Chile is a favorite adventure tourism destination among the world’s most demanding ecotourists, who pursue sustainability on their travels. Because not only are Chile’s landscapes green, but also its infrastructure. We highlight five world-class sustainable hotels in Chile’s most attractive destinations, from the north to the south of the country.
The world’s most demanding ecotourists and travelers have it clear: the new luxury is green, and it is found in nature destinations that possess a new generation of sustainable hotels capable of providing an experience in balance with the environment. Whether for their good use of energy, the optimization of natural resources or practices that are ethical and responsible with the environment, local communities and food.
According to the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, tourism contributes about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and they are expected to increase 130% by 2035. In the last five years, the global hotel industry has grown by around 2.3%, according to IBIS World. In Chile, we are therefore aware of the importance of continuing to grow, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint and the negative impact that our hotels can have on the environment.
Chile, South America’s leading adventure tourism destination according to the World Travel Awards 2021, has everything to offer a green vacation, thanks to its landscapes and its infrastructure. We highlight five world-class sustainable hotels located in our country’s favorite destinations:
The sun is an essential source of clean and sustainable energy, and sunlight is abundant in the Atacama Desert. That is why the Tierra Atacama Hotel was one of the first in South America to become self-sufficient using only clean energy. This is thanks to its own solar power plant consisting of 588 photovoltaic panels, a high-efficiency lithium-ion battery system and intelligent energy management that allows for an uninterrupted supply. Additionally, 100% of the water used by Tierra Atacama is extracted from its own well, to avoid using water destined for the town’s inhabitants in an area where it is scarce. After being extracted, the water is treated by a reverse osmosis plant, which makes the hotel self-sufficient and maximizes this valuable resource through in-house treatment. Gray water is also reused for irrigation. In the desert, electricity and water are very valuable assets, and Hotel Tierra Atacama is one of the pioneers in the search for sustainable solutions in this regard.
If you want to check-in at Santiago’s most sustainable hotel, you need to choose Hotel Bidasoa, considered one of the most sustainable in Latin America. Its building was constructed to be as energy efficient and clean as possible: it runs on aerothermal energy and does not use fossil fuels for heating or cooling. The hotel has solar panels with a solar tracking system and a trash digester that generates gas from organic waste. It also has water treatment, ionic acceleration, LED lights, waste management and compost, and the cars used for guest transport are hybrid, so the hotel has charging stations for electric cars. Bidasoa is not only concerned about being sustainable with the outside world. “We work every day on the concept of inner ecology, which is people management. We talk about managing emotions, thoughts and feelings,” the hotel’s creative director explains. This is a concept that they put into practice with both the guests and the staff.
Hidden in a bay in the middle of a Patagonian fjord just 15 minutes by boat from the Carretera Austral, this lodge was built with native wood from fallen trees. The boiling water from the surrounding hot springs provides heating and hot water to the rooms, while falling water from the nearby waterfalls provides drinking water and electricity via turbines. The lodge has a sewage treatment plant that allows wastewater to be returned to the environment in a clean way, in accordance with regulations and the naturalness of the springs. Nearly 100% of the lodge’s supply purchases come from the Aysén Region and local producers and suppliers are preferred over any others.
Chosen among the world’s 100 best hotels by Time magazine, EcoCamp Patagonia is immersed in the Torres del Paine National Park. Since it was built in 2001, it has set the standard due to its sustainable approach, from the design of its facilities to its waste management. The hotel is 98% powered by clean energy from solar panels and four small hydro turbines. It has been a carbon-neutral company since 2008 and annually offsets all of its emissions through the Carbon Fund. One of its most outstanding sustainable practices is the use of composting toilets and a biofiltration system to help replenish the soil. Their motto “leave no trace” is present in every aspect of their operation, as well as in the products they use. EcoCamp has received several awards, such as TripAdvisor’s “Green Leaders” award and the “Award for Sustainable Luxury in Latin America”, to name a few.
A remote paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Easter Island is one of Chile’s main tourism destinations. It is of great interest to international travelers who value its nature, the mysterious Rapa Nui culture and now its sustainable offer too. Among the hotels that stand out in this regard is the Easter Island EcoLodge. The hotel obtains 90% of its power from the energy produced by its photovoltaic panels, which are used to heat water, reducing gas use by almost 100%. The building was constructed from waste, mostly tires and plastic bottles, which has significantly helped to lower temperatures during the hot months and thus avoid the use of air conditioning. They have an acclaimed reforestation education program for native flora in the hotel garden and in another three hectares of land on the island. They also created an MIT Scholarship that offers free university study on the mainland to students from the island.
Follow the S seal
Chile has created a seal to help the most demanding ecotourists. It is the Distinction for Sustainable Tourism, graphically represented by the S Seal, which guarantees visitors that the tourism service holding the distinction complies with global criteria for sustainable tourism in socio-cultural, environmental and economic areas. Its evaluation criteria are based on those defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), an international organization and world reference in the accreditation and promotion of sustainable tourism practices, linked to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).