Journeys worth taking

Tores del Paine, Chile

W-Trek from West to East
See the sunrise at the towers

Epic journeys

West to East in Refugios & Full Board

Lodging

Refugios

Nights

4 nights

Trip Details

Self Guided

Price

$725 USD

Transport

Your Feet

Pygmy miles

1,386

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

Desolate, unforgiving yet beatiful and serene - Patagonia has mystified explorers since the days of Magellan. It only makes sense to use our own power to explore this pristine wildnerness.

On this journey, you will hike 5 days through Torres del Paine, along the W Trek. In total, you will hike 76 km and see the most famous formations of the Paine Mastif. You will see icebergs on Lago Grey, Glaciers in Valle del Frances and marvel at the milky blue water of Lago Nordenskjold. Perhaps the most stunning natural formation of all is saved for the last day - the towers of Paine. You will need stamina and resolve to tackle the hardest part of the W-Trek to see the Towers bask in the morning's golden light.  

Pygmy Elephant has worked with several refugios operators, transfer companies and local guides to create this itinerary which is locally supported. This trip includes a Price Transparency guarantee. 

You will need stamina and resolve to trek the hardest part of the route to reach the towers

Activities

Trekking

Trek one of the most famous and beautiful hiking routes in the world.

Wildlife Viewing

You may see Guanaco, Rheas (a large ostrich like bird), South Andean Deer or Foxes on your visit to Torres del Paine.

Boat

Glide across the waters of Lago Pehoe in a Catamaran.

Gastronomy

Drink a Pisco Sour made from the ice of Glacier Grey.

And also

  • See the towers at sunrise - a powerful, almost spiritual, experience. 
  • Stay in local refugios that offer a chance to connect with travelers of a similar spirit. 
  • Several optional add ons including massages, kayaking and glacier trekking. Further arrangements to El Calafate in Argentina can be made. 

 

Place

Torres del Paine is a national park in the Chiliean part of southern patagonia. The park is located 70 miles (112 km) south of Puerto Natales and 194 miles (312 km) from Punta Arenas, the larges city in the region and where most travelers arrive into. The peaks of the Paine Massif, the center piece of the park, reach up to 9,462 ft (2,884 mt). Several different species of wildlife can be found in Torres del Paine including Guanaco, Rheas (a large ostrich like bird), South Andean Deer and Foxes.  The weather is unpredictable and its often possible to experience four seasons in a single day. Especially remarkable is when snow that is produced above the mountains is pushed down to lower altitude, where the temperature is warm enough for a t-shirt. Quite a rare experience. 

Itinerary

Track

Itinerary

Day-1

Transfer, Catamaran and short hike (3.5 to 4.5 hours - 7 miles)

Depart at 7:30 am by Bus to Torres del Paine national park. The trip takes approximately 3 hours and there are plenty of chances to spot wildlife along the way. Arrive at administration and receive park briefing. Continue to Lago Pehoe and board the catamaran. The boat trip lasts 30 minutes. You arrive at Paine Grande and begin your 3.5 hour trek to your first night of accommodation at Refugio Grey. At 5 pm, there is the option to go kayaking on Lago Grey to witness the icebergs up close and personal ($85 USD per person). If you do, please note that there is no time to delay once departing the Catamaran. (Bus from Puerto Natales, Catamaran and Dinner included)

Day-2

Refugio Grey to Dome Frances (7.5 to 10 hours - 13.5 miles)

Today you will head back along Lago Grey. After 4 hours, you will reach Paine Grande, a good place to rest and have a bit to eat. You will then head up and around the side of Lago Pehoe and then pass above the shimmering Lago Skottsberg. The terrain is undulating, but relatively easy to handle. You will then pass by Campamento Italiano (2.5 to 3 hours) and in 1.5 hours you will reach Dome Frances, a newly built refugio with 8 person domes that include personal outlets and reading lights. The view over Lago Nordenskjold is spectacular. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)

For the adventurous, an Ice Hike at 8 am on Day 2 is possible (extra cost of $135 per person). Instead of hiking all the way to Domos Frances, you will overnight in Paine Grande.

Day-3

Domos Frances - Mirador Britanico - Domos Frances or Los Cuernos Refugio (10 to 12 hours - 11.5 miles)

Today you will hike into Valley Frances. This hike is more challenging than either of the first two days. Luckily, you can leave your pack at Domos Frances. It take about 2.5 hours to reach the first lookout, high above Lago Nordenskjold. On your left hand side you will see Glacier Frances, where frequent small avalanches take place. The noise booms throughout the valley, although the ice that breaks away seems much smaller than it should considering the noise. After ducking in and out of the forest, with sporadic views of Rio Frances below, you will eventually reach Campemento Britanico. In another 25 minutes, you will reach the lookout point, which is a highlight of the trek. Return via the same track. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Choice of overnight again at Domos Frances or continue on to Los Cuernos where private cabins are available (extra cost $40 per person, based on double occupancy).

