From its beginning in 1991 as a Chilean rafting company, Cascada Expediciones has been offering eco-friendly opportunities for travelers to let go of normal life and refresh with energizing connections to nature. With a strong focus on providing innovative, high-quality experiences ─ trips in which each traveler enjoys every moment of a trip ─ Cascada has refreshed nearly 30,000 people. With reliably great programs, great guides, and great service, business is good.
Headquartered in Santiago, Cascada has expanded its operation over the years to include trips in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia with extensions into the remote destinations of Patagonia, the Atacama Desert and Easter Island. A trip of a lifetime with Cascada can include activities ranging from trekking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, rafting, fly fishing, kayaking, skiing, wildlife safari and photography, multisport itineraries to winery tours. In engaging the outdoors Cascada-style, every traveler is made to feel relaxed and energized by each activity; nourished rather than weary.
More good feeling comes in knowing the money spent on a Cascada trip stays in the Chilean economy with a company and people who have a deep respect for the environment. The staff and guides live an eco-friendly life, sharing the environmentally sustainable philosophy put into practice over the life of the company. So firm in its understanding of nature’s importance, Cascada became a carbon neutral company in 2008 and, between June 2009 and 2010, offset more than 183 tons of CO2 emissions. With a goal of becoming entirely CO2-free, Cascada encourages its travelers, suppliers and shareholders to stand by its philosophy.
Intent on its goal, Cascada carefully selects its providers and tour operators based on their environmentally sustainable policies. It studies, tests, purchases and installs sustainable technologies for renewable energy supply, insulation and waste management. At EcoCamp, which the company owns and operates for its trips in Patagonia, 100 percent of its energy is generated from water, sun and wind, each a natural and renewable resource. EcoCamp’s green ethos is exemplified in the geodesic dome dwellings constructed to retain heat from sunlight and use all natural energy. They’re also designed to minimize their impact on the terrain in Chilean national parks and refrain from disrupting flora and fauna.
Cascada is staffed with South American eco-friendly globetrotters, approximately 25 of whom are full-time employees and 40 seasonal personnel at EcoCamp. A good 90 percent of the EcoCamp staff is either native to or long-term residents of Puerto Natalas or Punta Arenas, two of Torres del Paine’s closest cities. Guides employed by Cascada are specially trained for wildlife, nature and trekking programs, and many are graduates of ecotourism programs. The trekking guides are Patagonian locals with years of experience leading groups in Torres del Paine National Park.
One of the founders of Cascada, Nani Astorga, runs an animal rehabilitation center in the Andes Mountains near Santiago, providing refuge to endangered species.