Saturday, December 3, 2022

Where To Stay In Torres Del Paine For Day Hikes

Kayaking At Glacier Grey

Hiking to Mirador Las Torres / Best Day Hike in Torres Del Paine

You have several options for visiting Glacier Grey, but I recommend kayaking around the glacier. You can either kayak on Grey Lake and kayak through what they call the Iceberg Graveyard.

Or you can take a boat to the face of the glacier and kayak all the way across the face of Glacier Grey. The second option is a bit more challenging and is reserved for those that are in good physical shape.

Torres Del Paine Is Expensive

The biggest surprise when I started planning my trip was the cost. So prior to booking your flights, look into all aspects and costs of the trip and make sure youre prepared.

Keep in mind that you are in a remote, desolate part of the world that is not built up with modern conveniences. Like visiting Africa or the Maldives, this is what makes it so special and so desirable. Food in the park has to be driven in from hours away, the staff at the visitor centers and at the hotels have to live on site, and each day you are essentially on a fully guided excursion with a park expert and driver. Most of the hotels in the park offer full inclusive rates providing you with accommodations, meals, and excursions during your stay but that makes it rather costly.

If you stay outside the gates of Torres del Paine in Puerto Natales, you can get more affordable rates on hotels and hostels, but keep in mind you are 1.5 hours from the park entrance, so your days will be more travel time and less time in the park. There are refuggios and campsites in the park, but if you are not an experienced camper I would recommend staying in a hotel. I heard from other travelers the refuggios are very rough, and the high winds in Patagonia make camping difficult.

People Have Died In Snow Drifts

What looked to be maybe half a mile further ahead there appeared to be some car headlights on another stationary car, also stuck in the snow I assumed. I thought that at least we are not on our own totally, but half a mile in these conditions is a long way to walk. My driver got out and started to walk towards the other car, trudging through shin-deep snow in his normal street shoes and pretty flimsy raincoat.

Thoughts filled my head about the seriousness of the situation and also the funny side. However, two thoughts in particular sharpened my focus. One was that HE is going to freeze out there and he should not be walking anywhere in these conditions, and the other was that I was fully aware that in places like Scotland people had died in their cars stuck in snow drifts overnight. Yes, WE could die out here if we have to stay overnight.

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Hiking In Torres Del Paine

World famous trekking awaits in Torres del Paine National Park. Each valley, peak and pass hides its own treasures, be it hanging glaciers, vast pampas, twisted metamorphic rock or ice blue streams. No two days are the same, but one thing is for sure, the notorious buffeting Patagonian wind is sure to make an appearance.


How Do I Get To Torres Del Paine National Park

8 Best Day Tours &  Day Hikes in Torres del Paine, Chile ...
  • If Visiting Chile, Fly to Punta Arenas: From Santiago de Chile, International Airport takes a 4-hour flight to Punta Arenas Airport. Then take a 4 and a half hour bus ride from Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine.
  • If Visiting Argentina, Fly to El Calafate: From the Buenos Aires Airport, take a 4-5 hour connecting flight to El Calafate. From El Calafate, take a 4-hour bus to Cerro Castillo and cross the border into Torres del Paine National Park.

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Day : Puerto Natales Paine Grande Grey

To begin with, take the 6:40am bus from Puerto Natales to TDP. Along the way buy your entrance ticket to the national park and once at the Pudeto station take the ferry for Paine Grande.

From there, follow the trail to the Grey glacier andGrey shelter/camping, where you will be staying overnight.

  • Lowest 143m

Variant 1: Grey glacier lookout

Drop your bags at the refuge and hike a bit further until the lookout toward the Grey Glacier. Then trail down to the ranger station to enjoy a moment of peace far from everything.

Variant 2: Suspended Bridges

Keep on, and start hiking the end of the O-Trek. There is a total of 3 suspended bridges. We would recommend hiking at least until the 2nd before going back to Grey shelter/refuge.

Torres Del Paine Entrances And Hiking Trails

In season entrance is from 7am to 10pm off-season from 8.30am to 5.30pm. There are three entrances to the park (which one to choose depends on your route.

Laguna Amarga. TheO-circuit, the W-trek and day hikes . You can start hiking from the entrance or catch another bus that will get you to Las Torres the official start, 7km. The bus costs CLP 3000/US$4,50 pp.

Pudeto. The W-trek , theQ-trek, day hikes , to get to the park you need to catch a catamaran, CLP 20 000/US$25 one way.

The Administration entrance . In high season it can be used only for exiting the park. The stretch Paine Grande Administración cant be walked the other way around.

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Why Choose Day Hikes

Spend your evenings mulling over maps with expert guides, deciding the next day’s excursion with a glass of wine in hand. Choosing day hiking gives you the flexibility to choose exactly what you want to see in the park. Spend one day hiking a section of the famous W Trek, and the next, heading off-the-beaten-track into the pampa to search for fossils, or deep into the remote forests of the Pingo Valley.

