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Explora Patagonia, Chile

The scene: A contemporary lodge, plopped onto a lakeside, mountain-view plot in Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park. Staggering scenery, splendid isolation, gargantuan bill. Guided adventures on foot, boat, bike, car and horseback are included in the tariff. Opened in 1993 (I visited in 1995), this was first in a chain of remote South American luxury lodgings that now includes Easter Island and the Atacama Desert. (None of the Explora properties was affected by the Feb. 27 Chilean earthquake.) Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times