EcoCamp Patagonia - Torres del Paine
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine
Torre del Paine
“It was so nice to come back home to a wonderful room and fabulous dinners. I can't say enough. Very professional. I would recommend spending the extra for the domes with the ensuite woodstoves and showers..” Lavakids2003, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
EcoCamp Patagonia is an innovative leader in adventure trekking, with expert guides taking travellers through the wild Patagonian plains past glacial lakes, snow-capped mountains, fierce waterfalls and exquisite wildlife.
EcoCamp Suite domes cater to those looking to combine adventure and nature immersion with a more comfortable relaxed stay in the heart of Torres del Paine. Suite domes were designed for sleeping in the highest level of comfort allowed by sustainable development in a natural untarnished environment.
Unforgettable trekking tours in Patagonia - experience the wild country individually and marvel at the extraordinary landscape. Enjoy an amazing trip in Chile, which will bring together people and country.
Rates are for package deals (starting at EUR 667,- for 4 days)
- Enjoy the spectacular Paine massif in Patagonia with endless wildlife and trekking in Torres del Paine National Park! Cascada Expediciones owns and operates the world-famous Eco Camp Patagonia where sustainable accommodation, good food & wine and friendly guides await on your EcoCamp Experience.
being local - authentic experiences
Inside Suite Domes
- Spacious 28m² / 300ft² area
- Open terrace to read, relax and admire the view
- Enclosed porch to hang wet clothing
- Comfortable King-size or twin beds
- Low-emission wood stove
- Patagonian decoration
- Propane heater in bathroom
- Private fully-equipped bathroom
- State of the art composting toilet
What made two university friends who owned a small adventure travel company decide to create the world’s first geodesic hotel in Chilean Patagonia? In one of the world’s largest areas of wilderness with one of the most powerful climates, EcoCamp Patagonia opened its doors in 2001 after Javier Lopez, Yerko Ivelic and Nani Astorga combined a new style of lodging, resistant to the fierce Patagonian winds, with sustainable hotel features they’d seen across the world.
They knew the best way forward was to build examples of sustainability, and where better than a revered national park where travellers could be shown that they could enjoy the wilderness in a responsible way without leaving a footprint?
EcoCamp Patagonia Green Initiatives
The design premise behind EcoCamp was to create accommodation where travellers could connect with nature and explore Torres del Paine without leaving a footprint.
- Green Energy
- Waste Management
- Environmental Certification
- Carbon Free
All domes have semi-spherical structures which minimise external surface area and temperature exchange through walls as well as giving maximum internal space and ensuring a uniform distribution of wind stress.
Dome exteriors are green and of limited height so they blend harmoniously into the natural environment. All walls have an outer canvas layer and thick insulation cushion, ensuring warmth and protection from strong winds. Skylight windows allow guests to follow natural light patterns, star gaze at night, and utilise natural heat and light resources.
Minimal excavation and raised open platforms minimises the foundations of EcoCamp and means local fauna is not disrupted but can freely roam around on the ground. At night we light the walkways very subtly so as not to disturb animals.
The portable design of EcoCamp ensures it does no harm to the environment and can relocate without leaving a trace – as was proven in 2005 when EcoCamp moved to Estancia Cerro Paine at the foot of the Towers without leaving a trace.
All of the electricity (which is very little as most of our efforts go to efficiency and electricity saving) comes from a micro-hydro turbine and photovoltaic panels.
Energy is gathered together in a 24V battery bank to power all of EcoCamp’s refrigerators, lighting, electrical appliances, stereos etc. Propane gas is only used to heat water and superior domes. A pilot scheme to heat shower water with solar energy is in motion.
Water from the river enters the micro-hydro turbine at 5 litres per second with a net pressure of 38 meters delivering a steady power of 800 Watts. An inverter is used to switch from the 24V DC in the battery bank to 220 AC, the standard voltage in Chile.
