EcoCamp is for those yearning for a luxurious yet eco-conscious stay, while experiencing the rugged beauty of Patagonian landscapes. Gemma Harris reports

“This is Patagonia; if you don’t like the weather right now, give it five minutes,” expressed my EcoCamp guide as he saw me remove my sunhat and sunglasses, looking up unconvincingly at the dark Chilean skies. But he was right. We took the EcoCamp minibus to begin the scenic transfer from Puerto Natales to the camp, and in the hour-and-a-half journey, we experienced extreme wind, sunshine, and a flurry of rain. Welcome to Patagonia.

Nestled away on its own hill within the heart of the iconic Torres Del Paine National Park, we reached the camp – and the world’s first geodesic dome hotel. My dome – of the “superior” kind – was located on its own piece of wilderness, jutting out off one of the many boardwalks that connected the individual domes, with breathtaking views peering up at the imposing triplet of towers.

These raised boardwalks are designed to ensure we didn’t trample through the park and had less impact, one of the many sustainable features considered throughout EcoCamp’s design and ethos. The camp is powered by solar, wind and micro-hydro turbines and keen not to hide behind their eco-conscious brochure, they offered daily tours delving into the hotel’s sustainability initiatives.EcoCamp PatagoniaInspired by the traditional dwellings of the indigenous, nomadic Kawqesqar people, who once resided in these lands in circular shelters, three different dome options are available. Throughout all of them is the “leave no trace” philosophy.

The most basic option – “standard” – features a comfortable twin or double with a shared bathroom, escalating to the “superior” and “suite” domes with en-suites, the latter offering more space and a low-emission wood stove. The fully functional en-suite options with a modern composting toilet and hot rain shower with fragrant biodegradable bathroom products were perfect after a hard day on the trails.EcoCamp PatagoniaEcoCamp PatagoniaThe luxury characteristics that filtered through the camp were warmly introduced upon arrival, where delicious canapés and a refreshing watermelon sour cocktail were served in the gathering place, AKA “community dome”, accompanied by the first briefing meeting with my group and guides for the next four days. I chose the five-day W Trek highlights trip, but you can do various activity-related packages while basing yourself here.

The friendly guides ensure you leave, firstly with little impact and then take with you the knowledge of everything they know about the national park’s geology, history, and wildlife. Although not guaranteed, wildlife encounters can include anything from soaring condors to galloping guanacos. You may even be lucky enough to have an endangered South Andean deer (huemul) overtake you in the Patagonian forest or spot the resident camp puma.EcoCamp Patagonia EcoCamp PatagoniaThe W trek, like all bucket-list hikes, can get extremely overrun with visitors, but basing yourself at EcoCamp comes with the benefit of its advantageous prime park position, beating the crowds up to the viewpoints without having to get up at ungodly hours. Although waking here comes easily, the morning sun rises, lighting up the beautiful landscape surrounding you, and there is even a “yoga dome” for pre-hike stretching before heading for a breakfast buffet. If you forget to stretch, the “massage dome” is always available for deep-tissue massages post-hiking.EcoCamp PatagoniaWhile the accommodation was carefully curated, both sustainably and aesthetically, what I wasn’t expecting to tick the boxes was the food. The breakfast buffet set the scene where you could fuel up for the day with a nutritious smoothie bowl, carb-load with various breads, pastries and cereals or indulge in more with eggs and other proteins. Washed down by none other than coffee beans roasted in Patagonia using renewable energy.

Breakfast was also the time you got your lunch – while it may not seem luxurious to DIY your lunch in the morning, it was understandable why. The lunch station was brimming with nutritious and tasty dishes that you could choose to fill your reusable lunch box to then look forward to after a morning walking up the “Patagonia flat”.

Dinners didn’t disappoint either. Three courses were varied and made up of fresh, local and seasonal ingredients – from Chilean scallops to Patagonian lamb racks. All are served with free-flowing Chilean wine.EcoCamp Patagonia EcoCamp PatagoniaGrabbing an after-dinner cocktail – where part of the proceeds were donated to national park protection – and sitting comfortably in the bar area around other EcoCampers makes you quickly forget there is no phone coverage or wifi connection here. Rather than endless scrolling to while away the evening, there were plenty of board games and travel books to lose yourself in. A true unplug. Ending the evenings here were spent walking back to the dome under a blanket of stars, far from any noise and light pollution.EcoCamp Patagonia EcoCamp PatagoniaWhile you may think it’s a shame not to keep loved ones at home updated with this pocket of pristine wilderness, the photos and videos don’t do the incredible landscape justice anyway. The lack of technology connection and the combination of nature and wilderness means the human connection was the strongest. Connecting with people back at the camp and on the trails added another dimension to this hotel experience.

With the usual luxury hotels gifting you various products, EcoCamp – alongside a reusable tote bag and sustainability-focused field guidebook – gifts you with the best memories and experience, leaving less impact. Thanks to their fully carbon-neutral status and having offset emissions since 2008, your emissions are covered from the moment the programme begins.

For souvenirs, you can exit through the gift shop, where the “welcome dome” showcases several handmade gifts and local creations with proceeds supporting their own animal refuge.


Patagonia has long been on my list, and being all about the outdoorsy adventure with a lean toward unique, luxury and eco-conscious accommodation options meant EcoCamp was the best way to experience Torres Del Paine.