Sydney. Thursday 7th November 2019.
Latin America and Polar Travel Specialists, Chimu Adventures, are showcasing EcoCamp Patagonia as their ‘Sustainable Feature of the Month’ for November. This recent Chimu initiative, launched in August 2019, highlights the outstanding environmental, socially responsible and cultural credentials of a selected Chimu product.
Located in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Eco Camp Patagonia was the world’s first geodesic dome hotel. It provides a unique, comfortable and sustainable base for guests who want to discover the pristine wilderness of Patagonia via trekking, multi-sport adventures and wildlife watching.
EcoCamp Patagonia is an environmental pioneer. Designed by Chilean engineers, Javier Lopez and Yerko Ivelic, the hotel relies almost solely on green energy. It limits its use of electricity as far as possible but any energy it does use is generated by a micro-hydro turbine and photovoltaic panels. The energy is stored in a 24V battery bank which then powers all the camp’s fridges, lighting and electrical appliances. Solar energy is used to heat water for showers. To elaborate on how this works, river water enters the micro-hydro turbine at five litres per second with a net pressure of 38 metres – this delivers a steady power of 800 watts. It is then converted to 220 AC which is the standard voltage in Chile. Skylight windows in the domes take advantage of natural light and heat, and suite domes have a wood stove which recycles dead wood from the park.
Not only is EcoCamp committed to the pristine environment in which it operates, it is also dedicated to supporting the local community it is part of. All food is purchased from farms nearby so guests can be assured that the delicious eggs, meat, cheese and bread they are consuming haven’t travelled far. The camp also works with local ranch owners for the horses used on excursions. By buying directly from local suppliers, EcoCamp ensures that a fair price is paid for all goods. In terms of staffing, the camp employs 90% of its team from the local area (Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas). Regular in-house training is executed throughout the season meaning employees progress to a higher position the following season and all staff are paid above Chilean minimum wage. They are provided with excellent living conditions and compensated for working away from their families.
Another key initiative which EcoCamp have been recognised for is their involvement in ‘Wheel the World.’ This project enables and inspires people with disabilities to explore the planet and challenges tourism organisations in remote locations such as Torres del Paine to be more accessible. The project was sparked by Alvaro Silberstein, an adventurer who was in a car accident in 2005. In December 2016, he used an all-terrain wheelchair to traverse the rugged path of Torres del Paine’s famous W Trek which was crowdfunded by EcoCamp Patagonia and other local tourism organisations. The wheelchair has since been donated to the park – EcoCamp has access to it meaning that others with disabilities can use it during their visit.
On a cultural level, EcoCamp is committed to sharing Patagonia’s cultural history with its guests. They provide an overview of Patagonia’s original inhabitants who were nomadic tribes such as the Kaweskars and Yaghans. The camp also educated guests on Baqueano culture – the local version of cowboys – and the importance of sheep farming in the region.
Chimu Adventures are proud to work with properties such as EcoCamp Patagonia and can organise five and seven day treks at this wonderful venue. Their Destination Specialists have travelled the region so will work with you to organise a suitable itinerary, including all flights and transfers.
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Founded in 2004, Chimu Adventures are The Latin America and Polar Travel Specialists. Australian owned, we are the go-to for all Latin America, Antarctica and Arctic travel requirements, from small ship expedition cruises to tailor made itineraries and small group tours, plus all international and domestic flight and transfer arrangements. Our specialist knowledge means we can offer the best options for everything. We use our own operations on the ground to access to an immense range of accommodation and activities and work personally with our traveller’s style and budget, tailoring to their individual needs.
Our team is committed to the destinations which we operate in and are proud members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) Adventure Travel Trade Association and Latin America Travel Association. For more information visit www.chimuadventures.com.au