Have you ever dreamt of sleeping in an igloo or a traditional native hut?Â Imagine a clear dome where you can see out to the stars, feel like you are sleeping in the wilderness but have the comfort and luxury of a hotel room.Â This is EcoCamp. Probably the most intriguing feature is that the hotel is portable. Each winter the domes are removed. Now that is a small environmental footprint!
Daniel Sanhueza shares the vision of EcoCamp Patagonia and how it came to be the most ecologically sustainable and unique experience south of the Amazon:
“At the tip of the South American continent, in the heart of Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park (Chile), we created the EcoCamp, the 1st sustainable lodging south of the Amazon, and the only one of its kind in Patagonia.
The Ecocamp, founded in 1998 and completed by January 2000, was conceived and engineered as an example of sustainable practices in wilderness areas. It hopes to inspire and motivate not only travelers but also the tourism industry towards the possibilities of lodging in wilderness areas with minimal human impact. In 2005 the entire establishment was moved to a new location. By 2008 we had gained enough experience in dealing with comfort in a sustainable manner, that we were able to create new Suite Domes at the Ecocamp.
Our commitment to sustainability through technology arose as our response to the destruction of the amazing Bio Bio river valley and the displacement of its aboriginal community in the years 1993 to 1996. The EcoCamp is still a prototype, but it is a modest contribution to creating new ideas and values during a period obsessed with â€œprogressâ€ that often brings massive destruction to our natural realms.
EcoCamp is a tribute to Kaweskar dwellings and way of life.
The basic premise in designing the EcoCamp was to maintain the nomadic spirit of Patagoniaâ€™s ancient inhabitants. These early peoples lived in harmony with â€œMother Natureâ€ and built their geodesic shaped huts from wood, fur, skins, and other organic materials which they hunted and gathered from their surroundings.
The Kaweskar, together with many other nomadic cultures, developed an environmentally responsible shelter. They made no demand on natural resources, stayed only a few nights in each place and placed very little importance on keeping material goods. The semicircular huts they built were simple and easy to install and dismantle and the fires built inside where enough to heat all occupants.
Communities had no hierarchy whatsoever and were formed by self- sufficient and independent families. They married for love, practiced monogamy, and had a very well established moral and ethical code involving a deep spiritual world with one god.
Their happiness relied not on possessing goods, but rather in moving about with complete freedom, counting on the individual as a source of self esteem, and nature was the source of well being.
Sadly, in a story repeated across much of Latin America, by 1880 the European settlers that had arrived in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in search of gold, furs, and wool displaced, slaughtered, and brought diseases to these people and by the 1920â€™s they were almost completely extinct.”
EcoCamp Patagonia is truly an inspiration to sustainable lodging and green travel. GreenSpot.travel is saying keep up the good work!