Travel

Wild mountains: heading into Chile's Torres del Paine

Known as the eighth wonder of the world, Torres del Paine is a beautiful spot far from the stresses of modern life, where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and adventure.Thursday, July 25, 2019

By Reserva Cerro Paine
Base Torres and view of the three towers.

Silver-grey mountains cleave the sky like needles, their reflections mirrored in electric blue lakes. This is the 700sq mile Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia— known for its huge steppes and jagged peaks. It’s an adventure lover’s paradise, popular with hikers, as well as travellers who just want a bit of headspace to watch the stars.

Those in the know make a beeline towards Reserva Cerro Paine, in the centre of the Torres del Paine National Park. It contains large parts of the famous O and W treks and is the perfect place to connect with the park’s heritage.

A boat trip to the Grey Glacier.

Reconnecting with nature 

In Torres del Paine, it’s always worth taking a moment to pause, and look up. There’s a chance of spotting a soaring condor — some with a wingspan of more than 10ft — flying overhead. 

Discover the beautiful Lake Pehoé, which sits in the centre of the national park. The views here are spectacular; from the turquoise blue waters of the lake itself to the heights of the Paine Grande mountain. Bordering the lake are the thundering Salto Grande falls, a powerful waterfall leading from Lake Nordenskjöld down into Lake Pehoé. Or experience the dazzling blue-grey of the Grey Glacier, the compelling sparkle of the ice making this a star attraction of the area.

Torres del Paine is one of the only places it’s possible to spot pumas in the wild — take a puma safari with trackers, driving out into the park and taking a short hike to try and see these beautiful animals.

 

Los Cuernos, in the heart of the W Circuit.

Pure adventure 

This is the heart of the mountains, which means the centre of adventure. It's possible to stay in refugios and campsites located on the W and O trek. The foot of the Paine Massif is a good starting point for guided tours with easy access to some of the park’s most famous trails.

From here it's possible to access the W and O Trek, including the Towers and the French Valley. The W is the park’s classic point-to-point trek: it takes four to five days to walk the 100km route, which has a high point of almost 3,000ft.

The French Valley is one of the world’s most beautiful routes, slung between the Paine Grande and the Los Cuernos Mountains, with the clear blue Pehoe, Nordenskjöld and Skottsberg Lake visible from the hike.

For a different perspective, saddle up and explore parts of the Cerro Paine Reserve on horseback, including the Ascencio Canyon. Book a horse ride or a spectacular trek to bring you closer to the Patagonian culture.

How to do it

Book an all-inclusive adventure which includes accommodation in a superior room at Hotel Las Torres; regular transfers to and from Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales or Calafate; a visit to Cerro Negro Ranch en route from Punta Arenas; entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park; all meals and an open bar; all excursions including navigations through Pehoé Lake in the French Valley; bi-lingual guides and a 20% discount in the spa.

Or book a package with Fantástico Sur, which has four refugios and five campsites on the W and O treks. This includes park entrance fees, transfers, camping and refuge accommodation, all meals and guided hiking. The huts located in the Cuernos Sector offer rooms for two people — sometimes three, subject to availability — with fully-made beds and towels. Every hut has firewood heating and shared bathrooms exclusively for the huts.

Essentials

Follow Hotel Las Torres on Instagram and Facebook.

Follow Fantástico Sur on Instagram and Facebook.

For more information on Reserva Cerro Paine visit their website here, and for accommodation options visit Hotel Las Torres and Fantástico Sur.

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