A guide for you to have an adventure (and find peace) in Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Trekking, boat trips and horseback rides in one of the most beautiful national parks in Chile
What will the weather be like?
The first thing you need to know before visiting Chilean Patagonia is: it’s impossible to forecast the weather. It can rain, snow, be foggy and sunny in the same day – be sure to take this into consideration while packing!
The main local attraction, Torres del Paine National Park was named after its rock formations that resemble towers. But it has much more than just mountains and spectacular views. Colorful lagoons, icy lakes, glaciers and wild animals like pumas, guanacos (relatives of llamas) and flamingos comprise one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.
The gateway is the charming city of Puerto Natales, just 90 minutes from the park and a three-hour flight from Santiago. From there, buses, hotel shuttle vans and cars run to the park's entrance.
For those seeking plenty of comfort and practicality, the explora is the best bet. Located inside the park, at the edge of Lake Pehoé, it has a view of the massif from all of its settings. There, day trips, horseback riding, exclusive boats, dinners and alcoholic beverages are included in the daily rates. Every night, kind guides who have vast knowledge of the region decide what the following day's activity will be. Other good options include Hosteria Pehoé (also located inside the park), the hotel The Singular and the hostel The Singing Lamb (both in Puerto Natales).
Hikes and beautiful views
There are two main circuits in the park (W and O), trekking excursions that last up to eight days and require travelers to sleep in tents or lodges. But take it from us: while walking is mandatory to get to the most beautiful locales, Torres del Paine is not just a destination for trekking backpackers. Those who prefer lighter challenges can hike to the base of the towers or visit Laguna Amarga, located next to one of the park entrances.
One of Patagonia's postcard sights, the Grey Glacier slides down a mountain where dark brown blends with the white snow. In order to get up close, during the summer, a boat crosses the lake where the glacier flows, passing blue icebergs along the way.
To experience the region like a true gaucho, as the horse-riding locals are known, your best option is to hire a horseback excursion through the woods and pampas. Some hotels, like Estancia Cerro Guido, organize horseback tours even for people staying elsewhere.
Special thanks: Hotel explora, The Global Nomads, The North Face, Press Pass