Torres del Paine Trek

Circumnavigate Patagonia's most famous massif in southern Chile
Overview

overview

The trails between the Torres del Paine’s famous craggy mountains are some of the world’s classic trekking routes. Breathtaking views with glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests, and abundant wildlife provide the trip with constantly changing scenarios and experiences. During summer (Nov-Mar), there are 18 hours of daylight, giving explorers plenty of time for the walking journey.

This  superbly guided and supported seven-day trek is our favorite trip in Torres del Paine National Park. It is the most comprehensive trekking trip in Patagonia that is suitable for active travelers who are both sensitive to nature and physically fit enough to make demanding hikes of 5-6 hrs/day, and it also includes a couple of days set aside for exploring the areas in and around Punta Arenas. Most of the walks start at one of our local partner's ecocamps, so just a daypack is carried on the trek. You may want to consider combining this trek with other areas of Chile or Argentina.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Santiago - Friday
    Santiago is filled with marvelous sights, both old and new

    You will be met at the airport by a member of our staff in Santiago and transferred to your central hotel. On your city tour this afternoon (or on the last day of the trip, depending on arrival times), you can appreciate the history, culture, and architecture of this cosmopolitan city. Visit the church of San Francisco, pass by the palace of Cousino Macul, and visit the old, traditional neighborhoods. You’ll also pass La Moneda, the seat of the government, and the presidential palace before reaching the historical center of Santiago. The historical district includes the Plaza de Armas, the central post office, and the Museum of Natural History. Later you will reach Santa Lucía Hill, cross the Mapocho River, and pass through the bohemian quarter of Bellavista. Then you will ascend San Cristobal Hill, where you will have a beautiful view of Santiago with the Andes Mountains towering in the background. You will continue westward and drive through traditional Providencia to the modern areas of Santiago and its various commercial centers (Santa Maria de Maquehue, Vitacura, and Las Condes) until arriving at the base of the Andes. After this tour, you will return to your hotel, and the rest of the day is at your leisure.

    Lodging
    Hotel Bonaparte (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Santiago/Punta Arenas, Horseback Riding - Saturday
    Strait of Magellan at dawn (used with permission, Wikinmedia Commons)

    Fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, one of the world's southernmost cities, where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, conveniently located a very short stroll just a couple of blocks from the heart of downtown and its many shops and restaurants.  In the afternoon, join a small group fo horseback riding at Agua Fresca Bay.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Rey Don Felipe (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Punta Arenas, Kayaking - Sunday
    Ferdinand Magellan monument, Punta Arenas

    Make your way back to Agua Fresca Bay this morning. This time you'll enjoy a kayaking trip on the beautiful blue waters.  Then the afternoon is free for exploring in and around Punta Arenas, on your own.  Head back to your hotel to rest up for traveling to Torres del Paine National Park and your trekking adventure.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Rey Don Felipe (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Punta Arenas / Torres del Paine - Monday
    Your first views of the mountains are sure to amaze (photo: Bo Stern)

    After an early breakfast, set out on a five-hour drive (~216 miles) to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. Along the way, you will stop in Puerto Natales to see the town and enjoy lunch. You may leave any unnecessary luggage in our local office before you take the short walk to see the enormous Cueva del Milodon, a giant geological wonder that once sheltered the remains of a prehistoric sloth. In the southern hemisphere’s summer, the sun sets around 11:00 pm, giving you plenty of light to admire the landscape and the craggy mountains as you enter Torres del Paine National Park. You will be treated to a wonderful dinner upon arrival, then you'll spend the night at EcoCamp Patagonia.

    EcoCamp Patagonia is a type of luxury camp similar in concept to the famous African lodges. It is an environmentally friendly camp, especially important in a national park with the characteristics of Torres del Paine. It was designed with comfort in mind, yet stresses the importance of interfering as little as possible with the natural surroundings. You will sleep in big, comfortable two-meter-high domed tents that have wooden floors and are resistant to the strongest winds, rain, and even Patagonian snow. They are each equipped with 2-3 single beds, sheets, blankets, and down comforters. The EcoCamp has a large dome communal tent equipped with a living area, a dining room, and a fully equipped kitchen run by a chef. The EcoCamp also includes a bathroom module/cabin with composting toilets, showers, and solar-heated hot water. (*Single travelers will share accommodations with passengers of the same gender)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp Patagonia
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Paso Los Cuernos - The Horns - Tuesday
    The famous silhouette of The Horns (photo: Bo Stern)

    Today's 5- to 6-hour hike starts at the EcoCamp and ends at Refugio Los Cuernos. The trail passes under the Cuernos del Paine peaks, which are crowned by the two beautiful black slate "horns" for which the trail is named. (Please note: Your clothes and personal belongings needed for the next two nights are transported separately in duffel bags by porters). Your overnight stay is at Refugio Los Cuernos.

    Refugio Los Cuernos is a typical mountain hut. It is open to visitors of Torres del Paine. The Refugio has shared rooms for 4 to 6 people. The beds are single and bunk-style, and you will be provided with a sleeping bag and a polar fleece liner (although you may want to bring your own sleeping bag liner for comfort). The bathrooms are also shared, and they have hot water. The Refugio is heated and has a very comfortable dining area.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Refugio Los Cuernos
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: French Valley - Wednesday
    Explore forest areas and river valleys (photo: Bo Stern)

    Today the trekking will go over a distance of 5 miles (2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours) up to Campamento Italiano and will then continue to Mirador del Frances (2 miles, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours roundtrip). Mirador del Frances is one of the most spectacular cirques in the Paine range. The trail from Camp Pehoe runs through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest until it meets River Frances and Camp Italiano. From here, follow the river upstream until you reach El Mirador, a lookout point facing Glacier Frances, which descends from Paine Grande (the highest summit in the Paine range). From this vantage point, enjoy a magnificent and broad view of the lakes below. There is an optional two-hour trek to Mirador Britanico. Your duffel bags will be carried by porters from Refugio Los Cuernos to Paine Grande Lodge.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Paine Grande Lodge
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Pehoe-Grey Glacier - Thursday
    Get up close and personal with Grey Glacier (photo: Bo Stern)

    Today you will hike about four hours from Paine Grande Lodge to the northern end of Lago Grey where you'll board the boat that will take you alongside the majestic Grey Glacier. We will have ample time to marvel at this mighty glacier before the boat crosses Lago Grey (40 minutes). If the weather conditions do not allow for navigation on Lake Grey, you will instead hike to the Grey Glacier (6-8 hours roundtrip) and then board a catamaran at Pudeto to cross Lake Pehoe. Later today, transfer from Lake Grey's southern end back to EcoCamp Patagonia (1-1/2 hours) for dinner and your overnight stay.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp Patagonia
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Torres del Paine - Friday
    View massive mountains above glacial lakes (photo: Bo Stern)

    The exact hiking itinerary for the next two days is weather-dependent and may be reversed. If you have a clear day, enjoy an all-day hike (6 miles, 8 hours roundtrip) to the foot of the impressive granite massif of El Paine, where the towers rise majestically before you and the glacial lake is visible below. It is truly some of the most beautiful scenery in the world! The famous Torres del Paine (9,400 feet) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, all that remain of a great cirque that has been sheared away over time by the forces of glacial ice. If it is cloudy with no chances to view the Torres del Paine, hike to Laguna Azul instead. Return to EcoCamp Patagonia for your overnight stay.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp Patagonia
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Laguna Azul - Saturday
    Visit several spectacular lakes (photo: Bo Stern)

    Today hike for about 40 minutes to the lookout point of Laguna Azul, where you have a beautiful view of Laguna Azul and the spectacular Torres del Paine. Then continue along the eastern side of Lago Sarmiento until you reach the calcium formations at its shores. Here, you will have a good chance to see guanacos and other wildlife. Later you will trek through the Paso Las Cornizas (three hours) with views of the Paine River, Lake Pehoe, and the massif of Paine. Depending on the group, you might also hike to the lookout point Toro (1 to 1-½ hours), which offers fantastic views of Lake Toro and the typical pampa (steppe) landscape. Once back at EcoCamp Patagonia enjoy a farewell dinner. Overnight at the EcoCamp.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp Patagonia
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Punta Arenas / Santiago - Sunday
    Punta Arenas with the Straits of Magellan beyond (used with permission, Wikimedia Commons)

    Early this morning, you'll board the vehicle back to Punta Arenas and arrive at the airport with plenty of time to catch the evening flight back to Santiago. Here, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Bonaparte (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Santiago / Onward - Monday

    Transfer to the Santiago airport for your international flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Friday weekly departures, October to April.
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$4,250
Rates apply for Nov 2014 - Mar 2015 ' 1 person rate: $4595 Oct 2014 & Apr 2015: $-500 reduction International and domestic flights not included
Single Supplement:
$375
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Prices may fluctuate based on the exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and the Chilean Pesos.

What to bring: Day backpack for personal items, soft-sided duffel bag (to be carried by porters), waterproof trekking boots, waterproof parka & pants, inner insulating layer (fleece or wool), three changes of clothes for the trek, sun hat, sunscreen, hiking socks, sandals (for after hikes), bathing suit, sunglasses, towel (optional), ski poles (optional), long underwear (expedition weight), gaitors, flashlight/headlamp. A complete booklet with more detailed information about what to bring will be sent to you once you book the trip.

The climate: The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to the winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. Also, both the strong marine influence and the South Patagonic Icefield influence makes the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer, fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rains and sometimes snow. Even in summer (December to March) you should be prepared to find strong, cold winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfalls. The average summer temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºC max, 2ºC min).

Duration:
11 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
1
comfortable hotels and camps
Group Size:
2-16
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
5
comfortable hotels and camps

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Buenos Aires

Duration: 1 days

Extend your trip or make the most of your time in Buenos Aires.

Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia

Duration: 4 days

This exploration of the Southern Andes is a great addition to an Antarctic cruise or a trek in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park.

Torres del Paine Kayaking

Duration: 4 days

This is the perfect way to cap off your Torres del Paine Trek or Patagonia Wildlife Safari: paddling down the Serrano River in a sea kayak. The Torres del Paine kayaking extension is an active adventure in extraordinarily beautiful surroundings.

Atacama Desert

Duration: 4 days

The Atacama Desert, in the north of Chile, is said to be the driest place on earth, with places where it hasn't rained for 400 years. The desert is so dramatic that, at first sight, it appears never to have sustained any life. However, pink flamingoe... read more

Fitzroy Trek

Duration: 7 days

This trip in Los Glaciares National Park has been designed as the perfect complement to one of our regular trips. Los Glaciares is one of the most impressive national parks in South America. This vast reserve protects around 2,300 square miles of the... read more

Altiplano Wildlife

Duration: 5 days

The Altiplano is a flat plateau located on top of the Andes at an average altitude of 13,000 feet. Its extraordinary natural wonders include active and dormant slender-coned volcanoes, clear blue lakes with abundant bird life, extensive steppes suppo... read more

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