If you chose to do the Ice Hike on Day 2, you will overnight in Domos Frances.

Day-4

Domos Frances or Los Cuernos Refugio to Refugio Chileno (7 to 10 hours - 11 to 13.5 miles)

After yesterday's difficult hike, today starts off much easier. After leaving Domos Frances, you hike along the beach of Lago Nordenskjold, where the mighty Los Cuernos opens up to your left. After a brief refueling stop at Refugio Los Cuernos, continue another 7 miles watching as the might Paine Massif unfolds to your left hand side. Halfway through you will have the opportunity to take a shortcut that goes directly to Refugio Chileno, which knocks off 2 to 3 hours from your journey, or your can continue on to Hotel Los Torres for one of the better lunches available along the trek. From Hotel Los Torres, its a 2 hour uphill slog skirting Rio Ascencia to reach Refugio Chileno. (Breakfast, Dinner - recommendation to have lunch at Hotel Los Torres)

Day-5

Refugio Chileno - Mirador Base Las Torres - Hotel Las Torres (6 to 7 hours - 8.5 miles)

A highlight of the trip, you will need to wake up at least 3 hours before sunrise (ask for sunrise times when you inquire). It's also the most difficult hike of the W Trek. You will need to do a bit of light scrambling up some rocky areas and if its been raining (which it does a lot), then things can get very slippery. Take your time, travel with a hiking partner and bring a flashlight. But it's all worth it once you reach the towers. The morning hues of purple, pink and blue paint the three towers in a fantastic light. A tip: Bring a sleeping bag up to the top so you can stay warm - the weather is especially brutal up here. After seeing the towers, head back to Refugio Chileno for breakfast and then down to Hotel Las Torres. From here you will catch an internal bus (2,500 CLP) to reach Laguna Amaraga and the bus that will take you back to Puerto Natales. (Breakfast - Recommendation to have lunch at Hotel Los Torres)

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Motorized Vehicle
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
725pygmy miles

Base sustainability

Traveling in Patagonia requires a certain level of responsibility. By visiting the park and learning of leave no trace and fire prevention, you will help with conservation efforts to keep the park pristine for future travelers. Many of the refugios inside the park source electricity from off the grid methods and have implemented many green initiatives.

480pygmy miles

Hiking distance

For every mile that you hike, you will receive 10 pygmy miles. Specifically you will receive 480 Pygmy Miles for hiking 48 miles in 5 days.

181pygmy miles

See the sunrise

We believe in spicing things up during a trip. Conquer a challenge or two. If you can wake up (as early as 3:30 am) and make the trek to see the towers during sunrise, we will award you with 250 Pygmy Miles. Take a picture and sent it to us after your trip as proof and will credit your account.

Total Pygmy Miles

1386pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

1st Night: Refugio Grey

Torres del Paine

One of the newest refugios, the lounge area in Refugio Grey is one of the nicest of the whole trek. Wood floors, comfortable leather couches and a bar that will serve you a pisco sour using ice from Glacier grey. The rooms are 4 to 6 people coed dorms with shared bathrooms with a total capacity of 60 people. Camping facilities available as well. If your muscles are aching, there is also a massage therapist on staff.

Paine Grande

Torres del Paine

Paine Grande is located at the drop off point of the Catamaran on Lago Pehoe. The building can accommodate 100 hikers in 22 dormitory rooms with bunks for 6, 4 and 2 people. The refugio has a restaurant, bar, lounge and shop with camping supplies. This refugio is a good overnight option if you choose to do an Ice Hike early on Day 2.

Campamento Italiano

Torres Del Paine

Free Camping site with limited facilities. There are toilets, but no showers available, and a small warming hut.

2nd Night: Dome Frances

Torres del Paine

Domo Frances is located approximately an hour west of Refugio Los Cuernos. It features 3 recently constructed domes with private bathroom for 8 people each (shared bathroom and dome). A nice feature of the domes are individual outlets and reading lights attached to each bunk. Also, the view of Lago Nordenskjold is perhaps the best view from any of the refugios.
Services available: Breakfast, Packed lunch and dinner.