An array of 1700 Watt photovoltaic panels – also connected to the battery bank – collect the extra energy needed at Ecocamp. Electricity is limited and only available to guests for charging camera batteries and laptops, not using hairdryers or electric razors. Solar energy is very efficient in summer when Patagonia receives up to 17 hours of sunlight daily.
Domes have skylight windows so natural light and heat can be utilized. This not only allows guests to follow natural light patterns but saves electricity, leaving us confident that our renewable energy sources are sufficient and fossil fuels are not needed. Suite domes have a wood stove for warmth, recycling dead wood from the park and avoiding the need to use diesel.
EcoCamp’s sustainable design, structure, implementation and maintenance is all the direct work of the owners themselves. Javier Lopez and Yerko Ivelic, both Chilean engineers, worked to design a hotel concept which would allow them to rely almost entirely on green energy.
They then installed the micro-hydro turbine and composting toilet devices and taught a team of skilled workers how to work and maintain these features. To this date, ten years after EcoCamp’s opening, the owners continue to travel to Torres del Paine to oversee implementation and maintenance of the sophisticated structure they put in place all those years ago
The EcoCamp has a basic policy of environmentally-sensitive waste management which includes bringing as little paper, tin and plastic into the wilderness as possible.
All waste brought in is separated at the source and stored according to its recycling status: organic, paper, glass, and dangerous or toxic materials. All non-organic materials are removed and sent to the closest town of Punta Arenas to be recycled or disposed of and organic material is fed to a neighbouring pig farm.
Guides ensure guests leave no rubbish en route during treks, and that all non-biodegradable material is brought back to EcoCamp to be properly disposed of. Guests reuse zip-lock lunch bags and water flasks.
All of the suppliers are choosen extremely carefully, ensuring they are all aware of and meet with our environmental standards. We buy in bulk so as to limit individual packaging and our suppliers limit packaging brought into the park to an absolute minimum.
Guests recycle their lunch bags everyday and use the same flask which they re-fill with water en route during their trek.
We have a traveller handbook in all domes informing guests of our ecological practices and their responsibilities while in the park, which include staying on the raised wooden walkways, never smoking inside domes, using biodegradable hygiene products, always returning waste to the recycling point at EcoCamp, taking batteries back home, minimising time in the shower and sharing transport to and from EcoCamp.
EcoCamp has the world’s southern-most composting device, and the first in the hotel industry in the whole of Chile and Patagonia. Composting chambers collect waste from toilets and solid waste remains in the chamber, mixed with paper and wood chips, and is heated to keep microorganisms alive and the compost process active.
Liquids are passed through a cleaning chamber, filtered, then passed into the ground. Due to the low temperatures in Patagonia, great effort is required to maintain the active process.
EcoCamp has been certified as an ISO14001 property, complying with high environmental standards and constantly testing and sharing new, innovative green ideas in anattempt to set the bar for other tourism developers. To date we are the only lodge or hotel in Chile and Patagonia to have received such recognition.
EcoCamp has also been ISO9001 certified, ensuring the highest standards of management principles are met.
In 2009 EcoCamp Patagonia was highly commended in Virgin holidays’ Responsible Tourism Awards, stating that EcoCamp sits ‘at the cutting edge of environmental practice with the design and creation of their innovative 4* Geodesic dome tented hotel…’
In the year 2008, Ecocamp became a Carbon Neutral company. Our goal is to minimize our emissions of CO2 as much as possible and in the future hopefully become a CO2-free lodge. Between June 2009 and June 2010 we offset 183.680 tonnes of CO2 emissions and between July 1st 2010 and June 30th 2011 we offset229.402 tonnes.
We avoid transport pollution by buying all of our food from nearby farm suppliers and greenhouses who have only to drive a few hours to deliver supplies, as opposed to other hotels who receive deliveries on flights from the capital or abroad. Also, all of our handicrafts and decorations and some furniture is made by local artists who, again, have limited transport requirements