Photo courtesy of EcoCamp Patagonia
Consisting of 25 domes, EcoCamp was inspired by the round houses of ancient tribes that formerly inhabited the area now known as Torres del Paine National Park. There are three categories of domes, all made from green plastic with sheer windows. Standard domes feature twin or double beds and a shared, campsite-style bathroom. Standard domes don’t have central heating and can be nippy in the Patagonian climate. Superior domes have gas heaters and en suite bathrooms. The suite domes are similar to the superior rooms, but have wood-burning stoves (and the suite dome loft has two floors). Domes are connected by raised wooden walkways for minimal environmental impact. Communal meals and pre-excursion briefings take place in the central community dome.
Sunrise at EcoCamp
If you value nature and wilderness right outside your front (yurt) door, then EcoCamp Patagonia is the place for you, as its situated right in Torres del Paine National Park. It's so special to wake up each morning and go to bed each night with a view of Las Torres (for which the National Park is named) right from your dome's window. EcoCamp is for the traveler who appreciates a closeness and proximity to what makes this region so remote and beautiful; it really connects you with Patagonia's wilderness. To illustrate: on the third day of staying at EcoCamp on their 5-Day W Trek program, you start your trek right from the camp's backyard after breakfast. It's also a fully sustainable but high-end accommodation, complete with composting bins, solar panels, and shared bathrooms. Pair that experience with cozy happy hours with charcuterie and pisco sours at sundown, surrounded by furnace fires and fur throws, and it was my heaven. Important to note: the Standard Domes where I stayed have no heat or electricity, nor en-suite bathrooms, but those amenities are available at EcoCamp if you book a Superior or Suite Dome.
Nomadic Lodgings: Ecocamp in Patagonia, Chile
The traditional dwellings of the region’s Kawésqar people inspired Ecocamp’s domed structures. Constructed from locally sourced materials, they make use of solar and wind energy. —Kellie Schmitt Ecocamp, (800) 901-6987, from $1,200 per person for a five-day stay with trek.
Doing Good in Torres Del Paine
Now this is how you build lodging that fits into a park and it's ecosystem! Ecocamp is located on a little hill tucked away on it’s own with Las Torres peak perched above it. The circular domes look like Hobbit houses, but are meant to represent the old native structures used by the Kaweskars, a nomadic tribe in Patagonia. Their native semi-circular huts were built from simple materials, built to withstand the strong Patagonian winds, and they left no trace behind when they moved on. The modern Ecocamp domes each have a bed, and a nightstand but there is no electricity or plumbing in the standard dome. However with the long days of the Patagonian summer there isn’t much need for lights. The domes are connected by a raised wooden walkway as a means to preserve the ground and plants underneath. Power is collected and used via solar panels and from a nearby micro hydro turbine. The shared composting toilets for the standard domes are nicely situated in the middle of camp including a nice area to wash out close and hang them to dry. There are 3 large domes and a bar providing a shared area with couches, books, games, a dining dome. Each structure seemed to be situated to admire Los Torres. This is a place where you not only come for a little Torres Del Paine pampering, but you also come to unplug. There’s no internet or cell connection at Ecocamp. More Info: Ecocamp offers a variety of hiking tours too http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/responsible-tourism-patagonia/
My wife and I stayed at EcoCamp and trekked "The W" with them. I highly recommend the place and the organization. We slept in the simplest/cheapest dome (no heater, etc). It was plenty warm. The dome is insulated well and the bedding is ample. The floor is raised. It had a nice window with mountain views. The "party" domes where you take your meals and mingle are really large and very cool. The location is incredible with views of the Towers, into Patagonia, etc. I took amazing sunrise photos of the Towers and surrounding area right from EcoCamp. You are right in the heart of Torres del Paine when staying here. It is a spectacular place.
Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile