The Torres del Paine National Park is the most important natural destination in southern Chile (Magallanes region and Chilean Antarctic). Its 240,000 hectares contain lakes, mountains, rivers and Patagonian steppe.
It is known for 2 rock formations in the form of towers, famous “Torres del Paine”, but not only for these. You can also visit a large part of the natural park through one of its circuits and heritage routes.
The most famous circuit is the “W”, named for its shape, which has a length of 71 km (about 4-5 days of walking). If you have fewer days available, you can ascend directly to the tower viewpoint (1 day).
How to get to the Torres del Paine National Park?
There are several options to get here, depending on the trip you take:
- From Chile. Air route from Santiago to the closest cities to the natural park:
- Via Puerto Natales. It is the most direct and fastest way to get there, although it has less frequent flights than via Punta Arenas. Once there, move by bus or private car to the natural park. You are 120 km away (unpaved road in the final part).
- Via Punta Arenas. It is farther than Puerto Natales but has better air connection. You have 340 km to travel by bus or private car to reach the natural park.
- From Argentina: If you are in Argentina and you are going to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, take the opportunity to cross the Chilean border and come to see the Torres del Paine Natural Park. From El Calafate you have a distance of 200 km.
In any of the options, we recommend you cross the Argentine border and go to visit the Perito Moreno glacier, in El Calafate town. It is more distance, but take the opportunity to see another of the wonders of South America on the same trip.
Accommodation in the Torres del Paine National Park
You have at your disposal different types of accommodation: hotels, hostels, shelters and camping areas.
In the case of shelters and camps you must book on the CONAF website.
On the contrary, for the options of hotels and hostels it is not necessary to reserve with the CONAF. However, there are not many options within the natural park so book as soon as possible.
Entrance fee to the Torres del Paine National Park
To access the natural park you must pay the ticket established by the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF). Between 11,000 (14.5 €) – 21,000 (28 €) pesos for foreign adults and between 4,000-6,000 pesos for national adult (according to season).
When is the best time to visit the Torres del Paine National Park?
The best time is between December 15 and the end of February, which is when the weather is best (austral summer).
However, you can find quite low temperatures also on these dates. We went in early February and had temperatures of 3-5 degrees at night.
What clothes to wear?
The climate in Patagonia is very changeable. It can be hot and cold, rain, snow and shine… all on the same day.
This is why we recommend to wear several layers of clothing to adjust depending on the heat or cold, as well as:
- Waterproof outerwear.
- Food and water.
- Sunglasses and sunblock.
- Gloves and hat.
- Trekking boots (better raincoats).
Arrive at the Torres del Paine National Park
We came in a 4×4 from El Calafate (Argentina), so we arrived at the park at night. We went along the gravel road inside the park until we found a quite old bridge with this warning…
We looked at the characteristics of the car to see its weight, we lowered all the suitcases and continued only the driver with the car. A little noise from the woods when passing, tension in the environment … but we passed without more problem! The adventure was starting soon…
After 15 minutes we arrived at our hostel, located at the end of the road and next to the Hotel “Las Torres Patagonia”.
Route to reach the base of Torres del Paine National Park
We get up early to make the most of the daylight hours. And, just outside the hostel, we could contemplate some impressive views of the mountains and the towers in particular.
We walked with the backpacks to the crossroads, where the route to follow was indicated.
And, a little further, we started the path ascending in the direction of the viewpoint of the Torres del Paine.
The route is quite affordable since there are no great difficulties. Of course, you have to be fit since the slope is important and is a continuous ascent.
It is also important to wear good shoes, since there are quite some areas of pure rock.
We were practically at the base of the towers. The double reward, for the views and the improvement to reach this point, we had it at hand.
The end part is somewhat harder. It is a scree with huge rocks that makes climbing difficult, but nothing could stop us.
And, finally, we reached the viewpoint at the base of the towers at 880 meters altitude. What a spectacular image we had before us, between the lake and the clouds!
What a natural wonder is the south of Chile! Its snow-capped mountains, its barren steppes, its crystal-clear lakes… We liked it so much that we already agreed which would be our next trip: Navarino Island! The inhabited island located to the south of the American continent.
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Kiss and hugs.