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

Hotel, Refugios

Nights

4 nights

Trip Details

Self-Guided

Price

$1,550 USD

Transport

Private Transport

Pygmy miles

2,211

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 Grey.

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. 

Optional Extensions:

  • 1 day extensions for Ice Hiking, Kayaking or Horseback riding
  • 2 day extension to Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate
  • 5 day extension of Argentina - includes Perito Moreno Glacier and hiking to Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy in El Chalten 

 

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 to Torres del Paine

You will be picked up at Puerto Natales airport and transferred via private shuttle to Hotel Lago Grey in Torres del Paine National Park (we can also pick-up from Punta Arenas or El Calafate). The trip takes approximately two hours and there are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way. You have the rest of the day and evening to enjoy Hotel Lago Grey. (Overnight at Hotel Lago Grey)

Day-2

Refugio Grey to Dome Frances (6.5 hours - 13.5 miles)

After breakfast, glide across the waters of Lago Grey on your catamaran. Once you reach Refugio Grey, you will disembark and start your hike along the lake’s shore. 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, Dinner)

Day-3

Domos Frances - Mirador Britanico - Domos Frances or Los Cuernos Refugio (9 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)

Day-4

Los Cuernos Cabanas to Refugio Chileno (7 to 9 hours - 11 to 13.5 miles)

After yesterday’s difficult hike, today starts off much easier. After leaving Los Cuernos, the mighty Los Cuernos opens up to your left. 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 Ascencio to reach Refugio Chileno. Rest up because tomorrow you will many hours before day light to catch the sunrise at the towers. (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, where your private transport will be waiting to take you on to your next destination (Breakfast - Recommendation to have lunch at Hotel Los Torres).

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Motorized Vehicle
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
1550pygmy 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

2211pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

1st Night: Hotel Lago Grey

Lago Grey, Torres del Paine

Lago Grey Hotel is situated along the eponymous lake, from which you can enjoy amazing panoramic views Grey Lake and beautiful floating icebergs. Grey Glacier is part of the Southern Ice Fields, the third largest freshwater ice-field in the world. There are 60 rooms available in the hotel, all with comfortable spaces, heating, Wi-Fi, safe, direct dial national and international levels, and most importantly, are surrounded by nature and beautiful scenery that can only be found in the Torres del Paine National Park.

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.

Refugio Grey (Optional)

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 (Optional)

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 (Optional)

Torres Del Paine

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

Campamento Torres (Optional)

Torres del Paine

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

Eco Camp Patagonia (Optional)

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 (Optional)

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

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.

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

Inclusions and Exclusions

 

This trip includes:
  • Local support and briefing in Puerto Natales
  • Private transfers to the Park and back from Puerto Natales Airport
  • 3 Nights accommodation in refugios (from 4 to 8 people)
  • 1 Night accommodation at Hotel Lago Grey
  • 3 dinners, 4 breakfasts and 4 box lunches. 
  • Navigation across Lago Grey
  • Consultation, packing and preparation support.
  • Travel App with your complete itinerary, contacts and travel documents
  • Customized Handbook with info on the park and your itinerary
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.

Challenges Levels

Technical Ability

Level : Low

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. 

Optional Extensions

  • 1 day extensions for Ice Hiking, Kayaking or Horseback riding
  • 2 day extension to Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate
  • 5 day extension of Argentina - includes Perito Moreno Glacier and hiking to Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy in El Chalten 

 

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.