If you are looking for that somewhere really special, and I don’t mean uber luxury, but somewhere that has charm and inspiration, in a breathtaking location, then head to Helsingfors Lodge in Patagonia. That’s what I did, and it was a very memorable experience.
We were staying in a hotel in El Calafate, and as we had rented a car, we awoke early to make sure we got to the lodge for a decent time. On certain days they run complimentary transfers to the lodge but I preferred the drive myself. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t fantastic but the roads were nice wide open roads and with barely a car in sight, the rain did not phase us one bit. The drive to Helsingfors can only be desribed as somewhat of an adventure! After driving a good 45 minutes towards El Chalten, through beautiful Patagonian steppe landscape, we arrived at the turning to the lodge. The hours off road drive down a narrow unsealed path over hills and streams can only be described as somewhat bumpy in our small Vauxhall Kia! But how it was worth the wait! At the end of this pass was Helsingfors Lodge, an utterly secluded lodge in the middle of Patagonia, set on the most beautiful and crystal clear blue lake overlooked by the mountains and trees. Not a car, house or hotel in sight, this was my idea of complete heaven.
As we parked the car, a very friendly and fresh faced young man who turned out to be Pablo, the Helsingfors manager, rushed to meet and greet us. From the car, he led us over a man-made bridge which crossed the river, and up to the lodge down the path shaded by large Patagonian trees. Upon arrival to the lodge you are struck by, not only by the location and the complete tranquility of your surroundings, but by this quaint and rustic lodge that seems so well placed.
As we were only visiting for the day, we left our belongings in one of the cozy and delightful rooms, and sat down in the lounge area for a coffee and snack after our journey. I couldnt help thinking at this point that I could easily stay a few days at this wonderful retreat and I immediately got a sense of relaxation and release just being here, away from people and civilisation.This would almsot certainly qualify as a relaxing escape from the outside world, perfect for a honeymoon or special occasion.
The great thing about Helsingfors is the activities that are included in your stay. The friendly guides will take you on treks in the surrounding countryside or take you on the Helsingfors boat to see the surrounding glaciers in the area. So if you are not one for tourist hotspots and are not fussed about seeing Perito Moreno glacier, then this is just as good an option but much more private. The guides are knowledgeable and it takes any worry about costs of tours as it is all included.
Besides the trips and activities, Helsingfors is a full board lodge that offers delicious fresh food, served in a cozy dining room, where you will most certainly meet fellow travellers.The communal areas are really comfortable and the atmosphere is really friendly and warm. After a filling and scrumptious meal, retire to one of the sofas located next to a lovely warm log fire and a bar, and enjoy the company of others and perhaps a nightcap before retiring to a comfortable bed, where you will fall asleep to the sound of nature and tranquility all around.
After experiencing this lodge for myself, I cannot recommend Helsingfors enough. It really is a special place for its location, I have never come across a place with such surrounding natural beauty and diversity. It really will blow you away.
View more pictures and further details about Helsingfors Lodge by clicking here 03/07/2012