Very Hungry Nomads National Park Torres del Paine me

This ultimate guide for the National Park Torres del Paine aims to ignite your wanderlust and provide you with all the knowledge to make the most of your visit here.

I recently travelled to Torres Del Paine and was blown away by the sheer beauty.

But I admit I didn’t know a few things that would have helped me better plan my time and visit here. 

This post covers all practical information if you are planning to travel to Chile and visit the National Park Torres de Paine.

I will explain what your options are here, from day tours, self-drive, day hikes or the famous 5-day long W-Trek.

So lace up your hiking boots (or not) and let me start with some of the most common questions about Torres del Paine National Park.

Let’s get started. 

What makes Torres del Paine National Park a must-visit destination?

Where do I even begin?

Before I visited, I was told by my friends that this was one of the most beautiful places they had seen and trekking here was simply breathtaking. They were right.

I’ve visited Patagonia in Argentina and have seen the stunning fjords in Norway or the Swiss Alps and the Himalayas, yet there is no doubt that National Park Torres del Paine took my breath away. 

The landscapes were ever-changing and the dominant granite peaks were covered in glaciers and the clouds would move across them rapidly.

There was a combination of wildflowers and lakes that just made the whole experience so special. And not to forget that the park is so remote, yes, it’s on the bottom of the world.

Very Hungry Nomads National Park Torres del Paine landscapes

How do you get to the National Park Torres del Paine in Chile? 

Torres del Paine National Park is located in the southern part of Chile. The closest town is Puerto Natales which has an airport or you can arrive here by bus.

Many travellers make the bus journey from El Calafate in Argentina (You can visit the amazing Perito Moreno Glacier here) across the Andes and arrive here at the central bus station. 

You can fly to Puerto Natales from Santiago de Chile, the capital city that serves as the main connection for international travellers.

The flight between Santiago de Chile and Puerto Natales is 3 hours. Or you can also fly to Puerto Montt in the Lakes District, this flight takes 2 hours.

Puerto Natales Chile
Puerto Natales in Chile is the closest town to Torres del Paine

To check flight prices, I recommend comparing them and booking on Skyscanner.

Puerto Natales has a range of accommodations, supermarkets and restaurants. 

We recommend staying at the Vinnhaus Hotel in the city centre or booking a dorm bed at Hostal Rufus if you’re travelling on a budget.

To get from Puerto Natales to the National Park Torres del Paine, you simply take the public bus. The journey takes about 1 hour, and the ticket costs 15 USD.

If you choose a tour (day tour or multi-day hikes, see more below) your transport will be organised.

Finally, you can also choose to rent a car and self-drive here.

Chile is a long country and if you are looking for other places to visit, do check out my other blog on the best places in Chile.

Very Hungry Nomads National Park Torres del Paine landscapes
Summer in Torres del Paine

What is the best time to visit the National Park Torres del Paine?

The best time to visit Torres del Paine National Park in Chile is during the prime tourist season from late spring to early autumn, roughly from October to April. During this period, the weather is relatively mild, and the days are longer, providing more daylight for hiking. 

Spring (October to November) and Autumn (March to April) offer pleasant temperatures, blooming landscapes, and fewer crowds. 

Summer (December to February) is the high season, attracting more visitors with warmer temperatures, but it also brings larger crowds. 

Winter (May to September) is the low season, characterised by colder temperatures and some services being closed.

Hikers might prefer the shoulder seasons to balance favourable weather conditions and fewer tourists. At the same time, those seeking warmer temperatures and vibrant flora might opt for the summer months despite the higher visitor numbers. 

Please don’t forget that you are at the bottom of Chile, and even during the summer, the days are not as hot, and nights are still cold—something to consider if you are hiking for 5 days.

Beautiful scenery Torres del Paine

These are the average temperatures in Torres del Paine National Park across seasons. Keep in mind that these are approximate values, and temperatures can fluctuate.

