Torres del Paine is one of the most visited, wild places on the planet. The national park – located between the Patagonian steppe and the Andes mountain range – is famous for the beauty of its landscapes and the magnificence of its mountains. We are talking about Paine Grande – set 3,050 meters high above sea level – and Las Torres (the three iconic granite mountains that take anyone’s breath away).
The best part? This dreamy area has more than a rugged, rocky setting to offer: rainbows are the order of the day, sunsets are unforgettable, adventures are endless, and hopefully you’ll be able to spot a puma in its natural environment!
TRAVEL TIP: To visit the park, you will have to pay the entry fee. The cost of entry for foreigners is USD $34 and must be reserved online. Are you looking to explore the park without a time limit? If so, then we recommend buying the 3-day pass for USD$ 47.
If you are already in Santiago, take a 3-hour flight to Punta Arenas International Airport (PUQ) followed by a public or private bus/transfer to Puerto Natales. Be sure to buy your bus tickets in advance!
You may also take a direct flight from Santiago to Puerto Natales Airport (PNT) – just be sure to check flights as they are less frequent than flights to Punta Arenas.
TRAVEL TIP: In general, you do not need a visa to travel to Chile. However, it never hurts to check travel requirements with your airline or embassy.
If you like to enjoy the good weather, we recommend you visit the park during the summer of the southern cone. Between October and April, Chile offers us an ideal climate for trekking: blue skies, a sunny day, sporadic rains and an average temperature of 20 ° C.
Your holidays don’t coincide with these dates? Do not worry! Spring (from September to November) and fall (from December to February) are also wonderful options. It will be a little coolder – between 10 ° C and 15 ° C – but it has its advantages as weather is much more stable and calm during these months.
In spring there are not many tourists (so you will have the whole park to yourself). In autumn you will be able to capture a postcard landscape bathed in orange, blue and violet hues, a spectacle!
TRAVEL TIP: In this area, the climate is very erractic. Strong winds, intermittent rains, and drastic temperature variations are common. Bring warm and waterproof clothing!
There are two accommodation alternatives for backpacking enthusiasts: shelters and campsites. The difference between them is in 1) the price and 2) the amenities.
The shelters are tourist lodges with cabins, bunk beds, recreation areas, common areas and bathrooms with hot water. In general, both bedrooms and bathrooms are shared. Their amenities make them the most expensive option on the list.
The campsites, on the other hand, are defined areas for sleeping outdoors. Depending on the place, you will have to bring your own tent or reserve one already set up with all the comforts (including sleeping bag and mat).
Which one is the best? It depends on your tastes and your adventurous spirit. There are campsites that, in addition to being cheap, include food, drinks, bathrooms with hot showers and even restaurants! There are also shelters with luxury cabins that will make you forget that you are in the mountains. The choice is yours!
TRAVEL TIP: Be sure to make your accommodation reservations in advance since many hotels, lodges, and campsites fill up quickly during high season. And as a great alternative, check out some wonderful hidden AirBnB gems when you stay in Puerto Natales!
A good backpacker carries his life on his back and this is an advantage when visiting one of the most virgin and remote areas of the planet. After all, you won’t find a convenience store in the middle of nature! Our advice? Prepare your trekking backpack with some essentials, such as:
When it comes to food, variety is taste! You can choose whatever you want, but we recommend bringing enough cereal bars, nuts, and dark chocolate (they will help you deal with the cold).
TRAVEL TIP: Patagonia is usually a rainy area with quite unpredictable weather. Pack your things in a dry bag and bring warm and waterproof clothing (including socks). Thus, you will be comfortable and dry at all times.
Is it your first time in Patagonian lands? If so, we leave you the best trek circuits in the area so that you can have a lot of fun:
The O Circuit is one of the most challenging treks. Traveling the 110 km path will take you 6-9 days of travel, but it is worth it! As you will hike around the Paine mountain range and will be able to marvel at a view that seems to come from a prehistoric past. You will think you are on another planet! (Or at least, that you traveled back in time). (Difficulty level: medium-high)
Do you want something shorter and easier to navigate? Then we recommend the 80 km W Circuit (3-5 days of travel). This is one of the roads most visited by tourists, who want to admire the Gray Glacier, Las Torres, and the French Valley. The scenery is impressive too! (Difficulty level: low-medium)
And that is our definitive backpacking guide! Now all you have to do is organize your trip and get ready to have a great time.