Without a doubt, South America is one of the quintessential overlanding destinations in the Southern hemisphere. Its enormous stretches of uninhabited terrain are punctuated with tropical rainforests, desert steppes, and jagged alpine summits. And for travelers interested in exploring South America’s most extreme and exotic landscapes, the national parks of Southern Chile’s Patagonia region will blow your mind.
Torres del Paine translates to “towers of blue,” and it is one of the most well-known national parks in Chile’s Patagonia region. If you happen to visit this incredible glaciated wonderland at the bottom of the South American continent, you should know about EcoCamp Patagonia, a collection of geodesic domes that you can stay in, all within the borders of the Torres del Paine National Park.
Staying At EcoCamp
EcoCamp is operated by Cascada Expediciones, founded in 1991 by college friends Yerko Ivelic and Javier Lopez and environmental steward Nani Astorga. With a mission to create sustainable lodging built by hand, on a “human scale,” EcoCamp also aims to create deep connections between humans and nature through healthy physical activity and travel in amazing landscapes.
Here are some of Cascada’s core values as described on their website:
Passion for Nature
We believe that being in nature, in its most pristine state, is a transformative experience which brings people closer to their most essential human qualities. Active exploration in nature allows us to live better lives. This is why it is important that we teach everything we know about preserving nature, so others can enjoy it as much as we do.
Being Proud Hosts
We work to make the most remote, natural places more accessible, as well as offering pleasant stays in off-the-beaten-path climates and geographies. We advise our travelers during their trips and preparation, the same way we would help our close friends, so they can have a travel experience that will enrich their lives.
This world doesn’t belong to us; we are only passing through it. We want our actions to have a positive impact on the environment and serve as an example of excellence in sustainability. We want each traveler to gain awareness and minimize his/her environmental impact in nature, later taking that experience and knowledge home and repeating it in the future.
The Geodesic Accommodations
EcoCamp claims to have the world’s first geodesic hotel rooms, and they offer four different styles of domes at their Torres del Paine operation.
Standard – Don’t let the name fool you, the Standard Dome is 108 square feet of rustic luxury (an interesting juxtaposition, I know!). This basic room is very simple, offering sleeping accommodations, a shared bathroom (with composting toilets), and a safe for your valuables. There is no electricity or heat, but in exchange for roughing it, you have one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world immediately outside your door.
Superior – For those requiring a bit more comfort, the superior dome is 250 square feet and has the addition of heating, a private composting toilet, and renewable energy for charging things like computers or cameras (sorry, no high-energy use items like hair dryers).
Suite – This 300-square-foot dome ups the ante in terms of comfort. The suite dome is decorated in the local Patagonian style and includes a private bathroom with a composting toilet and hot water, a wood stove, a safe, and some of the best views available at the site.
Suite Loft – This is the biggest and most comfortable accommodation offered at EcoCamp. It consists of a 398-square-foot dome with a wood stove, private bathroom (hot water and composting toilet), and an additional lofted sleeping area.
With a smattering of awards including Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence,” the Chilean National Tourism Service’s Most Value in Tourism, the Sustainable Luxury in Latin America Award, and named one of the World’s Greatest Places by Time magazine, EcoCamp Patagonia should definitely be on your shortlist of destinations to visit in South America.
Learn more about EcoCamp and plan your visit here.