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How Will EcoCamp Patagonia's Eco Ethos Affect Your Vacation?

Here at Cascada, we spend a lot of time talking about the impact we have on the natural world - we can’t help it, if you’ve seen what the natural world looks like in Chile, you’ll understand - but there’s also room to think about the natural world’s impact on us. It’s understandable that many people have their reservations when booking eco-friendly lodging: Why, you might ask, should you spend your cherished vacation time making compromises? But we believe that you can holiday in comfort without making excessive demands on the environment and that eco-friendly living gives back so much more than it takes away.

We take a look at some common questions about vacations at EcoCamp Patagonia in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park and investigate how what’s good for the environment can also be good for you.


Will I feel like I’m roughing it?

inside an ecocamp domeEcoCamp Patagonia’s revolutionary geodesic dome hotel room concept is designed to have a minimal impact on the land that shelters it, so that it can be removed without leaving a footprint. These gentle bubbles may have canvas walls but there’s nothing puny about their ability to resist the whistling Patagonian winds, along with sudden slews of snow and rain. The mild but mighty domes are constructed following the tried and tested principles of the native Kaweskar people who lived in harmony with the natural landscape. In your modern EcoCamp dome you’ll feel safe and sheltered yet still intimately connected to the wild elements outside, a constant reminder of what EcoCamp is working to protect.


Can I charge my phone / camera / laptop?

ecocamp photovoltaic panels100% of EcoCamp Patagonia’s electricity is generated using energy sources that produce no greenhouse gases or negative effects on the environment. Electricity is produced by photovoltaic panels that make use of Patagonia’s long hours of summer sunlight and by micro water turbines powered by river water. This electricity is used to power all of EcoCamp’s lights, fridges and other electrical appliances, and can also be used for charging phones, camera batteries and laptops with power outlets in Suite Domes and Community Domes. 100% guilt-free electricity? No problems there!


Will I get bored?

ecocamp barThese days, we’re used to being plugged in and switched on for much of our waking life so EcoCamp’s low-energy consumption approach can be a bit of a wake-up call. You won’t find an energy-guzzling flat screen TV lurking in your dome room, but even if there were we bet you wouldn't even switch it on! Step outside your door and within five minutes you’ll have seen ten things that are far more interesting than anything you’ll find on TV. In the evening, EcoCamp’s bar is a hive of activity, with a weekly programme of events ranging from cocktail making classes to live music and film nights to enjoy whilst making new friends.


Can I use my hairdryer?

patagonia blow dryEcoCamp Patagonia generates all of its electricity without resorting to polluting fossil fuels and makes it available on a limited basis to guests. But the first principle of eco-friendly energy use is always reduction, so hair dryers are out. They might not look it, but hair dryers are utterly insatiable when it comes to energy. According to the US Government's energy website, the average hair dryer uses between 1200 and 1875 watt-hours. To put this in perspective, that’s more than some vacuum cleaners (1000–1440 Wh) and microwaves (750–1100 Wh) and the same as some dishwashers (1200–2400 Wh)! Give your hair a holiday and leave the dryer at home, it will be stronger and shinier for it!


Will I be cold?

ecocamp at nightJust because there’s no central heating in EcoCamp’s domes, it doesn’t mean you’ll be shivering through the chilly Patagonian nights. Once again the geodesic dome design comes into its own, allowing air to circulate freely inside and distribute the naturally absorbed heat without the need for artificial heaters. And there are thick polar blankets to keep you warm in bed, perhaps even a bit too warm, as anyone who’s tried to leave them behind for an early morning hike will testify! You can even look forward to younger-looking, healthier skin as you leave parching central heating behind. However, if you really feel the cold, EcoCamp’s Suite Domes feature low-emission wood stoves whilst Superior Domes have environmentally sound propane heaters for extra cosy credentials.


Can I check my email or use my phone?

phonesWhen we say that EcoCamp Patagonia is off the grid, we mean it’s really off the grid. In fact, one of the very best things about EcoCamp is its remote location, marooned in trekker heaven deep in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. You might find cell phone signal in some areas of Patagonia, but for once you’ll be completely free of the never-ending ping of emails in your inbox and the latest cute cat photo doing the social media rounds. We suggest talking to people instead; your roommate, your fellow hikers, your knowledgeable guide, anyone you come across! Good for the environment, good for your soul; this one’s win-win!


Will the composting toilet smell?

composting toiletEcoCamp Patagonia love their loos! Rather than digging up hunks of pristine grassland to install a damaging septic system, EcoCamp opted for the earth friendly option of composting toilets that turn human waste into clean, safe compost. Those who’ve never used an eco throne before sometimes arrive with a little trepidation, so rest assured that doing your business on a composting toilet is as easy as using a regular one, and they’re specifically designed to prevent any troublesome smells. Not only will you preserve the environment at EcoCamp, but with the composting toilet, you can even give something back!


We hope we've answered your question about how EcoCamp Patagonia's earth-friendly ethos could enrich your trip. If not, let us know using the comment section below!