In Patagonia time seems to fly as fast the wind, and we cannot believe most of our partners and friends from ATTA (Adventure Travel Tourism Association) and ATLAS (Active Travel Latin America) have already gone home. Now we have to wait one more year to get together again – this time, with different lakes and mountains. Yes, we’ll be there next year, in Alaska, for another Adventure Travel World Summit! But we will never forget these amazing days in a unique (yet still little known) country: Chile - Adventure Travel’s Rising Star!
Adventure Travel’s Rising Star: C H I L E
We wanted to thank you, dear friend, for making this Adventure Travel World Summit in Puerto Varas such a great time.
How can we not share some cool memories with you? A few days before the Summit, we had the pleasure to receive our friends from Ibex Expeditions (India) under the light of the Supermoon, at EcoCamp Patagonia. A giant shining moon was rising to the sky as a good omen when the group reached EcoCamp. Mandip Singh Soin’s (Ibex Expeditions’ founder) first words could not be more honest: “when most people dream about seeing the Himalaya, I’ve always wanted to discover Patagonia. And now here we are, and that’s incredible”.
The revamped EcoCamp Patagonia in Spring 2015
Our friends and guests at EcoCamp, during the Pre ATWS Trip
That very week we hiked to the towers’ base lookout – a 22km/12mi hike through a majestic valley to see one of Patagonia’s most impressive landscapes – under a heavy snow. Our guides Felipe and Fabiola led us to the feet of the towers. Nothing but the cold could slow us down, and we whooped and laughed as we reached the towers’ lagoon. We could not see anything; only the ice here and there. Mandip knew the mountains were unpredictable: he was a prominent mountaineer and was once known as India’s most versatile adventurer! So there was no disappointment here. But as we hiked down, thankfully, the clouds parted and the towers suddenly appeared, their monumental form dominating the landscape.
Some of us hiked back to the lagoon. Until it started snowing again!
That was the beginning of a long list of surprises. Pure happiness! Then came our friends from ASI Wirklich Reisen (Austria), Elevate Destinations (USA), Encounters Asia (India), Terres d’Aventures (France) and Experience Plus (USA). We drove along the Paine Massive, admiring the huge granite peaks and looking for the puma in the vast pampa. We hiked in the sun and ended up laughing together on Grey Beach, where the navigation took us to Grey Glacier. There were absolutely no clouds in the sky. All these days were amazing. Our General Manager José-Luis Varela and Key Account Manager Europe & Latin America Conzuelo Zamorano came from Santiago de Chile to take part in the Patagonian adventure. For them too, it was like enjoying Summer Days in the mountains.
Hike at Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Hiking Adventure
How good it was to share a fresh Patagonian beer in the Community Domes at night!
The Adventure Travel World Summit started in Puerto Varas on the 5th of October 2015. Around 700 delegates from about 60 countries gathered at the shore of the Llanquihue Lake, at the foot of the snowcapped peak of the Osorno volcano. What a setting for the event! A fantastic opportunity for sharing knowledge and making new friends. Chilean president Michelle Bachelet could not miss the opportunity to join the summit, at a time of increasing success for national tourism. On the 8th of October, last but not least: Cascada Expediciones and ATLAS (Active Travel Latina America Specialists) had a small surprise for our partners.
We respect Chile’s indigenous cultures and thought the summit was the perfect time to make a tribute to the Selk'nam - indigenous people who once inhabited the Patagonian region of both Chile and Argentina. So we invited our guests to relive an old culture during a party no one will forget! Apart from the otherworldly clothes, our friends got to know our friendly team: Javier López (Cascada Expediciones & EcoCamp Patagonia’s founder), José-Luis Varela (General Manager), Maike Berkemeier (Head of Sales), Isabel Menendez (Key Account Manager USA), Virgina Jensen (Product Manager) and Stefan Urlaub (Communications Manager). We enjoyed the luscious Chilean food of Hotel Arrebol before dancing until the end of the night.
Stefan Urlaub (Communications Manager) with the last Selk'nam of Torres del Paine
Maike Berkemeier (Head of Sales), Isabel Menendez (Key Account Manager USA), Jennine Cohen (GeoEx)
Douglas Simões (Pure Brazil - former ATLAS President), Javier Lopez (Cascada Expediciones & EcoCamp Patagonia’s founder), Maike Berkemeier (Head of Sales)
Mandip and Anita (Ibex Expeditions)
Check out all ATLAS/CASCADA Event photos
Next, to the event, some of our friends traveled 1326km/824mi to visit Southern Patagonia.
The wind was not blowing that day. It was pure sun, pure happiness, as the group entered the immensity of Torres del Paine National Park. Puerto Varas had been a blast: Patagonia was just paradise. Some of us decided to track the puma across the pampa (and saw lots of them). Others went on daily hikes whereas the most courageous hiked the W Trek for a week. Everyone enjoyed the coziness of the domes at EcoCamp Patagonia under a star-filled sky at night, found peace with new friends in the community domes, and sadly got on the van as they had to leave. And we immediately missed our friends from REI (USA), Zeghram Expeditions (USA), Tafari (USA), Elder Treks (Canada), Detour (USA), Ciclissmo Classico (USA), Wildland (USA), H&I Adventures (Great Britain), Amity Tour (Chile).
Torres del Paine National Park Wildlife Safari
So we just wanted to say a big “thank you!” to all those who made up these memories, to ATTA, to ATLAS, to the Selknam dancers and to the whole Cascada & EcoCamp team. That was great, and we look forward to meeting you again – whether in Chile or in another part of our beautiful planet.