Day 1: Hotel Glaciares, Puerto Natales, Chile. Arrive into Santiago's international airport where you will take an internal flight (approx. 4 hours) down to Punta Arenas on the Magellan Strait. There you will be met at the airport for your transfer up to Puerto Natales on the Last Hope Sound (roughly 3 hours), where you will have the rest of the afternoon free after a long day of traveling.
Day 2: Refugio Paine Grande, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Morning pick-up at the hostel for your 2-hour transfer into Torres del Paine National Park, designated a Unesco World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, being the home to at least 25 species of mammals, including guanacos, pumas and foxes, as well as more than 115 species of birds. You will see various lakes (Sarmiento, Nordenskjold, Pehoé), the famous North and South Towers and the more photographed Paine “Cuernos”, or Horns. At Pudeto, you will take a 30-minute catamaran across lake Pehoe to the Lodge Paine Grande for your first night in the park. Rest of the afternoon free to enjoy the clean air and majestic surroundings.
Day 3: Refugio Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Today will be an easy day of hiking, as you begin your trek by taking the western section of the "W", up the Grey Trail, along the lake to a lookout of the Grey Glacier. Your destination for the night is the Refugio Grey, between the Grey Glacier and Paine Grande, the tallest peak in the park at 3,050 meters, or 10,000 feet.
Day 4: Refugio Paine Grande, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Since today you will return to the Lodge Paine Grande, you will have time in the morning to hike farther up the Grey Trail at least to the Las Guardas Camp, 1.5 hours away, which is right on the edge of the Grey Glacier. Then you can take your time returning to the lodge, having your box lunch on the way.
Day 5: Refugio Los Cuernos, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Today will probably be your longest day of hiking in Torres del Paine, requiring an earlier start. You will head east, and then north along the shore of the Skottsberg lake, around Paine Grande and up into the Frenchman's Valley beginning at the Italian Camp. From here up to the British Camp is roughly 2.5 hours, and time allowing you can continue up to a lookout for a wonderful view of the valley. Then you will return down Frenchman's Valley heading east along the Lake Nordenskjold to the Refugio Los Cuernos for the night.
Day 6: Refugio Chileno, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. This morning after breakfast you will continue east along the Los Cuernos Pass Trail, right at the base of the famous Cuernos, or Horns. You will begin the eastern section of the "W" by heading north at the Inge Lagoon and up to the Refugio Chileno for a hot shower and a good meal.
Day 7: Refugio Torre Central, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Today you will experience the last section of the "W" by hiking up the Ascencio Valley and along the river of the same name, heading west around the Torres, or Towers to the Las Torres Base Camp by the lagoon, yielding the best views of the Towers in the park. After enjoying the silence and the magnificent granite massifs, you will return to the Refugio Torre Central, close to the Hosteria Las Torres, for your last night in the park.
Day 8: Hotel Plaza, Punta Arenas, Chile. After breakfast you will have a transfer back down to Punta Arenas, where you will have the rest of the afternoon free to relax and recuperate. We recommend visiting the main square. Legend has it that if you touch the toe of the Tehuelche statue there, you will return to Punta Arenas sometime in the future.
Day 9: Santiago/Home. This morning you will have a transfer from the hotel to the airport just outside of the city for your flight back to Santiago in time to make your international connection home, or to continue your vacation.
Recommended Packing List:
- Trekking backpack (60 L)
- Sleeping bag (for -15° C)
- Waterproof windbreaker
- Trekking shoes
- Tennis/Walking shoes
- Wool hat
- Extra socks (cotton)
- Trekking pants
- Goretex pants
- Polar jacket
- Flashlight w/batteries
- Lip protector
- Swiss knife
- Telescoping hiking sticks
- Personal first-aid kit
- Canteen/water vessel
- Camera (w/extra memory!).
- Departures: Daily (October through April)
- Tour In/Out: Santiago, Chile
- Airfare: Internal airfare included: Santiago - Punta Arenas - Santiago
- Meals: All breakfasts, plus box lunches and dinners inside Torres del Paine
- Accommodation: 1 night 3-star hotel in Puerto Natales, 6 nights shared dorm in Torres del Paine, 1 night 3-star hotel in Punta Arenas
- Difficulty: Medium (long day hikes carrying pack).
Also see tour packages in:
South America Chile Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking National Parks