In a way Patagonia feels untouched. The region has miles of pristine landscape, blissful wildlife and the spirit of its original indigenous inhabitants. It’s the type of place you hope will never change.
When friends Javier López, Nani Astorga and Yerko Ivelic decided to build EcoCamp Patagonia, the world’s first sustainable dome hotel in Torres del Paine National Park, they vowed they would also contribute to the local community and protect its nature.
Today, EcoCamp works with the local community in a variety of ways, helping to provide economic opportunities, preserve local culture and protect the surrounding environment. With this consistent effort, the team at EcoCamp has been able to share the authentic culture and energy of Patagonia with travelers for almost 20 years.
1. Provide Opportunities for Locals
Here at EcoCamp, we see value in working with the local community during our hotel operations. For this reason, we aim to provide new employment and collaboration opportunities to the inspiring individuals and suppliers from the region.
Our restaurant uses local produce and ingredients supplied by nearby providers. These locally-grown and produced products provide business opportunities to the region’s farmers and suppliers, while also offering fresher flavors and lowering the food's carbon footprint. It’s an all-around win for EcoCamp, the community and the environment.
We also started EcoCamp’s original brand Man-Kai in 2018, which unites local artisans from Patagonia and sells their wool and ceramic crafts. Through this project, we represent the local culture and offer unique handmade souvenirs to travelers.
2. Contribute to Meaningful Projects
Throughout Patagonia, there are various projects and initiatives that local businesses can get involved in. At EcoCamp, we learn about and contribute to opportunities that make a positive impact in the region.
For instance, we have previously helped out in Fiesta de la Limpieza, a clean-up project in and around Torres del Paine. Their volunteers help keep the popular areas and hiking trails clean and free of trash, helping to provide a more enjoyable outdoor travel experience and protect the ecosystem.
The staff at EcoCamp has also been involved in project pertaining to trail restoration, reforestation and giving opportunities to children from the region. We have had many fantastic partnerships and are always looking for new opportunities to make a difference in the local community.
**If you are interested in collaborating with us on a local initiative, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will redirect your email to the right person.
3. Respect and Learn from the Local Culture
There is a presence of the region’s indigenous and Baqueano (Chilean cowboy) cultures here in Patagonia. We try to preserve these cultures at EcoCamp and educate our travelers and staff members.
In fact, the dome design and “leave no trace” philosophy adopted at EcoCamp was initially inspired by the Kawésqar indigenous group and their original dome-shaped dwellings. To teach staff about this unique culture, we recently invited a member of the community to the hotel. She shared her stories and taught staff members about the native language and community’s handicraft techniques.
4. Protect the Community’s Natural Spaces
Lastly, one of the best ways to protect the community is to protect its wild places. EcoCamp is located in the heart of Torres del Paine, with natural wonders in every direction and an abundance of native flora and fauna. It is so important that we keep these beautiful parts of Patagonia healthy and pristine for generations to come, for the sake of both the local community and the planet.
For this reason, provide a low-impact travel experience that leaves virtually no trace on the surrounding nature. Raised walkways, solar lamps, renewable energy and our uniquely designed bio-filtration system and composting toilets all contribute to this effort and offer an eco-friendly travel experience in Chile’s most beloved natural park.
For more information on how to visit EcoCamp Patagonia, check out our collection of all-inclusive programs here. Also take a look at our new regulations and flexible book policies, which will help protect travelers and staff during times of COVID-19.