Lonely Planet Writer

This Chilean retreat mixes adventure and tradition with breathtaking scenery

Luxury adventure resort andBeyond has debuted its first property outside of Africa. andBeyond Vira Vira is located close to Pucón, in Chile’s Lake District, a picturesque region that’s famous for adventure sports, an abundance of otherworldly national parks and forests, serene lakeside villages, black-sand beaches, glacial lakes and looming snow-capped volcanoes.

An exterior shot of the Vira Vira villa. Image by andBeyond

andBeyond entered the South American market by establishing a solid tour operating platform first in Chile and Argentina, followed by Peru and Ecuador. At the same time they continued to search for properties, as well as other conservation and community development-led opportunities that fit the andBeyond model. They found such an opportunity in Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira, where owners Michael and Claudia Paravicini and their team had set a strong foundation, combining a stunning property with breathtaking scenery and incredible service.

A suite room at Vira Vira lodge. Image by andBeyond

Located in a natural park and surrounded by lagoons, flowing rivers and impressive views of the Villarrica Volcano, andBeyond Vira Vira is set on almost 100-acres of a modern working farm which includes an organic vegetable garden, dairy and an award-winning cheese factory. The lodge hosts an upscale restaurant and al fresco dining on the banks of the Licura River and the farm’s freshly-grown produce is featured on the restaurant’s menu.

A space to relax by the river at Vira Vira Lodge. Image by andBeyond

The Vira Vira lodge is home to 12 villas, six suites, and a five-room hacienda appointed with locally-sourced furnishings like textured Chilean rugs, handwoven tapestries, restored antiques, Mapuche artefacts and artworks from local artists, including acclaimed sculptor, Mariana Canepa. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning and under-floor heating and the main lodge features additional amenities such as a library, two hot tubs, a spa, yoga centre and a bar where guests can choose from over 1000 different Chilean wines.

The indoor fireplace at the hacienda. Image by andBeyond

The resort also offers activities such as horse-riding, hiking, fly-fishing, whitewater-rafting, kayaking, skiing and scenic helicopter flights. It promotes itself as a family-friendly destination and the lodge’s WILDchild programs are both fun and educational.

Autumn chestnuts, apple cider and parmesan cheese from the Vira Vira farm. Image by andBeyond

Just as andBeyond does in Africa, the Vira Vira lodge will be working closely with the community to provide opportunities to experience the culture and traditions of the local Mapuche people. The company’s CEO Joss Kent said in a statement: “over the past three years we have taken major steps forward in our long-term goal of exporting this model out of Africa and into South America. We believe that the expertise and knowledge we have gained in Africa can, in time, create a meaningful impact on this beautiful continent.”

Views from the terrace at Vira Vira Lodge. Image by andBeyond