Backpacking in Torres del Paine travel guide 2021 – Our Best Travel Tips

Out there, there are hundreds of places waiting to be discovered! But in the meantime, grab your boots, your camping favorites, and explore the eighth wonder of the world – Torres del Paine!

Not even the most modern mega-constructions resemble the beauty and majesty of Torres del Paine which is precisely why we leave you with our definitive backpacking guide.

Enjoy Our 2021 Backpacking Guide

A quick look at the Patagonian region

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.

How to get to Chilean Patagonia?

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.

When to visit Torres del Paine National Park?

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!

Where to sleep during the trip? Shelters and Campsites

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!

What cannot be missing in your travel backpack

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:

  • Durable Tent
  • Headlamp
  • Scarf / Face Covering
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Sleeping bag
  • Mountain boots
  • Cookware
  • Winter gloves
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Wool Socks
  • Lighter and matches
  • Waterproof and windproof clothing
  • Rope and tie down straps
  • Personal hygiene items

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.

Can’t Miss: the most popular trekking trails

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:

O Circuit

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)

W Circuit

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)

TRAVEL TIP: Do you want to take backpacking to another level? Take a look at our Backpacking travel list!

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.

For more destination information, travel tips & planning in Torres del Paine, be sure to contact one of our Trip Specialist

SY Joyce Kan
SY Joyce Kan
Amazing trip! We joined the Torres Del Paine 7 day O trek tour - note that this tour is not a complete O Trek but skipping the part from Camp Frances to Las Torres, which worked in our favour as our holiday is limited and we won’t miss much. Our guide, Debbie was knowledgeable and amicable, and very passionate about hiking. Unfortunately I fell sick during the hike and wished to leave a day earlier than planned. Debbie and Chile Nativo quickly rearranged transportation for us and was very helpful. Throughout the whole process Chile Nativo was very responsive. We had a memorable journey and I would highly recommend Chile Nativo.
Jim Garvin
Jim Garvin
Fantastic experience! We were booked with Chile Nativo via Swoop and had a wonderful experience. Our guides, Tim & Lucile, were awesome. We really enjoyed their company. They were very knowledgeable about the region (the history, animals, landscape, etc). Highly recommend.
Olivia Evans
Olivia Evans
I booked the independent, self-guided Torres Del Paine trek with Chile Nativo’s help and was so glad I did. When I looked to book on my own, everything was all reserved in Torres Del Paine and Chile Nativo was the only agency that could help me find a spot still. To still be able to go on the trip when I wanted to go, to not have to spend so much time planning all the logistics, to get a local’s recommendations on the best way to do the trek…but STILL get to do the trek on my own was amazing and worth every penny. In particular Paolina at the agency was incredibly helpful. I would recommend this agency to anyone looking to hike in Torres del Paine.
Chiloe Natural (chiloenatural)
Chiloe Natural (chiloenatural)
Serious, professional, and friendly Tour Agency in Puerto Natales that will cater your needs in Patagonia and Torres del Paine.
Kevin Jobst
Kevin Jobst
Hiking in Torres with Pepa is like walking with your smartest and wisest friend. She has an incredible depth of knowledge in everything from mycology to government, from geology to history. She is fiercely passionate about conservation and our planet and has dedicated her life to making our world a better place. Our two porters Filipe and Bastian were both incredibly strong and highly professional. Always in the know on where to set up the tent, they picked the best spot in every site we were at. Also, they were an absolute blast to hang out with after the long days hiking. I cannot recommend this particular team highly enough and if you are passionate about the environment, making the world a better place, learning everything there is to know about glaciers, mushrooms, Patagonia, the history of Chile, magma intrusions and edible berries request them by name. Thank you to all three of you for making our experience so special and I hope our paths cross again.
Brad Smith
Brad Smith
Our Torres Del Paine Plus trip was fantastic! A great crew of newly-made friends, guided by Izabella “La Professora”, on a journey beyond expectations. What a great time, a balance of hiking and touring. DO NOT miss the pumas!!! I will definitely go with the Chile Nativo team again, and thanks to Nestor & Juan too!
Senga Simpson
Senga Simpson
Excellent service. Thank you Vicky
Lukas Winegarner
Lukas Winegarner
Camilo is ledged! Chile Nativo is extremely experienced and knowledgeable - I would highly recommend booking directly through them. We were a group of 8 doing the O 7 day hike and everything was great! Thanks to Camilo & Tomas and all of our porters!


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