In 2019, we decided to do a road trip through South America. One of our top destinations and goals of the trip was to reach Torres del Paine National Park. Torres del Paine National Park is in Chilean Patagonia, it has out of this world scenery. You will find glaciers, lakes, rivers and amazing granite rock formations. The park is also home to an abundance of wildlife, such as condors, foxes, guanacos and pumas.
The first time I visited Torres del Paine, I hiked it with a tour and did the W-trek in winter. You can see my experience on this here.
This time, we did it on a budget, with our own private vehicle. Honestly, I loved doing it this way and would recommend anyone who wants to see Torres del Paine on a budget to do it like this.
We had converted our car to have a bed in the back, so we spent nothing on accomodation. We brought in all our own food, which is a must if you want to avoid overpriced food in the park.
There is no need to bring in water as the water in this park is one of the freshest in the world. Bring some bottles and fill it up at any running river, the water is clear, chilled and delicious.
All you need to pay is the park entrance fee of $21.000 Chilean pesos ($42 AUD) in off season, or $25.000 Chilean pesos ($50 AUD) in peak season. You can stay for a few days after paying this fee, no one usually checks your ticket once you are in.
Pros of seeing the park by car
- Driving Torres del Paine is super convenient
- You can drive to all the major sites of the park & you have transport in and out
- More flexibility with waiting for a clear day to hike (tours and the W-trek or O-trek run on a schedule that is hard to change)
- Easier to do on a budget
- Some parts of the park are only accessible on foot, by reserving campsites and doing the W-trek or O-trek
- Bumpy roads
If you like hiking, but want a little more comfort with a car, this way is definitely for you! There are some paths that are only available if you do the W-trek or O-trek, but by car we saw:
- Glacier grey
- Cuernos del Paine
- Condor lookout
- Salto Chico & Salto Grande (beautiful waterfalls)
- Base of the Torres (18km round trip, 8-9 hours)
- Lake Toro
- Start the hike to the base of the Torres early! I suggest starting before sunrise to arrive at the best time of day and before the crowds
- In a car you can sleep at any place with public bathrooms: we stayed at Centro de Visitantes y Sede Administrativa and the information centre near the base of the Torres
- Do not attempt the base of the Torres hike in bad weather, it is worth waiting around for a clear day otherwise you could risk hiking the whole way and not seeing the Torres
This was one of the highlights of our whole trip. I would put Torres del Paine as one of our number one places to see in Chile.