EcoCamp Patagonia, Camping in Comfort

EcoCamp Patagonia, Camping in Comfort

Hayley Crowden – South America Travel Centre

I’ve been to impressive national parks – quite a few – and I am the first to admit that I had high expectations of Torres del Paine National Park. I’d seen countless photos, spoken to colleagues and clients who’d been there and raved about it, and had done my research. I was worried I could have spoiled the surprise and be left wishing I’d come with less idea about what was awaiting me.
But I was wrong.

Torres del Paine, Chile, Patagonia

Moments after arriving in Punta Arenas, we drove a few minutes up the road and spotted a pod of dolphins playing in the icy water alongside, just before a hawk flew into our van and knocked down our antenna.  Our driver grunted, jumped out to reattach the antenna, and continued driving as if this was commonplace, a daily occurrence.  A little further on we encountered large herds of guanacos (the llama’s cousins) and hundreds of rheas (small ostrich-like birds) feeding across the pampas while condors soared overhead, and it was then it sunk in – this place was wild.  The weather, the wildlife and the breathtaking scenery, all appeared way too diverse for such a small region.  This is remote, edge-of-the world, wild!

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Patagonia

But the real treat was the comfort from which I could experience all this beauty.  Based at Cascada EcoCamp, a complex of eco-friendly, igloo-style tented domes that range from simple and comfortable, with shared facilities, to ‘suites‘ with a private deck and bathroom, roaring wood stove and cosy rugs, I thought “this is Patagonia with style – and a clear conscience.”

ecocamp main dome exterior, Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile, Patagonia

I’d chosen a challenging trek programme and some days were long and tough, while others were relaxed and less demanding (a Pisco Sour served on glacial ice at 11am mid-cruise?  Sure, why not?), but one thing didn’t change – I’d worked up a decent appetite come sunset.   Yes, camp food would have done the job but why would I want instant noodles and canned tuna when I could enjoy some of Patagonia’s best produce cooked to perfection and accompanied by a glass of fine Chilean wine?  The fact is, I wouldn’t!

Whether you remain based at the EcoCamp and take day hikes, horse rides, bike trips or a cruise, or you trek from lodge to lodge as I did, the guides and staff here are phenomenal and always ready at the end of the day with a refreshing drink to enjoy with your new friends in front of a log fire.

I’m a tough audience but Patagonia really does have it all.  Knock-you-off-your-feet scenery, wildlife galore, and special places like Cascada EcoCamp from which to discover it.  This is one remote corner of the world I will certainly be returning to.

To book your adventure in Torres Del Paine contact us on 1300 784 794 or email us at:

Torres del Paine, Patagonia, wildlife

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