3rd Night: Refugio Los Cuernos

Torres Del Paine

Probably the most popular and busy of all the refugios, Los Cuernos is located not from the beach of Lago Nordenskjold. It has a a capacity of 36 people - 4 shared-mixed dorms for 8 people each (3 bunk beds in each room). Dinner is served at communal tables in two shifts. For hikers looking for private accommodation, there are 8 double cabins that also provide access to a hot tub. There are also camping pitches available here. All bathrooms are shared by guests in that category. Meaning, Cabin guests share a bathroom with other cabin guests, refugio guests share with refugio guests and campers share with other campers.

4th Night: Refugio Chileno

Torres del Paine

Located 2.5 hours from the base of the towers and 2 hours from Hotel Torres, Refugio Chileno is ideally located for those that would like to see the towers at sunrise, yet would like some creature comfort as well. The food is surprisingly good and there is quite a bit of it. There is capacity in the refugio for 32 people (4 shared and mixed dorms of 8 people each) and plenty more camping spots.

Campamento Torres

Torres del Paine

Free Camping site with limited facilities. There are toilets, but no showers available, and a small warming hut.

Eco Camp Patagonia

Torres Del Paine

For guests that would like more comfort and a unique overnight experience in private rooms, Eco Camp Patagonia can replace Refugio Chileno in the itinerary for $90 per guest (based on double occupancy) . Guests can fall asleep looking up at the star-lit sky from their cozy bed and wonder at nature’s immensity as they hear the wind hurtling outisde. Each Superior Dome has comfortable queen-size or twin beds, a propane heater and a private bathroom with a sophisticated composting toilet. Electricity is very limited inside the domes, meaning hairdryers are not permitted, but laptops and cameras can be charged.
Read more

Remota

Puerto Natales

Before or after the W-Trek, Remota is an up scale option located on the proximity of Puerto Natales. One additional night is $350 per room (Bed and Breakfast). All Remota's rooms invite guests to rest body and soul. The relaxing aroma of the lenga wood together with the light radiating from the heat reflecting windows and the magnificent views to the fjord of Last Hope are the perfect setting for perfect comfort. Remota offers 72 wonderfully appointed, spacious rooms. All en-suite that measure 34m2 / 360 ft2 .
Read more

Practical info

Inclusions and Exclusions

Price for one traveler (no single supplement) $725 USD

 

This trip includes:
  • Local support and briefing in Puerto Natales
  • Round trip bus transfer from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine
  • 4 Night accommodation in refugios (from 4 to 8 people). 
  • 4 dinners, 4 breakfasts and 5 box lunches. 
  • Catamaran across Lago Pehoe
  • Consultation, packing and preparation support.
This trip does not include:
  • Guide
  • Torres del Paine Entrance fee (about 22 USD)
  • Internal Transfer to Lake Amaraga (about 3.50 USD)
  • Incidentals
  • Any alcohol
  • We suggest adding travel insurance. We can provide you with a quote as well.

Service Categories

Pygmy Itineraries

This is a Pygmy Elephant itinerary and can be altered to meet your needs. For example, private transfers and upgrades to private rooms or we can arrange ice hikes / kayaking. Or maybe you want to sleep in a tent one night. No problem, will find you the campsite and the tent. We can even arrange for transfers to / from Punta Arenas and El Calafate in Argentina (see Perito Moreno glacier!).

Pygmy Elephant also provides: 

  • Pre-departure support: what to pack, arranging travel insurance and informing on travel advisories
  • 24 hour customer service: if something goes wrong, we have your back
  • Price Transparency: We will breakdown the price so you know where your money is going
  • Pygmy Miles: receive discounts off future travel

When

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec
not available
average
optimal

Most people complete the trek during the spring through fall months (however it is possible to complete the trek in winter, but a guide is recommended). Peak travel is in January and February. Expect rain almost daily, along with sun, along with possible snow and high wind. In fact, just expect all four seasons in one day.

How

Self guided

This is a self guided itinerary. But, we can also arrange private guides - let us know in your inquiry if you are interested in having a guide.

Challenges Levels

Technical Ability

Level : Medium

Mental Strength

Level : Medium

Physical Conditioning

Level : Medium

  • Path is well marked, however previous hiking experience recommended as terrain is rocky and uneven. Those without experience may be more comfortable in a guided hike.
  • Mental strength is rated at medium because of lack of creature comforts, snoring from fellow guests (bring earplugs!) and waking early for the ascent to the towers.
  • The hiking is challenging, however only treks into Valle del Frances and to the towers have much elevation change. Only those in good physical health should book this trip. 

Talk to our Adventure Expert

Our Managing Director, Andrew, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.