, for guests to relax and feel at home. Interiors are designed to be minimalistic, rather than stimulating.

When choosing an architect who echoed this philosophy, Purcell found Zegers to be the ideal partner. As the first female architect to receive the Great Latin America Architecture Prize at Bienal de Buenos Aires for her work on the Cala House (1993), Zeger leads her peers in returning to traditional design approaches and placing value on locally sourced materials. Her Tierra Patagonia design incorporates a “low-technology” ethos with high insulation, LED lighting, locally sourced materials, natural air conditioning and more. Zegers’ use of local materials and textiles reflects an emerging consciousness within Chile to support indigenous artisans and culturally significant trades like the wool industry.

Purcell has a deep connection with the environment and is passionate about preserving special places for future generations. To achieve this, Tierra Hotels strives to establish eco-tourism as an economic driver for Chile, creating a future for the country rooted in sharing outdoor experiences that are also celebrated through design and hospitality. Tierra Atacama serves as a blueprint for Tierra Patagonia’s sustainability efforts, and, in the initial design and construction phase, both hotels were built with the goal of providing the best adventure-spa experience with minimal disruption to the land, wildlife, history and local culture.

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Sibling Rivalry: Volcanos Over Argentina & Chile

February 9th, 2013

Argentinian photographer Federico R. Grosso captures a beautiful aerial perspective.

Sibling Rivalry | Photograph By: Federico Grosso | Camera: Canon 40D


CYS: What does this image — Sibling Rivalry — represent to you?
FG: It reminds me how small we are. When you see the magnificence of nature, represented here by the Argentinian/Chilean Lanin Volcano and the Chilean Villarrica Volcano, you understand a little how it all works; you realize that we are all just a glimpse.

CYS: How much timing and planning went into this photograph of volcanos over Argentina and Chile?
FG: I really didn’t have much time to take this shot. At the time my job was to photograph a lodge from a little airplane. As we approached the volcanoes, I saw the smoke coming out of the Villarrica Volcano. I couldn’t resist the urge to deviate my attention from the lodge and capture that magical moment.

CYS: Volcanoes hold a special meaning with you, having recently impacted your hometown of Villa La Angostura, Argentina. Do you care to elaborate for our audience?
FG: Sure. A little more than eight months after the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón del Caulle Volcano, Angostura’s nature is back. The greens have come through the sand and ashes. We have blooming flowers everywhere, but the bad part is that just a few people outside of Angostura know this. So we are having little tourism and our economy is in danger. Angostura depends on the tourism industry, and today most of the hotels in the area have a very low occupation rate—and we are in high season! The good in all of this, for me personally, is that this is the first summer where we can explore our surroundings uninhibited; we almost own the place because there is no one else here.

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quema de año viejo en ecuador

January 1st, 2013

When New Year's Eve traditions in Ecuador meet pop culture, the resulting photographs are quite... incredible. photo by: Ricardo Bohorquez

It’s new year’s eve in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and artists have assembled stunning sculptures made of wood, paper and fabric, only to burn them at midnight in a spectacular display that symbolizes the passing year. These sculptures, called años viejos, depict customary figures from ancient history as well as famous modern icons. For more photos of these años viejos gigantes by Ricardo Bohorquez, follow the link here.

Feliz año nuevo!

By: Kim Foster

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Customized, Luxury Travel to Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Peru

December 7th, 2012

Photo By: Artisans of Leisure

Recently we came across Artisans of Leisure, a luxury travel company specializing in exlucsive, customized tours around the world. They are well-known for their Ecuador & the Galapagos tours, which feature the very best Galapagos cruises. Silversea has announced that they will begin operating weekly cruises in the archipelago next year. Keep an eye out for their new tours that will include the Silversea boat, or contact them for more information.

Artisans of Lesisure highly recommends combining their Galapagos cruises with Machu Picchu in nearby Peru, as found in their Best of Peru & the Galapagos tour, or with extraordinary destinations in mainland Ecuador, such as the Amazon basin and the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

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World’s Highest Resolution Photo of Machu Picchu

November 16th, 2012

Machu Picchu 15.9 GigaPixel Photo | Photo By: Jeff Cremer

Kudos to photographer Jeff Cremer for capturing the world’s highest resolution photo ever taken of Machu Picchu. Coming in at a walloping 15.9 gigapixels, this unprecedented photo of Machu Picchu must be hosted upon it’s own special web page for viewing. Peruse every crevasse of this ancient Incan landmark here.

Cremer’s work was partially assisted with professional equipment regularly used in photography tours based from Rainforest Expeditions’ three eco-lodges deep in the Peruvian Amazon. Cremer used a Canon 7D with a 100-400mm f/5.6 lens and a Gigapan Epic Pro mount and Gitzo Basalt Explorer tripod.

“Machu Picchu is one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of the World and the most familiar icon of the ancient Inca,” explains Cremer when asked about his destination choice for the photo. “In 2008, the World Monuments Fund placed it on its Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world due to environmental degradation mostly from tourism. Beautiful, historical and threatened, I believed that this extraordinary site deserved a remarkable photo to hopefully raise awareness and help in its preservation.”

Special recognition goes to Peru’s visionary leader in sustainable tourism, Rainforest Expeditions, who sent Cremer, their photo tour director, away for the rest and relaxation which inspired such work.

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Second Baja Culinary Fest Combines Unique Food and Wine Experiences

October 13th, 2012

misión 19

Photo by: Misión 19

Tomorrow marks the last day of the second annual Baja California Culinary Fest, sharing the region’s food and wine traditions and new wave of gastronomic techniques with visitors through interactive experiences.

