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W TREK CIRCUIT (5 DAYS)

Trekking the most famous trail in Patagonia....

Overview

W Trek is undoubtedly the most famous trail in Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park. This non-technical guided hike tour connects a best-of-the-best selection of Patagonia’s highlights: the Towers Base lookout, French Valley and Grey Glacier. Hike through pristine landscapes, past rivers, lakes and rocky peaks – plus grab the chance to do an ice hike or kayak in Grey Lake. This program differs from the Independent W Trek in two important ways: you have an expert guide to lead you each day, and you’ll travel by boat up close to Grey Glacier’s massive ice wall.

Trip Highlights

• Trek to the three Towers lookout
• Los Cuernos and other otherworldly peaks
• Hike in pristine landscapes inhabited by wild Patagonian fauna
• Trek the French Valley
• See hanging glaciers and possible avalanches
• Boat trip to Grey Glacier’s icy wall
• Optional ice hike on Grey Glacier or kayaking trip in Grey Lake

Trip Map

Itinerary

Day 1

Transfer to Torres del Paine – Round trip hike to Las Torres lookout point

2 hours by private transfer

8-10 hours round-trip, 22 km

Night at Refugio Torre Central (BL-D)

We leave Puerto Natales at 7:00am and drive to Torres del Paine National Park, passing estancias (ranches) and flat pampas taken straight from Patagonian folklore. Have your camera at the ready en route: ñandu (Patagonian ostrich), Chilean flamingos and black-necked swans are likely to be out in the pampas and lagoons. After arriving at the Refugio you’ll have time to leave your backpack before we begin the W Trek’s first highlight: the hike to the three Towers lookout. The trek begins with an ascent, following the Ascencio River into the Ascencio Valley. After about an hour, we’ll stop to observe how the valley’s beauty unfolds with rich beech forests, glaciers and waterfalls. Past this lookout point, we continue uphill for another ninety minutes before ascending a gigantic terminal moraine (the ridge formed at a glacier’s end point) where we’ll be rewarded by the arresting sight of the three Towers themselves. At this lookout point 900 m above sea level, we’ll rest, take photos and have lunch. Our descent is along the same path, taking us back to the Refugio where we’ll have dinner, stretch and rest. W Trek Circuit, Patagonia Torres del Paine - Chile Nativo

Day 2

One way hike to Los Cuernos lookout through condor territory

4-5 hours hiking, 13 km

Night at Refugio Los Cuernos or Domo Frances, depending on availability (B-BL-D)

If the weather allows, our morning will be lit by the rich oranges and pinks of a Patagonian dawn. Today you’ll hike to Los Cuernos lookout, where monumental horn-shaped black twin granite peaks shoot skyward. We’ll make our way via Inge Lagoon and may see condors and other birds of prey circling the skies while we trek below. The well-marked trail ascends 200m from the base of Almirante Nieto Mountain (2750m) and crosses the Bader River to Refugio Los Cuernos, today’s destination.

You can update to private cabins with two beds and sharing bathrooms in between the cabins for USD $ 230 per single occupancy or USD$ 140 per double occupancy or USD$ 90 per triple occupancy

Day 3

One way hike to Pehoe Lake, via the French Valley

8-9 hours hiking, 18 km

Night at Refugio Paine Grande (B-BL-D)

Today’s hike is a challenging trek to heart of the Paine massif. The French Valley is a spectacular natural basin surrounded by peaks and hanging glaciers. After breakfast, a winding path will take us to the French River (1-2 hour hike depending on whether our accommodation was at Los Cuernos or Domos Frances). At the entrance to the French Valley - a glacial moraine - you’ll scramble over huge boulders and catch the first sight of the hanging glacier atop the valley. From this point, you’ll ascend for an hour through a dreamlike Japanese garden landscape before arriving at the French Valley viewpoint (the “Plateau”). Your reward is a heart-stirring bird’s eye view of granite peaks and hanging glaciers. To one side, the French Glacier and Paine Grande (3050 m); while to the other, La Espada, La Hoja, La Máscara and the main and north “horns” of Los Cuernos arch upwards. In the upper section of the Valley, Cerro Catedral and Cerro Fortaleza loom like turrets above the landscape. Take your time to have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies. You’ll descend via the same path until you reach the valley’s entrance, at which point you’ll continue around the south-west side of Paine Grande, Torres del Paine’s highest peak. This final leg passes through native firebush and evergreen beech forests to the shores of Pehoe Lake. Dinner will be served at Refugio Paine Grande.

