“We put together the first dome hotel in the world.”
Chilean EcoCamp Patagonia founders Javier Lopez and Yerko Ivelic reflect on incorporating
green technologies such as photovoltaic energy and composting toilets.
“People from all parts of the world have used the circle, for ritual, for houses, for shelter.”
The camp exposes guests to the breathtaking natural beauty of the land. It all began with
geodesic domes manufactured by Pacific Domes.
Inspirational video about the origins of EcoCamp Patagonia (ecocamp.travel) and the philosophy of its Chilean founders Javier Lopez and Yerko Ivelic. What made two university friends who owned a small adventure travel company decide to create the world’s first geodesic hotel in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia?
In one of the world’s largest areas of wilderness with one of the most powerful climates, EcoCamp Patagonia opened its doors in 2001 after Javier and Yerko combined a new style of lodging, resistant to the fierce Patagonian winds, with sustainable hotel features they’d seen across the world.
Javier, Yerko and pioneering Chilean kayak instructor Nani Astorga had been running kayak and rafting trips on Chile’s Bio Bio river during the 1990’s, as founding directors of Chilean outdoor adventure company Cascada Expediciones (cascada.travel) . The river was controversially dammed by a private electricity company in Chile to make a hydroelectric power plant and this effectively ended all white water rafting and damaged Javier, Yerko and Nani on a personal and professional level.
Looking for inspiration in the rest of Chile and keen to help protect an area of wilderness and make sure similar destruction never happened again, Javier, Yerko and Nani looked to hiking Mecca Torres del Paine in Chile’s extreme south. They knew the best way forward was to build examples of sustainability, and where better than a revered national park where travellers could be shown that they could enjoy the wilderness in a responsible way without leaving a footprint?
The idea of the domes came from the ancient Kaweskar tribes’ huts, which were set up throughout the park as the nomadic tribe wandered. The idea was to create a hybrid hotel, with the traditional elements of camping such as being immersed in nature, but with the comforts of a modern day hotel. Thus EcoCamp, the world’s first geodesic dome hotel in the world, was born!
For Javier Lopez, Yerko Ivelic and Nani Astorga their way of life and way of doing business makes sense because being immersed in nature provides a source of transformation for everyone. They believe you should take your job as close to the arts as possible and provide a meaningful experience for all involved.
EcoCamp is eco-friendly with 100% renewable electricity generated by solar and hydro energy. It also has composting toilets and a sophisticated recycling system. This green technology was designed and implemented by Yerko himself, while Javier sketched the dome designs. In 2007 EcoCamp received ISO 14001 certification, confirming its ongoing commitment to sustainability.
What makes Javier, Yerko and Nani proud is seeing how their sustainable creation not only looks after the environment but makes guests incredible happy and fulfilled. EcoCamp doesn’t rely on high consumption devices for entertainment but on the good vibes of its people and the cozy fun atmosphere of its Community Domes where guests mingle. Guests carry back home the experience of living in such close quarters to nature yet with all the coziness and comfort of a ‘regular’ hotel and sociable nature of the EcoCamp community. Looking up at the stars from inside their dome, walking through the night air to get to the bathroom during dinner, sleeping in a low-impact sustainable structure where they can hear the wind rushing through the sky – These are all experiences that classic hotels do not offer and that guests relish in the moment and treasure in the years that follow.
Ecocamp Patagonia is located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, with a unique view of the majestic granite towers. The region’s first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon and the first of its kind in the Patagonian wilderness, EcoCamp offers upscale camping in geodesic domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants. Patagonia trekking tours and Patagonia Wildlife tours are combined with relaxing in EcoCamp’s domes at night with delicious food and wine.