Participants have been celebrating the region’s artisan fare and premium wines in cities throughout Northern Baja between Oct. 11-14. Featuring special dinners, interactive events, cooking classes, competitions and entertainment, the region’s bountiful ingredients will take center stage with special guest stars from Sinaloa and California.

Headlining this year’s festival is an exclusive six-course guest chef meal merging the flavors of Baja and Sinaloa, a state also famous for its fresh seafood. Chefs Luis Osuna, Marino Maganda and Julian Portugal of Sinaloa, as well as Chef Bernard Guillas of La Jolla, Calif., will cook alongside Baja gastronomic celebrities Javier Plascencia, Miguel Angel Guerrero and Benito Molina, pioneers of the Baja Med movement. Baja Med infuses the region’s Mediterranean-like ingredients and Asian influences into traditional Mexican fare, and has been praised by American food personalities including Anthony Bourdain, Rick Bayless and Andrew Zimmern.

The amazing festival has also incorporated nearly 70 boutique and large production wineries, as well as the numerous craft breweries hailing from this region of Mexico.

Visit, like BCCulinary Fest on Facebook and follow @BCCulinaryFest on Twitter for the latest news.

For more information about Baja California and its current culinary attractions, visit

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Vivid Isla Mujeres, Mexico

September 4th, 2012

Instagram images by: @magger42

Textures and features of Instagram offer travelers a sandbox of creativity, especially with their mobile photography, as can be enjoyed by these vivid shots from around Isla Mujeres, Mexico. May your day be bright and your journey long.

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Hacienda Beach Club & Residences of Cabo Delivers the Lap of Luxury

August 14th, 2012

Hacienda Beach Club & Residences

Nestled upon the site of Cabo’s first commercial establishment — Hacienda Hotel — lies a unique and exclusive array of real estate options, including beachfront villas, resort residences and penthouses. Welcome to Hacienda Beach Club & Residences, its genesis a product of vision and determination.

Developer Don Koll first eyeballed this property thirty years ago, while along with fishing buddy John Wayne. Today, In partnership with Starwood Capital Group, a global leader in real estate investments, and acclaimed developer Del Mar Development, Koll put together the experienced team that built Hacienda. Incorporated throughout the grounds are sculptures, fountains and other architectural pieces from the original hotel. Credit the beauty to architects Hart Howerton and Grand Vision Arqitectos, Interior Designers Wilson & Associates and Ladco/Washington Park and Anderson Miller.

Hacienda Terrrace At Dusk

This 22-acre, $230 million private beach club and residential community provides visitors resort-like amenities just steps from downtown Cabo San Lucas. It will serve as a gateway to its vital cultural boardwalk and marketplace, which is home to more than 30 restaurants, a world-class marina and active waterfront. Hacienda will provide its owners with a unique resort-like experience within the comfort and familiarity of a private residence.

We are happy to provide our audience with more information on Real Estate and Rental Accommodations. Hacienda consists of 109 homes with three distinct styles: two-story detached beachfront villas, view-oriented attached resort residences and penthouses atop four to six-story buildings available for purchase and vacation rental. Real Estate prices start from $499,000 and vacation rental prices range from $550 – $3,750/night.

Hacienda Beach Club and Residences Beach Club

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Chilean Indie Sensation, Astro, Debuting In U.S.

August 7th, 2012

Chilean Band Astro | Photo by: Nacional Records

There’s a Chilean indie sensation carving roots in the world of music, and now they’re trenching a path into marketing campaigns and the gaming world, too. So, if you’re toying with EA Sports’ upcoming FIFA 13 soccer video game, listen for “Panda,” a sensationally trippy song that’s sure to convert playtime into Astro audience development. They are also expected as part of a new Bloomingdales campaign this year.

And on September 4th, Astro will release their self-titled U.S. debut albumn. Astro has earned comparisons to MGMT and Chrystal Castles, while the band cites Deerhunter and Yeasayer as influences.

Lovely, melodic, reverbed falsetto, epic/dreamlike synth effects and real rock ‘n’ roll drumming.” MTV IGGY

Designers of one of the most universally beloved indie hits to come out of South America in years (“Maestro Distorsión”), Astro is also the protagonist of one of the most divisive young careers in our Iberoamerican pop landscape.” Club Fonograma

Be sure to check out their new music video, Ciervos, sampling the playfully surreal vibe that was said to have secured many 2012 SXSW converts.

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Rewarding Latin American Travelers for USA Olympic Glory

July 30th, 2012

Esencia | A Seaside Estate

Here’s another reason to cheer “USA!” as American athletes go for gold. Latin America travel fans can now jump on amazing discounts available at five boutique, luxury hotels in Latin America! The special “Bring Home the Gold” incentives will reward Latin American travelers for the USA’s Olympic glory and could amount to up to a 70% discount off of room rates for trips booked by August 31, 2012.

Guests who reserve their stays at any of the five hotels during the designated period will be entitled to 2% off their room rates per gold medal the USA has won at the time of booking. By the end of the games, the offer could amount to over a 60% discount.

We have included site links and main numbers for these five boutique, luxury properties. For more information:

Visit Casa Bonita or call (800) 961-5133 (Dominican Republic)
Visit Hotel Esencia or call (877) 528-3490 (Mexico)
Visit Guaycura or call (800) 468-6039 (Mexico)
Visit Pico Bonito or call (888) 428-0221 (Honduras)
Visit Sublime Semana or call (888) 896-9416 (Dominican Republic)

Discount Details:
The discount will be taken off of the normal rates and will not be combined with any other offer, package or promotion. This special is valid for travel through October 31, 2012. The full amount must be paid at the time of booking and is non-refundable. The discount will be capped at 35 medals – a 70% discount.

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