Where to go

Torres del Paine

The most famous park in South America never fails to impress!

Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine

Arguably the most famous park in all of South America, the Torres del Paine National Park is a true mecca for those looking to experience the rugged nature of Chile’s Patagonia and to discover some of the continent’s best hiking. Reached through the “frontier” town of Punta Arenas, the national park lies right on the border between Chile and Argentina and features, as its centerpiece, a colossal granite outcrop of epic proportions! We tend to recommend at least 3 nights to explore the area, although many of the longer walks are up to a week.

Located approximately 150kms to the north of the small town of Puerto Natales, the Torres del Paine National Park is certainly one of the high points of any trip to Chile. Towering to 3,000m at their highest, the spires of this granite mount provide a worthy backdrop for any walk or activity in the area and, as such, the park is flocked to year round.

The main reason, as mentioned, that many come to the Torres del Paine is for the excellent walking, in particular the “W” and the “O” hiking circuits, so named for the rough shape that they trace in and around the main peaks. Starting at around 4 days these are certainly more appealing to those that are keen on taking their own accommodation. There are, however, quite a few alternative treks and paths that take you through puma territory (don’t worry, they don’t bite!), or into the hidden valleys, that don’t require specialist equipment and which provide as much gratification.

As the park is located so far to the south it is worth bearing in mind the seasons and when is best to come and visit. Please take a brief look at when is recommended and also when it is possible to avoid the crowds below:

September and October

One of the shoulder seasons for the Torres del Paine, this is a great time to visit as the temperature changes and the greenery starts to re-appear. Another good point worth bearing in mind is that, where Patagonia is renowned for its strong winds, the winds are at an ebb at this time and so it can make everything a little bit easier!

November and December

Certainly one of the most beautiful times to visit the park when the summer blooms are out in full and the temperatures are starting to hit their peak. It is also one of the windier and busier periods and so, on routes such as the “W” you can find that the paths are getting busy.

January and February

Without doubt the busiest period to visit the park and also one of the windiest. There is no doubt that, with longer daylight hours and good temperatures, it is a stunning time to visit…but you have to compromise a little on having the place to yourself.

March and April

Definitely our pick of the times to come to the Torres del Paine! As the winter starts to draw in, the temperature and visitor numbers fall. With the change in season the many lenga trees that cover the slopes and hills of the park all turn a multitude of colours, and the chilling winds subside. With the park your own to explore it feels like you are discovering it for the first time! (the only issue is that many of the hotels will close and so it is a matter of picking wisely).

When to go the Torres del Paine:

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  •   = Yes   = No   = Maybe

    At a glance…The Torres del Paine

    • Size: 1,810 sq km
    • Location: Southern Chilean Patagonia
    • Recommended time: 3 to 6 nights
    • Time to visit: July to April
    • Go here for: Nature and wildlife and walking

     

    Our top five hotel recommendations for Torres del Paine in 2017/18:

    1. Awasi Patagonia - backdrop

      Awasi Patagonia

      Awasi is one of a kind in this remote area and we think they got it right. First of all, you do get the impression from the management team that nothing is out of reach to make their guests happy. At the same time, the service and interaction is very informal. Staying somewhere like Awasi, means... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      5
    2. Dreams

      The Dreams heralds a new era of high end, luxury accommodation in Punta Arenas. Designed to cater for the large cruise ships of the Pacific and the smaller cruises around the Cape Horn, they have really thought of everything; stunning views, outstanding rooms, facilities and a casino. It is... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      3
      Price:
      4
    3. EcoCamp Patagonia

      Located on the ridge that overlooks the Hotel las Torres, the ecocamp is a quirky and interesting property to stay in while visiting this stunning park. Each of the domed rooms offers a warm and intimate place to escape from the ravages of the Patagonian weather and the perfect base to use while... More...

      Our rating:
      3
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      3
    4. Explora Patagonia

      Explora Patagonia

      Once the only option in and around the Torres del Paine, the Explora has long led the way in this area as far as views, service, food, accommodation, activities, guiding, facilities…etc, etc goes! Today, however, with the arrival of the Tierra and Awasi properties, the crown has been wobbling a... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      5
    5. Hotel Cabo de Hornos

      Hotel Cabo de Hornos

      Arguably knocked off the top spot of the hotels in town by Dreams, the Cabo de Hornos is still worthy of consideration. Located right on the main square of the town, it harks back to the time when Punta Arenas was the capital of the "white gold" rush. A converted, Parisian-styled house, the hotel... More...

      Our rating:
      3
      User rating:
      3
      Price:
      4

    Our recommended top travel itineraries for Torres del Paine in 2017/18: