This lodge just north of Patagonia is really the perfect spot for working remotely
Amid the workplace shift what has become known as the Great Resignation, increasingly, many employees are planning to continue work remotely. And with summer on the horizon, many of them are likely going to continue another pandemic-spurred trend: the workcation, essentially combining work and play in just working from a hotel or resort for a longer stay.
If you’re going to commit to working remotely while seeing the world, consider making a go of it in a dream destination. Sure, it might seem silly to travel so far to a dreamy locale for working remotely, but as anyone who has been on a writer’s retreat knows, a good location can be a bottomless fountain for inspiration.
Located in the Araucanía region of Chile’s Lake District, the 54-acre estate of AndBeyond Vira Vira truly has something for every kind of visitor and group, whether they be families, couples, friends, or solo travelers. Pre-pandemic, the resort also played host to a number of corporate retreats, and with more COVID-imposed border restrictions coming down, the hotel could be welcoming more of those groups back soon, too.
There are multiple amenities and facets that make Vira Vira ideal for remote working, starting with what is actually the most crucial factor for enabling remote work: strong and consistent Wi-FI across the property.
All of the rooms are also outfitted with long wooden desks and chairs (so no working from the couch or bed, although the latter is extremely comfy here, so you might be tempted). And the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the villa are inspiring, whether they be facing the lagoon or the mountains.
Of course, to make the most out of working remotely, you also want to be able to get out and enjoy the local scenery. And here the scenery is breathtaking as soon as you walk out the front door with a prime view of the the snow-capped Villarica volcano in the distance.
Vira Vira is well located to all of the local national parks and major lakes that comprise the Lake District, as well as the local town Púcán, which has a real ski village vibe with plenty of boutiques and trendy restaurants. (The only essential place that is far is the airport, which is about two hours by car, but the hotel can arrange airport transfer.)
The hotel also arranges tours and excursions for guests, with options for any level of adventure seeking. That can range from easy hikes in the national park surrounding Villarica (where you can see the Araucaria araucana (“monkey puzzle”) trees, some of which are over 1,000 years old) to more ambitious treks around the base of a volcano.
Or you can try paddleboarding and kayaking versus whitewater rafting. Other excursions include mountain biking, birdwatching, catch-and-release fishing, and even a helicopter tour that goes right over the top of the volcano—when weather permits, of course. And for working parents traveling with children, there is a range of fun-filled adventures with the hotel’s WILDChild program, which includes cooking and fishing lessons.
Depending how many people are in your group, there are several capacity options. There are six suites within the main lodge as well as 12 villas and one five-bedroom hacienda. The last one has a full dining room, living room, second-floor balcony, and a spacious kitchen. With the kitchen you can opt to cook for yourselves, but everyone at the resort can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the main lodge’s restaurant, which takes farm-to-table to heart given most of the ingredients come from the estate’s own farm, vegetable garden, and onsite cheese factory. There’s also a full cocktail bar, and a selection of Chilean wines available at each meal.
The AndBeyond travel company also has made a strong commitment to promoting conservation across its properties in Africa, Asia, and South America. The first piece of evidence that might jump out to guests is the clear lack of plastic materials used in the guest rooms or at the restaurant. (Snacks, for example, are wrapped up in paper closed with a bit of string. And distilled water is stocked in every room in reusable glass bottles.)
Some of the other conservation efforts particular to the Vira Vira site start within the main lodge, which is lined with recycled and certified wood, and the interior surface is treated with organic products (natural wax). All of the lamps in the lodge and outdoor spaces are fitted with LED bulbs, and 100% of the lodge’s central heating is generated by certified wood pellets.
Getting to and around Chile is quite simple as Latam Airlines has multiple direct flights from Los Angeles and New York City, among other North American departure points, with connections available out of Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. To get to the Lake District, Araucanía Airport in Temuco is your best entry point.
The Araucanía region is also just north of Patagonia. While it does have cooler temperatures than northern Chile, the weather is more stable here than in Patagonia. So if you’re going to plan an adventurous trip to Patagonia, consider setting up at Vira Vira after so that you can make the most of the relaxing and peaceful mood in the Lake District. Rates are best right now, too, as South America is about to enter winter in a few months. The high season, summer in the Southern Hemisphere, is December and January.
Since reopening to international vaccinated visitors, getting into Chile can be a time consuming process with a lot of paperwork. As of now, non-citizens coming into Chile need to fill out a vaccination verification form, which can take up to a month to have verified.
Once that certificate has been processed and issued, visitors then need to fill out affidavits within 48 hours of departure, both for the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, the latter being the typical customs form you fill out when entering most countries in pre-pandemic times. And for the time being, a negative PCR test is still required, which must be taken within 72 hours before departure.
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