You may have heard our message in the news lately, spreading the word about inclusive travel.
When you, like us, work in the travel industry and see places as marvelous as Patagonia every day, there comes a time when you just have to say enough is enough.
Many of the world’s most beautiful places remain inaccessible to people living with disabilities even though the World Health Organization reports that 1 billion of us have some type of disability or another. In 2016 EcoCamp Patagonia worked with Wheel the World, a Chilean-born business attempting to right this wrong and in 2018 we are still shouting for this message to be heard. Let’s take a closer look at inclusive travel in Patagonia and beyond.
Wheel the World
In 2016 Alvaro Silberstein became the very first person in history to explore Torres del Paine National Park in a wheelchair. This tremendous achievement was the first project tackled by his enterprise, Wheel the World, which aims to inspire like-minded people to travel while at the same time urging the tourism world to make travel more inclusive.
EcoCamp helped crowdfund the making of Joelette, a wheelchair specially designed to cope with the rocky, uneven terrain of Patagonia. Joelette has one wheel and is stabilized by a person at the front and back of the chair; a special harness also allows the wheelchair to be lifted. This chair is available to all EcoCamp guests (with prior reservation).
Chilean Adventures Made Accessible
The following are some of our favorite options for the intrepid traveler searching for more inclusive options on holiday. Each of these destinations work with EcoCamp or Wheel the World.
Torres del Paine: Anyone is welcome to use Joelette, which has been donated to Torres del Paine and is open to all EcoCamps guests. In January 2017 Joelette assisted 11-year old Nicolas Paez around Torres del Paine, followed by Jake Hykten in 2018. 2017 was also the year we lead a group of blind trekkers through the Park.
This spot is also fantastic for kayaking Lago Grey, taking you right beside its phenomenal glacier.
Cochamò Valley: Located in the very north of Patagonia beside the beautiful town of Puerto Varas, this stunning area is the perfect place to try fly-fishing, kayaking, camping, or trekking to its majestic fjords.
San Pedro de Atacama: The word ‘desert’ does not do this place justice. It’s fantastically big, its mountains of sand rising steeply on all four corners like grainy waves, while above is a sky so vast and clean it doesn’t take much convincing to accept that this is one of the world’s clearest night skies. It’s like another world, one with dazzling lagoons, ancient petroglyphs, a living atacemeño culture, and is the perfect spot for the adventurous to trek or cycle.
Easter Island: Rapa Nui, as it is locally known, is much more than an island of moai statues. It has more archaeological treasures than you could shake a stick at thanks to an extraordinary history of war, intrigue, and discovery, while its outside gems range from volcano trekking to snorkeling off of pristine beaches.
Why Should You Get Behind Inclusive Travel?
According to the World Health Organization, some of the biggest barriers to inclusive travel include:
- Lack of Accessibility
- Lack of Involvement:
- Lack of Services
We must have this conversation in order for these barriers to be knocked down. After all, adventure shouldn’t be for a few; the world - and adventure - should be for all.
Adventure in Motion Needs Your Vote
2018 is the year when we want to take our campaign for inclusive travel global. The following video chronicles our efforts down at EcoCamp and should be a wake-up call to the tourism industry that things have to change. We need your help to do this. Every like equals a vote, and the three videos with the most votes shall be broadcast at the Adventure Travel Summit in Italy later this year. If this doesn’t get the conversation happening, we aren’t sure what will. Follow this link and vote for our video here.
Do you want more information? Visit cascada.travel and learn about our programs