  • Spring (October to November): Shoulder Season 
    • Celsius: 2°C to 12°C
    • Fahrenheit: 36°F to 54°F
  • Summer (December to February): High Season 
    • Celsius: 8°C to 18°C
    • Fahrenheit: 46°F to 64°F
  • Autumn (March to April): Shoulder Season
    • Celsius: 2°C to 12°C
    • Fahrenheit: 36°F to 54°F
  • Winter (May to September): Off Season 
    • Celsius: -2°C to 5°C
    • Fahrenheit: 28°F to 41°F

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Landscapes at Torres del Paine park

What are the entry requirements, including park fees and permits for National Park Torres del Paine?

Park Fees for National Park Torres del Paine

  • Visitors to Torres del Paine National Park are required to pay an entrance fee. The fee structure may vary for international visitors and Chilean residents.
  • The cost of entry to Torres National Park for foreign visitors is 35 USD (31,200 CLP) for 2 days or 49 USD (44,500 CLP) for 5 days, and you can buy it online here
  • You can pay for your parking permit online before you visit the park or at the entrance, but please note that cash is NOT accepted here, only cards.

Permits for Trekking:

  • You don’t need any additional permits for trekking inside the National Park Torres del Paine National Park, just the entry fee.
Torres del Paine bird

Accommodation Reservations for National Park Torres del Paine National Park

  • If you plan to stay in refugios (mountain lodges) or campsites within the park, you should make reservations in advance and early. is the best website to do so. Some areas have limited accommodations, especially during peak months, so booking ahead ensures availability. You can usually book accommodation when it is released in May or early June before the season.
  • If you are booking a tour with a hiking company, they usually take care of these. 
  • There are multiple options from simple campsites with preset tents on the ground or wooden platforms, premium camping, refugios which are mountain huts with multiple beds inside, dorm style.
  • You can also pre-book dinners/breakfast and packed lunch from campsites.
At the entrance of Torres del Paine
At the entrance of Torres del Paine

What is the W-Trek in Torres del Paine National Park?

The famous trek is named after the W-shape it forms on a map, the trekking route goes along the base of the iconic mountains before heading into the French Valley (Valle Francés ) at the very centre of the park. 

Here are 4 different ways to visit National Park Torres del Paine

1. Day Tour from Puerto Natales:

One of the easiest ways to visit and see Torres del Paine is to book a day tour. You can do so in the town at a local agency, or to make sure you’re able to on your desired date, you can pre-book it online.

The Day Tour from Puerto Natales is the perfect way to see the park for those short on time or those who prefer not to hike.

You will be picked up at your hotel and the van will take you into Torres National Park. 

You’ll have a knowledgeable tour guide who will explain more about the park, the geology and some stories from the past. But it really is more about seeing the Torres del Paine National Park from different perspectives, with multiple photo stops and a break for lunch (best to bring your own or at least some snacks).

You will drive across the park surrounded by panoramic views of the Paine Massif and watch the granite towers grow, you get to see the different lakes and also stop at Salto Grande, a stunning waterfall. These locations offer picturesque landscapes accessible with moderate physical effort.

Finally, you will visit the Milodon Cave; you must pay for the entrance here, which is approximately 11 USD.

You could choose to hire a car in Puerto Natales or at the airport and do this as a self-drive adventure, too, but the day tour makes it easier and ensures that you get to see all the highlights. 

Day tour to Torres del Paine views

2. Day Hike on the W Trek:

For the spirited day-tripper craving a more immersive experience, consider conquering a segment of the renowned W Trek on an organised 1 Day hike.

Again, this is the perfect option for someone who is either short of time or fit enough but not keen on a multi-day hike for 5 days.

You can book directly in town at one of the many travel agencies or secure your place online beforehand.

We recommend this day tour below that takes you in for a part of the W trek hike.

Puerto Natales: Base of the Towers Trekking Experience – The Base of the Towers viewpoint is one of the most popular hikes. Trek through Chilean Patagonia’s most iconic and beautiful places. Hike along the most-hiked path in Torres del Paine National Park and be mesmerised by the Patagonian scenery.

3. Opting Out for the Full 5-Day W Trek:

For those who are looking for an exciting outdoor adventure and have a few days to spare, the complete W Trek is the perfect choice.