  • Pick each day’s excursion the night before, depending on the weather forecast for the following day and how your legs are feeling!
  • Mix and match: try the most popular treks one day, challenge yourself with a tougher trail in a remote corner of the national park the next
  • Refuel each night with an exquisite dinner and a luxurious night’s sleep in some of Torres del Paine’s most sought after accommodation
  • Some hotels also offer more adventurous daytime activities alongside your hiking such as horse riding, kayaking, fishing and mountain biking

Some programmes are more flexible than others, some have smaller groups of 4-6 people and others groups of 10+. Our specialists can help ensure you find the one that’s right for you.

A puma rests in Torres del Paine

Lago Pehoe, Torres del Paine

Guanacos in Torres del Paine

Bracing the wind at Mirador Ferrier

Torres Del Paine Routes

Hiking the Torres del Paine O Circuit in Patagonia | Days 1-3 |

Torres del Paine is massive, covering over 598,593 acres of wilderness, making it one of the largest parks in Chile. While the two most famous routes are the W and the O Circuit, these hikes take days to complete and can be difficult for even the most experienced hiker. Thankfully, there are dozens of day hikes available within the park, all equally as beautiful and unique in their own ways.

If youre looking to hike in Patagonia but dont want to commit to days of trekking, here is our list of the best day hikes in Torres del Paine:

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Refugio And Camping Paine Grande

Torres Del Paine National Park has an abundance of trekking accommodation, from free and paid campsites to full-board refugios. None are more beautifully situated than Camping Paine Grande, a vast campsite ground and refugio at the foothills of the Torres Del Paine massif with views out across Lago Pehoé to the south.

The site at Paine Grande is supremely located for trekking in the park. It is the typical starting point for the west-to-east W Trek route, and also ideal for day hikes to Grey Glacier or the French Valley. Its easy to reach via a direct ferry transfer from Pudeto, near the park entrance.

We spent the last two nights of our Torres Del Paine trekking venture at Paine Grande, and found it to be the most comfortable and scenic campsite in the park. There is also the option to book rooms in the refugio, and various catering packages are available.

Price | beginning at $48 for a refugio bed / $9 for camping

How To Get To Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales is in the deep south of Chile which makes it a little difficult to travel to, First you have to get yourself to Santiago either via Emirates, KLM, or Air France if you are coming from Asia or Europe. For the US, you can fly via American, Delta, United or LATAM airlines. Be sure to check out the prices on Skyscanner and Expedia for the best possible deal for your trip.

From Santiago, the fastest way is to fly to the nearest airport in Puerto Arenas which is 360 km away from Puerto Natales where all the accommodations are.

From Puerto Arenas, There are buses that go to Puerto Natales daily either from the airport or the bus terminal in the city. The cheapest bus operator is Buses Fernandez which runs almost every hour during peak season, takes around 3 hours and cost around 7,900 CLP one way.

Again, to ensure that there will be space available on the bus, please book the transportation way in advance especially during the peak season as everything gets booked fast.

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Getting To The Hotels

Most of the hotels in this blog are very remote meaning you need to figure out a way to get to them! The easiest and more comfortable way is by renting a car!

We rented a car for a couple of weeks in Patagonia and it was awesome! Use the website Discover Cars to search for an affordable and suitable car rental to help you get around easily and enjoy your freedom at the same time.

The Best Time For Hiking

Hiking the W Trek in Torres del Paine

Patagonian summer from to February is the warmest time with day temperatures between 12°C and 15°C when the night temperature is between 9°C and 12°C. January, and March get quite a lot of wind the biggest problem for hiking and camping in Patagonia. February is the least windy summer month. Its the same with rain out of all summer months gets the least rainfall.

Out of the weather point of view, February is definitely the best month for trekking in Torres del Paine. The main drawback of hiking in February the parks are crowded, its the busiest month for the park with most visitors coming here. It means you must book campsites long in advance to make sure you get a spot on planned dates. If the campsites on the route are fully-booked you can do one of the alternative multi-day treks in Patagonia e.g. Cerro Castillo Circuit or hike to OHiggins Glacier if you want to explore a more off the beaten path route.

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The Ultimate Guide To Hiking In Torres Del Paine

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Hiking in Torres del Paine, in complete awe of the beautiful landscape, should be added to every Patagonia trip itinerary. Many travellers backpacking in South America ensure its included in their plans and its easy to see why. Snow-capped mountain peaks, dense forests, icy glaciers and jaw dropping scenery. Torres del Paine is one of the best places in Patagonia and high on any list of South America highlights.

Once youve decided to add a visit to Torres del Paine to your South America itinerary youll need to make sure youre prepared for whats to come. Backpacking Torres del Paine isnt just an easy stroll in the park. Whether youre camping in Torres del Paine, staying in the refugios or the warmth of the lodges.

After that its just the simple task of deciding which route you want to take. Fortunately, there are no shortage of options when it comes to hikes in Torres del Paine.