Day 4

One way hike to Glacier Grey – Optional Ice hike or kayak

4 hours hiking, 11 km

Night at Refugio Grey (B-BL-D)

We’ll set out early, ascending 200m through the winding path that takes us to Laguna Negra. Here, we’ll see sections of the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, a geological phenomenon that still guards many unexplored peaks. You’ll continue on to Grey Glacier’s lookout point, passing forests and rivers, with possible sightings of the spectacled and flying steamer ducks that call them home. We’ll have lunch at the lookout with the mammoth Grey Glacier at our feet, and might be lucky enough to catch sight of ice calving from its huge walls into the freezing waters. Today, there is the option to go on an ice hike or kayaking trip (advance booking required, please contact our Travel Specialists).

Day 5

Optional ice hike or kayak - Navigation in front of Glacier – Transfer back to Natales

2 hours by boat on Grey Lake

2 hours by transfer (B-BL)

Today starts easy with a free morning to stretch, relax and breathe in the landscape. You also have the option to go kayaking - great if you chose to do the ice hike on Day 4 (advance booking required). After lunch we’ll set off by boat across Grey Lake, to the massive facade of Grey Glacier. We’ll stay here for a while to observe the wall’s textures, lines and colors - and of course, watch for ice calvings. On your return journey you’ll see the wind-sculpted “ice mushrooms” atop the massive peaks of Paine Grande, as we sail past blue-hued icebergs. On dry land once again, we’ll take our transfer back to Puerto Natales.

INCLUDED

  • All the private transportation indicated in the schedule
  • Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park
  • Four nights lodging in mountain lodges (Refugios) (Comfortable rooms with 6 beds and shared bathroom) (No singles available)
  • Sleeping bags and liners (when is possible we include a bed with sheets, blankets and a pillow)
  • Boat on Grey Lake
  • All meals indicated in the schedule (B: breakfast, BL: picnic lunch, D: dinner)
  • Guide (English-Spanish languages)

NOT INCLUDED

  • Any additional nights
  • Medical expenses
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Personal expenses
  • Dinner on day 5
  • Ice hike or Kayak activity on day 4 or 5
  • Porters to carry personal belongings, (available upon request, cost of USD $ 150 per day for 3 days with a maximum of 15K per porter, usually good to share among two hikers)
  • Any alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks at the Refugios except for the drinks include in the menu
  • Gratuities for guide

Lodgings

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Torres Central & North

The Mountain lodges of Torres Central and North are two comfortable refugios located at the base of the hike to the Towers lookout and part of the “W” and “Circuit” walks. They are within walking distance to the Hotel Spa at Las Torres for a variety of services including massage and saunas. There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) with shared bathrooms and hot water.

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Los Cuernos

On the shore of lake Nordenskjöld nestled in a Coihue Forest lays Refugio Los Cuernos with 32 beds. This cozy lodge is located on the “W” circuit walking between the French Valley and the Torres del Paine lookout and base camp area. There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) and have a shared bathrooms with hot water.

Cabins Los Cuernos (Optional)

8 cozy cabins for 2 persons each with shared bathrooms and showers exclusively for people who are staying at the cabins. The cabins are located next to the Refugio Los Cuernos and all meals are taken in the Refugio.

Domo Frances

Located 1 hour trekking from Los Cuernos sector to the West (between Cuernos and Italiano camping sites), with an amazing view of Nordenskjöld lake, Cuernos del Paine and Paine Grande Mountain.
3 Domes with private bathroom for 8 people each (shared bathroom and dome). Accommodation: Bed with Sleeping Bag Included in bunk beds.

