I’ve visited Torres del Paine National Park twice, both times I was blown away by the breathtaking scenery of Patagonia. My first time was hiking the W-Trek in the end of winter, and my second time was by car in autumn.
Both times were so different, so this article is focusing on the W-trek, while my other article will cover the 2nd trip.
A 5 day hike through Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. Highlights of the trek include Glacier Grey, the French Valley with a hanging glacier, the Cuernos del Paine rock formation and hiking to the base of the Torres del Paine. If you’re lucky you will see Patagonian wildlife, such as condors, pumas, guanacos and foxes. I was lucky enough to see all 4 during my W-trek.
The hikes can be challenging, with the hardest being the hike to the base of the Torres. The weather can be difficult too, with high winds. However, it is super rewarding and full of stunning scenery. It is for anyone that loves beautiful landscapes, and the W-trek is one of the only ways to see all parts of the park.
So I did this trek through Chile Nativo. It was quite expensive at about $2000 AUD for the 5 day trek, which included transport, accomodation, a guide and food.
Accomodation in the park
From paid campsites, free campsites, cabins, or luxury hotels, there is a wide range of accomodation available in the park depending on your budget. The cabins and paid campsites are run by Fantastico Sur and Vertice, click on the links for their respective prices. Generally campsites start from around $15 AUD a night and bed in a cabin can cost from $60 AUD. Free campsites can be booked via Conaf, this system can sometimes be down so have patience and I’d recommend booking free campsites in advance. A luxury hotel will start from $500 AUD per night in Torres del Paine.
Take your printed reservation of campsites with you.
There are pros and cons to a paid W-Trek.
- Food provided and brought in
- Guide to ensure you know where you’re hiking
- Hot showers in the cabin
- A bed
- Less work on your end
- Solo travellers will be able to hike with a good group of people
- Equipment provided
- Useful in offseason, where you can be hit by bad weather
- Includes a boat trip
- Transport to and from the park
- Very expensive
- Can do it yourself for a fraction of the price, but with a little more effort on your end
- Less flexibility (we climbed to the base of the Torres on the worst day of our 5 day hike in terms of weather. Not a good idea. You can see the difference of a clear day vs a cloudy day as pictured further down)
If you do it yourself you just need to book and plan your trip with Conaf. Bring your own camping materials such as a tent, sleeping bag, stove and food.
Then find transport to Torres del Paine National Park from Puerto Natales (the nearby town). Some people hitchhike, use private transport or get a bus. You must then pay entry, of $21.000 Chilean pesos ($42 AUD) for foreigners.
The hikes are well marked and it is hard to get lost.
Should I go solo or with a tour?
Either way, you will really enjoy this trek. It is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. I recommend this to anyone who loves nature and trekking.
Just weigh up what is more important to your trip – comfort or sticking to a budget/keeping a little more adventurous.