Now, you must be physically fit and have suitable clothing and good hiking shoes. You can hire any extra hiking gear in town. Several hostels and small shops rent gear for reasonable prices.

The W-shaped circuit in the park is the most iconic.

From Glacier Grey to the striking French Valley, each day presents a new spectacle. You embark on a journey that surpasses the ordinary, and you can hike it in either direction as you marvel at the beauty of the granite peaks.

Hiking in Torres del Paine

How tough is the W trek?

The distance of the W Trek is approximately 88.5 km (55 miles) long. The elevation of the trek reaches 850 metres (2789 feet), but you tend to hike up and down, so don’t underestimate this trek. The good news is that the paths are well-maintained and well-signposted. 

The hike is easier than say hiking the Everest Base Camp hike but the biggest challenge is the strong wind and the unpredictable weather that Torres del Paine National Park is known for.

The W-trek can be done as an organised tour where they will bring you into the park and from there you start hiking as a group, with meals and refugios also included.

This is also the only option if you are trying to hike the famous W trek and refugios are already booked out; you can do the hike with a tour company that still has places available.

It’s important to note, that you can do the hike on your own as well, but please don’t come unprepared.

Ensure you have your refugios booked; you have all the correct hiking gear and enough food. You can catch the public bus to the Torres de Paine National Park and start your hike independently.

The W Trek in Torres del Paine is renowned for its stunning vistas and iconic lookouts.

Here are three highlights of the W Trek, along with the related lookouts and the breathtaking sights they offer:

Mirador Base Torres (Base Torres Lookout):

The trek to Mirador Base Torres is a highlight of the W Trek, leading to a viewpoint that reveals the majestic granite spires known as the Towers of Paine.

As you reach the lookout, you’ll witness the awe-inspiring sight of these towering rock formations, often surrounded by glacial lakes, creating a picturesque and dramatic landscape.

Valle del Francés (French Valley):

The Valle del Francés is a scenic valley along the W Trek, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to vistas of hanging glaciers, including the impressive Glaciar Francés.

The French Valley lookout, surrounded by the rugged peaks of the Paine Massif, provides an immersive experience.

The views of the granite peaks Torres del Paine

Mirador Grey (Grey Glacier Lookout):

The Mirador Grey marks the final stretch of the W Trek and offers a stunning perspective of the Grey Glacier.

As you stand at the lookout, you’ll be captivated by the glacier’s size, its blue hues contrasting with the surrounding mountains and the glacial lake below. This lookout provides a breathtaking conclusion to the W Trek, showcasing the pristine beauty of Patagonia’s glacial landscapes.

Cost of hiking W Trek with a tour company vs doing it yourself independently

If you are planning to do the trek independently, these are some of the costs:

  • Return bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park – 15 USD
  • Entrance fee for the park – 49 USD
  • One-way ferry (you will need this from Puerto de Paine Grande Ranger Station) 40 USD
  • Campsites 12-35 USD per person in a basic tent based on twin share
  • Food – allow a minimum of 100 USD for the 5 days
Bus schedule
Bus schedule to and from the park

4. The Epic O Trek 6-10 Days (119 km or 74 miles)

For the absolute and ultimate pilgrimage into the heart of Patagonia, the O Trek is an unrivalled expedition. And for some who have done the W-Trek, this is often the reason to return to National Park Torres del Paine.

A seven-eight-day odyssey, the O Trek takes in the entire W Trek while venturing further into the untouched parts of the outer circuit.

You’ll cross lush forests, and mountain passes, and stand in awe before the colossal peaks. 

Why should you choose O Trek instead of W Trek? 

If you are an avid hiker who enjoys multi-day treks or if you prefer to see part of the Torres del Paine National Park with fewer tourists, the O trek is the right choice for you. 

Amazing beauty Torres del Paine

Final Thoughts on this guide for National Park Torres del Paine

Undoubtedly, Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most beautiful places to see in Chile and the world.

And now you know all the options and costs to visit Torres del Paine depending on your available time and hiking abilities.

If you have questions about visiting Torres del Paine, drop them in the comments below. 

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