Thursday, March 7, 2013

Patagonia 2012 = EcoCamp Arrival

We finally arrived at the pinnacle of our trip. EcoCamp Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile!

EcoCamp provides the region’s first fully sustainable accommodation, complete with green technology. You can enjoy guided treks and wildlife excursions by day and share evening meals with new friends, before falling asleep gazing up at the star-filled sky through your dome ceiling. Wake up in the middle of the Patagonian wilderness in a cozy geodesic dome, with a panoramic view of the majestic Torres del Paine, ready to pick up the hiking trail!

From El Calafate, we took about a seven hour van ride with one other couple from Australia. Mike and Wendy were great to chat with during the ride and enjoyed most of the park with us during the next five days. We entered into Chile at a small border crossing in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road. It took some time to explain why Melissa had no incoming stamp in her passport for Argentina and that it was an emergency replacement passport, but we got it sorted out and were on our way again.

Our first view of the park was from a roadside pullout overlooking Lago Sarmiento de Gamboa. It took our breath away, and we were speechless knowing that we would get to play here for the next few days.

Cordillera del Paine

After turning in some paperwork at the entrance to the park we made our way to the domes at EcoCamp. We settled into Suite Dome 6 and then made our way to the Core Domes for an amazing gourmet lunch with Mike and Wendy. From there, we explored around the camp and walked through an interpretive nature trail to learn about some of the flora and fauna we would see during our stay.

Suite Dome 6

Yes ... we are excited to be here!

The evening started with some Pisco Sours and delicious appetizers back in the Core Domes while other guests made their way back in from day hikes around the park. The friendly and knowledgable staff announced the activity choices (one easy and one active option) for the next day and pointed out the locations on a large map before we all headed into the dining dome for dinner. A three course Patagonian fusion meal with Chilean wine is served each evening. After dinner you can relax in the bar with a drink on the sofas or head to the library, the smallest core dome, to look over maps, read a book or chat with other guests.

Amazing apps to go with our Pisco Sours

Dinner ends around 10:30 p.m. or so each evening, which is interesting to get used to along with the fact that it is not even completely dark yet. Twilight hangs around until about 11:30 or so this time of year and this far South. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow so we head to bed, somewhat early, and dream of the towers of Torres del Paine.

To view photos from Ecocamp Arrival,
click the image below:
Ecocamp Arrival

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