Destination guide: Torres del Paine, Chile
The Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most visited destinations in Chile, especially by European tourists. This natural site belongs to the Chilean National System of Protected Wild Areas and has everything from mountains, valleys and forests to rivers, lakes and glaciers. It is worth pointing out that this natural attraction was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Check out our offers on trips to Torres del Paine and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
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Torres del Paine - Things to do
Cueva del Milodon
In the 1890s German pioneer Hermann Eberhard discovered the partial remains of an enormous ground sloth in a cave 25km northwest of Puerto Natales. The slow-moving, herbivorous milodón, which stood nearly 4m tall, was supposedly the motivating factor behind Bruce Chatwin’s book In Patagonia. The 30m-high Cueva del Milodón pays homage to its former inhabitant with a life-size plastic replica of the animal. It’s not exactly tasteful, but still worth a stop, whether to appreciate the grand setting and ruminate over its wild past or to take an easy walk up to a lookout point. Camping (no fires) and picnicking are possible. In February the cave hosts a cinema festival.
Pricing: Admission CH$4000
Address: Southern Patagonia
Surrounded by tranquil fjords and looming mountains, the original homestead and estancia (estate) in the region, Eberhard Ranch, is impossibly scenic and gives a taste of the workaday area. You can see the gauchos as they work - it's not a tourist show, but real work, which includes the slaughter of sheep (you've been warned!) To arrange a visit contact Estancia Travel in Puerto Natales.
Telephone: +54 61 412 221
Address: Southern Patagonia
Puerto Natales' museum has natural history items (mostly stuffed animals), archaeological artefacts such as stone and whalebone arrowheads and spear points, plus a Yahgan canoe, Tehuelche bolas and historical photographs of the town's development.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 08:30-12:30 & 14:30-18:00
Address: Manuel Bulnes 285, Puerto Natales
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine
Soaring almost vertically to nearly 3000m above the Patagonian steppe, the Torres del Paine (Towers of Paine) are spectacular granite pillars that dominate the landscape of what may be South America’s finest national park.
Pricing: High/low season in Chilean pesos only CH$15,000/5000
Hosteria Las Torres
Constantly expanding and now adding a new reception with a magnificent view of Las Torres, this hostería is a luxurious choice just 7km west of Guardería Laguna Amarga. The wings of the hotel are all interconnected by spacious living rooms with grand fireplaces. On one end of the hotel is an interesting and educational interpretive center about the park, while the other end has an excellent restaurant. The spa has a sauna and Jacuzzi, and offers massages and many revitalizing treatments.
Unless you are arriving in the winter (when most places are closed), you need to book ahead. Arriving at the park without reservations, especially in January or February, means you may be stuck without a place to stay.
Address : Magallanes 960, Punta Arenas, Torres del Paine Area
Strutting with style, Torres del Paine’s most sophisticated (and expensive) digs sit perched above the Salto Chico waterfall at the outlet of Lago Pehoé. Rates include airport transfers, full gourmet meals and a wide variety of excursions led by young, affable, bilingual guides. Views of the entire Paine massif pour forth from every inch of the hotel. But is it worth shelling out? Before you decide, check out the spa with heated lap pool, sauna, massage rooms and open-air Jacuzzi.
Pricing: Per person 4 nights incl full board & transfers CH$1,345,000
Posada Rio Serrano
Restored but still rustic, this rambling 19th-century ranch house has 13 rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a cozy living room focused on a fireplace. It’s a popular base camp for horseback riding (arranged through the same company, Baqueano Zamora, that owns the posada) and fishing trips to nearby lakes and rivers.
Pricing: dm CH$21,000, d with/without bathroom CH$75,000/55,000
Telephone : +56 61 613531
Refugio Mountain Lodge Paine Grande
Vertices Patagonia owns and runs Refugio Mountain Lodge Paine Grande. It has individual rooms with four to eight bunk beds, kitchen privileges (during specific hours and for lodgers only), meals and hot showers. If a refugio is overbooked the staff should be able to provide all necessary camping equipment. Most refugios close by the end of April but Mountain Lodge Paine Grande stays open year-round - although it has very limited operations.
They also have hot showers and small stores selling expensive pasta, soup packets and butane gas. Mice have become a problem at many campgrounds; hang food from trees to avoid packs and tents from being chewed through. Some refugios may require photo ID (ie a passport) upon check-in - ask about this while booking to avoid having to pay twice for a reservation. Once checked in, staff can radio ahead to confirm your next reservation. Patience is also important. Campsite and refugio staff do their best to deal with the intense flow of trekkers, but can't meet everyone's expectations. Given the rates, however, you would think that they could hire some extra hands.
Price range : Low
Address: Valle Frances Area
Direccion de fronteras y limites
Climbers intending to scale border peaks like the Pallachatas or Ojos del Salado must have permission from Chile’s Dirección de Fronteras y Límites. It’s possible to request permission prior to arriving in Chile; a request form can be accessed on the agency’s website.
Sub-Type: Booking Service
Adress:Bandera 52, Santiago
Erratic Rock holds an excellent information session every day at 3pm; go for solid advice on everything from trail conditions to camping. Travelers can also rent equipment onsite.
Address: Baquedano 719, Puerto Natales.
Address: Baquedano 719, Puerto Natales