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Paine Grande

Paine Grande is a large and modern refugio set on the banks of the Lake Pehoe, including internet connection and full service bar. It’s the jump off point for the catamaran crossing Lake Pehoe and the walks to the French and Grey Valleys part of the “W” and “Circuit” hikes.
There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) and have shared bathrooms with hot water.

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Grey

Ideally situated on the edge of Lake Grey, this refugio is in a forest of Lenga trees. A small and cozy hut, with a privileged access to the Grey Glacier and is part of the “W” and “Circuit” hikes.
There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) and have shared bathrooms with hot water.

Dates & Prices

PRICES FOR SEASON 2020/2021: (valid until April 2021)

2 guests: per person

3 guests: per person
4-8 guests: per person

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES/SERVICES: (must be booked in advance)

If you want to avoid carrying too much weight you can pay for a private porter. These porters carry a maximum of 15 kilos in a dry bag provided by Chile Nativo, a service which is usually good to share between 2 – 3 people and must be booked for 3 days (Day 2 to 4) Porter price for 3 days: USD$450


Day 2: Upgrade Cabin: USD$255 (single occupancy); USD$160 (double occupancy): private cabin at a walking distance from the main Refugio, sharing bathrooms only in between the cabins.

Day 4 or 5: Ice Trek USD$180 per person**

Day 4 or 5: Kayak USD$115 per person
**

Public bus from/to Punta Arenas USD$ 15

** Prices to be confirmed

  • Dates
  • Start / End
  • Price in USD
  • Spaces Available

FAQ's

Q: Where do I keep my luggage that I won´t need during my trek while I am hiking in the park?
A: The majority of the hotels and hostels will store luggage for their guests who are staying with them prior to and after their travels in the park. If not, we will happily store your luggage securely in our office until you arrive back from your trek and will deliver this to your hotel where you will be staying in Puerto Natales. We ask that you come to our Office between the hours of 09:00 – 13:00 or 15:00 – 19:00 to drop these off if you are not able to make it to the briefing the day prior to your trip.

Q: If I´m reserved in the campsites, do I need to travel with my own sleeping bag and tent?
A: In the case that campsites are the only available accommodation for you during 1 or more nights of your W Trek, your tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping mat are all included in your reservation. These will be setup upon your arrival to each refugio and there is no need to bring your own camping gear along your trek!

Q: Can I upgrade to a private accommodation each night along the W Trek?
A: You may upgrade to a private accommodation in Hotel Las Torres on night 1 for an additional charge. You may also upgrade to a private cabin in Los Cuernos on the second night of the W Trek for an additional per person charge. Both upgrades are based on availability at the time of your request. The last 2 nights of the W Trek will be spent in shared refugio accommodations or a 2-person tent in the campsite.

Q: Should I tip my guide? If so – how much is appropriate?
A: Tipping can be a delicate subject and many different nationalities have different tipping cultures. Tips or ´propinas´ in Chile, are viewed as a reward for good service. When tipping your guide/s, they should be in Chilean pesos. If you do leave tips in US dollars – make sure the bills are unmarked and undamaged. A good guide who does the job well, has good English and provides a great service, can expect CLP 10,000 to 15,000 a day in total per day from the group. For a good assistant guide, each should get about half that of the guide per day, CLP 5,000 to 8,000 per day. It is usual to leave your driver or chauffeur a tip too. Normally around CLP 2,000 to CLP 3,000 per person. These amounts are merely a source to help you or give you a general idea of what is normal or typical. Of course, tipping is always at the discretion of the group members as to what they deem appropriate for the service they received.

Q: What time will we finish our trek on the last day and arrive back to Puerto Natales?
A: Upon completing the Grey III boat navigation on the last day of your trek, your private transportation will bring you all back to Puerto Natales arriving around 18:30hrs, in time to take the bus to Punta Arenas for a departing flight or onward travels.

Reviews

The itinerary was well planned, and the ability to adjust the activities to our needs was available. The office responded to all requests with speed, and our guide Nicholas was knowledgeable, respectful, and fun. Nicholas gave us the overview of the day, and set a pace that worked for our group. He had a vast knowledge of the region and proved an excellent communicator. He was always professional, respectful, and fun. He was clearly a leader among guides on the trail. He watched out for everyone. He set a pace that worked and keep us confident that the day would go well. Our experience with the all office personnel was very good. I requested many changes and the office made them all happen quickly! Chile Nativo provided the services promised, and responded to many requested changes with ease. The guide was exceptional in knowledge and experience. Our expectations were met and actually exceeded.

Greg, USA

Everything was very well handled from the moment I emailed Chile Nativo to the end where the tour ended. I’m very happy I chose Chile Nativo and will definitely recommend it to anyone I know who is going to Chile or the Patagonian region. The guides Armando and Jaime spoke good English. Both of them are humble and very informative. Marina Petrozzino and Isidora Cruz were also very helpful from the get go in responding to my queries. Overall a brilliant and unforgettable experience.

Ricky M., Singapore

Great trip and memorable experience. Made great friends with the other group members. Pelin was an amazing guide we had such a great time with her. She has so much knowledge and passion for what she does it was a great experience to do this trek with her guidance.

Garima K., Australia

The best trip I’ve experienced in my short life. I will not only recommend this trip to friends and family, but if they decide to go through with it go with Chile Nativo. Mauricio, our guide, elevated the trip to a whole new level. By the “goodies” he brought, to the knowledge of the region’s wildlife and vegetation, the perfect spots to take pictures, and overall ability to help made him the best guide I’ve had in a trip. you all very much.

Philip O., USA

I had a wonderful experience and received great communication. Absolutely wonderful guides! They catered to everyones needs and did an excellent job making sure that we were safe. Definitely, would refer to a friend!

Zachary B., USA

Chile Nativo is professional, awesome and the best adventure experience I have ever had. Patagonia is everything you see in the pictures and more.The company great value for service and experience. I could not rate their guides Carla and Fernando highly enough.

Sarah L., Australia

The guides made the whole difference for my trekking experience. They had wonderful personalities, were incredibly helpful and observant, were excellent and professional in their job, and yet absolutely fun! i felt safe under their care. Incredibly fun trip – i’d remember how much i laughed during the whole trip.

Aili C., Malaysia

The Chile Nativo experience was excellent. It was what I expected with lots of enthusiasm. The love for the outdoors is evident when working with Marina, Pelin and Fernando. I have forwarded the Chile Nativo website to several friends who are hoping to trek the “W” in the very near future.

Jackie K., USA

I can’t be more thrilled with the whole trip! Having Mauricio as a guide and the whole itinerary planned out was a great peace of mind and allowed me to really get the most out of the trip. The people I met and the memories I made are something I will never forget.

Jenna P., USA

Our trip was absolutely breathtaking. Any issues were quickly handled by our skilled guide, Armando. He was absolutely terrific. He quickly learned what kind of trekkers we were and adjusted his style accordingly. We were fascinated and impressed with his knowledge of the region and we loved it when he stopped to tell us about different plants/animals/native tribes/landscape, etc. Everything within the control of Chile Nativo was perfect.

Stu B., USA

To experience the W Trek with a native Patagonian guide was somewhat of a spiritual experience for me. Trekking in Patagonia was something I’ve wanted to do most of my 73 years on this planet and it finally happened! Thanks for making it possible.

Gardner S., USA

Very professional tour. Congratulations!

Andrea D., Italy

It was our first introduction to Chile and Patagonia and an experience that we’ll never forget. Excellent planning and great recommendations from the Chile Nativo staff for the entire trip (including the Perito Merino excursion), and as for the W, Pelin’s guiding was far above and beyond our expectations.

Jennifer Robson, USA

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