  • Q Circuit
  • Leave No Trace Rules & Regulations

    Dirty toilet paper is the most common form of backcountry litter we found on the trails in Torres del Paine. When you are unable to use bathroom facilities on the trail, it is essential that you know how to properly dispose of your waste and toilet paper. To dispose of human waste the right way, you need to dig a cathole at least 6-8 inches deep before you go, and if you dont pack a trowel , you wont be able to dig a hole deep enough. Its as simple as that. After doing your business, either bury your TP deep in the hole, or pack it out in a ziploc bag.

    You love nature. Thats why youre out there. So educate yourself on Leave No Trace principles and help us keep our wild spaces beautiful for generations to come.

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    Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa

    Located on the threshold of Torres Del Paine, Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa looks out from the eastern shore of Lago Sarmiento with panoramic views across the park. A short distance from the park entrance, it is an ideal luxury base for exploring the scenery.

    The hotel has a three-night minimum stay, offering all-inclusive packages including food and drink, airport transfers, spa facilities and daily excursions into the park. It even features an infinity pool with a view of the Torres Del Paine massif.

    A low-set building with a blonde wood design and only two floors, Tierra Patagonia blends into the surroundings seamlessly. There is ample space to hang out, unwind, and meet other guests and on arrival you are given an iPad to use during your stay.

    Price | beginning at $650 per night

    Overviewof Torres Del Paine Lodging: The Different Zones

    The BEST DAY HIKE in Patagonia – Los Cuernos Torres del Paine

    There are three basic zones in and around the park.

  • Accommodation on the trails
  • Torres del Paine has two famous multi-day hikes. The O that goes completely around themountains in a gigantic loop and the W that goes up and down the main trailsto see Glacier Grey , French Valley and the Torres del Paine . Accommodations on the trails are basic refugios and camping.

    These accommodations MUST be reserved in advance .

    The three companies/ organizations are:

  • Camping Italiano
  • Camping Torres closed for restorations
  • Camping Paso
  • Accommodation off the trails inside the park
  • Here are luxury hotels and hosterias. There are also a few campsites and anoccasional refugio.

    There are two main areas within this zone the southern or mainarea where there are views of the Cuernos del Paine and the northern area near theTorres del Paine.

  • Accommodation outside the park
  • There are a mix of hosterias, glamping, camping and estancias.

    I have divided these into the Rio Serrano area, because there is aconcentration of accommodations there, and it is just outside the southernentrance to the park, and then all of the others.

    In this guide, I will be focusing on and the off-trailaccommodation in and near Torres del Paine National Park.

    So, what do all these types of accommodation in Torres Del Paine look like?

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    Places To Stay In Puerto Natales

    Puerto Natales is probably the best place to be based before and after the trek. Its the closest town to the park, tourist infrastructure here is quite good many hotels and hostels, a couple of gear shops, rental places, restaurants, tour companies, and one or two supermarkets. You can get there by bus or hitchhiking from different places in Patagonia.

    In Puerto Natales, you can find hotels, hostels, campsites, restaurants, supermarkets, gear rental places, pharmacies, ATMs, and an information office.

    Items we love taking with on a hike

    We have a detailed post on hiking and camping gear for Patagonia where you can find more information.

    Recommended books and guidebooks

    In the last couple of years regulations in Torres del Paine changed a lot if you buy a trekking guide make sure its an updated edition.

    If you prefer reading e-books dont hesitate to join Amazon Kindle Unlimited to get access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks. Even if you dont have a Kindle device you can read or listen to books on your phone or tablet using a free app. The first 30 days are free.

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    Punta Arenas To Puertos Natales For W Trek

    Hi everyone, Im planning to do the W trek in April. Sadly Im working on a tight timeline and have to move as efficiently as possible.

    I can find a flight that gets me into PA late morning on a Saturday. I would like to start the trek on Sunday. Should I take the bus after my 16 hour flight straight to PN or is there enough time to catch the first bus Sunday morning and still begin on Sunday.

    Sunday would consist of bus from PA to PN, bus to TdelP, Ferry, check in at park, first day of the hike . Is the latter feasible? Also, Ill be packing all my gear except camping gas and food, will I be able to find those things in PA? Thanks in advance!

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    Glacier Trekking On Glacier Grey

    If you are looking for more of an adventure, go on a half-day or full-day guided Glacier Trekking Tour. Your guides will use their ice axes to carve out walking trails.

    Admire the spectacular crevasses with sparkling blue water running below the glacier. As your day on the glacier comes to an end, dont be surprised if your guides bring out a bottle of liquor and chill it with some 100-year-old ice from the glacier. **Crampons are provided** Hike to the Towers

    If you want a challenging yet rewarding hike, I recommend spending a day doing this 17 km hike to one of the most spectacular viewing points in Torres del Paine. Start your journey through the Ascencio River Valley towards the Chileno Shelter.

    From there, walk along the ancient beach forest surrounded by a beautiful ravine. The final and most difficult push on this hike is a scramble through the moraine. At the top, you will be greeted by the magnificent Towers.

    If it isnt too windy at the top, relax at the glacial lake and enjoy a delicious lunch. Soak-in this moment and feel the soothing Patagonian atmosphere. Make sure to bring a rain jacket with you because you never know when the weather can drastically change.

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