“A dome with a view! An ecological base for superb hiking adventures in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park”
Your room is a geodesic dome, inspired by the circular dwellings of the region’s native Alacalufe people.
There are 15 standard tents in all - 4 doubles, and all the rest twins or triples - so ask in advance if you want a double. Single travellers will normally share a tent with another of the same sex. This small number of tents not only limits environmental impact, but creates an intimate feel - far from the overcrowded atmosphere in the rest of the park’s campsites. Tents come with composting loos and are well spaced out over open ground so that you have plenty of privacy. They’re connected by wooden walkways to both the dining room tent and the shared bathroom block.
Inside, tents are spacious and tall enough so that you can stand comfortably: 2m high, and 4m in diameter. There are wooden floors with sheepskin rugs, and sturdy wooden beds with lots of warm linen: fleece sheets and feather duvets keep you snug, despite the lack of heating. But as with normal camping, you’re still exposed to the elements. EcoCamp tents are designed to be stronger than the usual tents, but can be noisy when the wind blows.
The bathroom block is divided into male and female communal areas, where there are hot showers and flushing toilets. Environmental credentials are impeccable: no fossil fuels are used to heat the water, and the block uses an ecological waste management system.
A swankier option is one of the Suite Domes or Suite Dome Lofts. These are more spacious and come with a full private bathroom. The suites are heated by the low-emission wood stove and are situated in the Lenga Forest, close to the standard domes but still far enough away to provide an intimate feeling.
Whether picnicking on a hike or dining at EcoCamp, you’ll find the food is plentiful and delicious. Breakfast is an impressive spread, served on buffet tables in the dining dome: fresh fruit salad, fresh orange juice, home-baked bread with local jams, cheeses, cold meats and scrambled eggs cooked to order. There’s even good coffee.
Lunch is brought with you on hikes, and you can choose the elements you’d like from a buffet table after breakfast.
Dinner is a cheery social event beginning with a gathering in front of the wood-burning stove. You’ll be served a pisco sour, and homemade dips and nibbles are handed round while everyone chats and reflects on the day. Dinner is a 3-course meal every night, and all dietary needs are taken into consideration. Expect soups, hearty stews and lots of rice and pasta to keep you going the following day. Our tarte tatin was particularly good.
Children aged 6-12 years are welcome on the Wildlife Safari package only; EcoCamp is best for teenagers probably, especially for those families who believe outdoor activities should be enjoyed together. The Patagonian Wildlife Safari programme explores the Torres del Paine National Park and has soft and active excursions to choose from, ideal for families.
Teens (over 12)
The Suite Dome with an extra bed is the best option for a family of 3. Larger families should book one of the Suite Dome Lofts which can take up to 4 people. Both are cosy with a wood stove.
Special requests can be catered for with advance notice.
Note there are no cots, babysitting or rooms with bathtubs. All domes are connected by walkways.