Tiffany Sun, 29, and Alexis Tirado, 32, web editors
Duration: One Week
“We’ve been friends for seven years, and taken one trip every year since we met. Neither of us is jocky, but we love being outdoors and have gone horseback riding in Lake Tahoe and kayaking in Nantucket. We’re into majestic landscapes, animals, and going on hunts for the locals’ favorite foods.”
Go here: Chiloé, Chile
Why now: Once accessible only by ferry, this 3,200-plus-square-mile island off the coast of southern Chile is getting its first airport in November. Nature lodges, boutique hotels, and farm-to-table restaurants have sprung up to meet touristic demand, which is gathering steam thanks to a dramatic coastline flush with wildlife.
What to do: Plan your tour of the island’s fourteen UNESCO World Heritage wood-shingle churches at Ancud visitor center (Federico Errazuriz 227; iglesiasdechiloe.cl), not forgetting to stop by the Puñihuil penguin colony ($12.70; pinguineraschiloe.cl), now managed by the national parks. Or, you can take a self-guided kayak tour ($8) of the Chepu River wetlands (56-9-9227-4517; chepuadventures.com), before heading into the island’s interior. From January to March, don’t miss the Museo de Arte Moderno Chiloé (Parque Municipal de Castro; mamchiloe.cl), a contemporary-art museum in a shingled farmhouse on the outskirts of Castro.
Where to stay: The twelve-room, all-inclusive Refugia lodge (from $530; refugia.cl), which opened in September near Castro and perches atop a hill that looks out on Corcovado Gulf, makes use of the archipelago’s master wood carvers and weavers in its high-design interiors. Budget travelers can opt for the contemporary reinterpretation of an old stilted house in Castro’s Gamboa district at Hotel Boutique Palafito 1326 (from $92; palafito1326.cl).
What to eat: Dine on king-crab ceviche and locally sourced lamb chops at the recently remodeled Lef (Espejo de Luna, Ruta Chonchi Camino Queilen Km. 35; 56-91-458-933), a two-level resto-bar inside of an boat, turned on its side, in the middle of nowhere. At night, snack on steamed mussels or tablas of charcuterie at Castro’s hipster cocktail temple Patrimonial (Balmaceda 291; 56-65-534-990).
Buy this: A hand-woven, naturally dyed wool scarf designed by Huilliche artisans ($40) from Ancud’s Kelgwo (359 Calle Eleuterio Ramirez; kelgwo.cl).
Also consider: Bedding down at Ecuador’s all-inclusive cloud-forest nature preserve, Mashpi Lodge (from $1,296; mashpilodge.com), which has its own gondola-esque lift system, observation tower, and aerial bicycle line.