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Torres del Paine - Chile Travel Information

Photos from Torres del Paine

קרחון גריי (2002) Grey Glacier קרני פאיינה (2002) Cuernas del Paine קרחון גריי (2003) Grey Glacier קרני פאיינה (2003)
Cuernas del Paine אגם נורדנסקחולד (2002) Lago Nordenskjold המפל הגדול (2002) Salto Grande טורס דל פאיינה (2003)
Torres del Paine טורס דל פאיינה (2003)
Torres del Paine קרחון גריי (2003) Grey Glacier קרני פאיינה (2003)Cuernas del Paine העמק הצרפתי (French Valley)

(Parque Nacional Torres del Paine)

Torres del Paine is a national park in South Chile. The park is famous for its impressive rocks formations, especially for the Torres del Paine, a group of 3 giant granite towers. The park was created in 1959 and was announced as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1978.

The meaning of the word "Paine" is blue in the Tehuelche language - therefore the meaning of the name of the park is the blue towers.

The park has many lakes lying between white peaks, beautiful glaciers and rock formations such as Cuernas del Paine.

Getting to Torres del Paine

Most travelers get to the park from Puerto Natales, locate 150 km from the park, with one of the buses that operate on a regular basis.

A round ticket to the park should cost about 8,000 Pesos. Each bus company has several departures from and to the park.

The bus from Puerto Natales stops in 3 points - the park entrance (where you pay the entrance fee), the Pudeto catamaran dock on the southern part of Lago Pehoe and at the park's administration point. In these locations you can catch the bus back to Puerto Natales at the end of your trek.

Those who take the Torres del Paine circuit should get off the bus at the park entrance and from there, a vehicle will take them to the Torres del Paine camp, where the trek starts (the cost of this ride is 3,000 Pesos - 500 of it may be used as a discount for sleeping in the camp). Those who take the W trek from east to west should get off at the Pudeto dock, where they can catch a fast boat on Lago Pehoe at a cost of 9,000 Pesos (worth the time save). The boat leaves every two hours. While waiting for the boat you can visit the nearby big waterfall.

The W Trek

The W Trek is called so because when you look on it's route on the map it look like the letter W (how surprising is that?). It is possible to walk the W trail from east to west or from west to east.


Route

Those who begin from west- Get to Camp Pehoe by boat, leave all your belongings and go on a one-day hike to Grey Glacier. On the same day you return back to the camp to sleep.

On the second day, walk with all your equipment to the next stop - Campo Italiano, where you leave your stuff and climb to the French Valley view point and to Cuernas del Paine. At the end of the day you go down nack to the camp to sleep (sleeping in this camp is free of charge).

On the third day, walk along the lake until reaching Campo Torres del Paine.

The last day starts early, when you climb up to the view point on Torres del Paine (a long and difficult climb). By the end of the day, you should go back down to the camp, and catch the bus back to Puerto Natales.


Accommodation
  • Free of charge campsites:
    • Italian camp (Campamiento Italiano) at the French valley entrance
    • Torres camp (Campamiento Torres) beneath the Torees del Paine
    • Los Guardas camp (Campamiento los Guardas) near the Grey glacier
  • Campsites that requires payment (with toilets, showers and basic and expensive grocery shops):
    • Pehoe camp (Campamiento Pehoe) near the west boat dock
    • Gery camp (Campamiento Grey) near the Grey glacier
    • Los Torres camp (Campamiento Los Torres) at the trail's east entrance

  • Refugio:
    There are several Refugios In the park, which is a kind off basic hotel where you can sleep and even order meals. This way of accommodation is relativly expensive in comparision to the other methods (11,000 Pesos for one night, 6,000 Pesos for a meal) but it releaves you of the need to carry a tent and food.

Tips
  • It is recommended to climb to Torres del Paine with sleeping equipment in case the
    weather is not good, and to sleep in the camp beneath the Torres (Campamiento Torres).
    This camp is free of charge.
  • On the first day, you can sleep at Campamiento los Guardas (free of charge) near the
    Grey glacier instead of in Pehoe camp, and add a one day hike along the glacier - it
    is worthwhile! (only for good walkers).
  • A good tent saves money (no need to sleep in a refugio) and protects from rain!
  • Carry light and filling food on you - My favorites are Popcorn and noodle soup -
    light and tasty!

Costs

Entrance fee (updated for 2003) is 6,500 Pesos (about $10) per person.