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Journeys worth taking

Torres del Paine, Chile

W-Trek: Budget Friendly

Patagonia

W-Trek West to East in 5 Stages

Lodging

Refugios, Camping

Nights

4 nights

Trip Details

Self-Guided

Price

$1,250 USD per person

Transport

Shared Transfers

Pygmy miles

1,785 miles

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

Desolate and unforgiving yet beautiful and serene, Patagonia has mystified explorers since the days of Magellan. It only makes sense to explore this pristine wilderness ourselves. On this journey, you will hike five days in Torres del Paine National Park, the resting place of the W-Trek and its extension, the O-Trek. In total, you will hike 44 miles (70 km) and see the most famous formations of the Paine Massif. You will see the shining blue of the icebergs on Lago Grey, Glaciers in Valle del Frances and marvel at the turquoise water of Lago Nordenskjöld. 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 basking in the morning's golden light.

This journey includes shared transfers from Puerto Natales and the park, in order to keep costs down. It also includes all nights in refugio dormitories. In some cases, if there is no availability in dormitories, we can offer camping with all equipment provided (tent, mat and sleeping bag) as a substitute.

The remoteness and beauty of the W-Trek brings people together, making this itinerary suitable for those looking to make trail friends and have a good sense of camaraderie while exploring Torres del Paine.

Please note that we customize all of our tours, both start dates and the actual itinerary to suit your preferences (subject to availability). However, due to the popularity of the W-Trek, we have already reserved some dates to ensure availabiltiy. To check what dates are currently reserved, hit the inquiry button. If you don't see a date that works for you, don't lose hope, we can still create a tour based on your specific dates. Just drop us a line and mention the dates you would like in the inquiry and let us work our magic. 

Itinerary options

Adjusting the hike to your budget and preferences

BUDGET FRIENDLY

$1,250 USD per person
  • 4 NTS / 5 STAGES
  • 4 NTS IN DORMS OR CAMPING
  • BUS TRANSFERS

IN COMFORT

$1,760 USD per person
  • 4 NTS / 4 STAGES
  • 1 NT 4 STAR HOTEL
  • 3 NTS DORMS
  • PRIVATE TRANSFERS
  • LAGO GREY NAVIGATION

IN LUX AND STYLE

$2,480 USD per person
  • 5 NTS / 4 STAGES
  • 3 NTS 4 STAR HOTELS
  • 1 NT PRIVATE CABANA
  • 1 NT DORM
  • PRIVATE TRANSFERS
  • LAGO GREY NAVIGATION
  • PORTER SERVICE
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.

Gastronomy

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

And also

  • See the towers at sunrise—a powerful and awe inspiring experience.
  • Stay in local refugios that offer a chance to connect with travelers of a similar spirit.

Optional Extensions:

  • 1 day extension 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 Chaltén
  • Complete end to end vacation planning in Chile or Argentina

 

Place

Torres del Paine is a national park in the Chilean 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 largest city in the region and where most travelers arrive. The peaks of the Paine Massif, the centerpiece of the park, reach up to 9,462 feet (2,884 meters). Exploring this remote region will bring you into the heart of Chilean’s unique biome, a mix of Magellanic subpolar forests, Patagonian steppe and Pre-Andean shrubland. The region is also the lair of a large set of mammals like guanacos, rheas(a large ostrich-like bird), south Andean deer and foxes, and big birds such as the Andean condor.  The weather is unpredictable and it’s 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

The following itinerary is an example of our budget trek. There may be differences due to accommodation availability, including the direction of the hike, camping vs. dormitories, and the overnight location. 

Hit the inquire button and drop us a line to get a quotation. Based on your preferred dates, we can provide an exact itinerary breakdown. 

Please remember we customize all of our tours, both start dates and the actual itinerary (accommodation, transfers, number of days, meals and activities), to suit your preferences (subject to availability).

Just let us know your preferred start date and preferences in the comments section of your inquiry and we will provide a customized quotation. 

 

Day-1

Transfer to Torres del Paine, Navigation on Lago Pehoe, Hike to Refugio Grey (3.5 hours - 10.5 km / 6.5 mi)

You will take a morning bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National park. The trip takes approximately 3.5 hours and there are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way. After going through briefing at Administration, you will take a boat navigation on Lago Pehoe and arrive at Paine Grande. From there, you will hike 3.5 hour to Refugio Grey. Before ending your hike for the day, make sure to continue on 20 minutes past Refugio Grey to look at the imposing wall of ice of Glacier Grey. There is a second lookout about 2 hours from Refugio Grey if you up for the challenge as well.

Day-2

Hike from Refugio Grey to Paine (3.5 hours - 10.5 km / 6.5 mi)

After breakfast, you will hike along the shores of Lago Grey. Before embarking on your hike, make sure to take a look at the imposing wall of ice of Glacier Grey. Heading south, this section of the tour is undulating, however one of the easier hikes of the W-Trek. Enjoy the floating icebergs and the lookout points located slightly off trail. In around 3.5 hours, you will reach Refugio Paine Grande.

Day-3

Paine Grande to Dome Frances via Valley Frances (7 hours - 19.6 km / 12.1 mi)


Today you will hike along Lago Skottsberg and then up into Valley Frances. It take about 2.5 hours to reach Campamento Italiano and another 1.5 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 Campamento Britanico. In another 25 minutes, you will reach the lookout point, which is a highlight of the trek. Return via the same track and then take a 30 minute trek to Dome Frances along Lago Nordenskjold.

Day-4

Dome Frances to Refugio Chileno (5.5 hours - 15.9 km / 10 mi)

After leaving the refugio, you'll encounter an undulating, with some steep sections, all they way to Refugio Los Cuernos. Once there, the path becomes easier to handle. Shortly after the refugio, the mighty Los Cuernos will open up to your left hand side. Halfway through the hike, you will have the opportunity to take a shortcut that goes directly to Refugio Chileno, 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.

Day-5

Refugio Chileno - Mirador Base Las Torres - Hotel Las Torres (5 hrs - 13 km / 8.1 mi)

A highlight of the trip, you will need to wake up at least 2.5 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 it’s 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 Las Torres).

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
1164pygmy 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.

440pygmy 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 send it to us after your trip as proof, and we will credit your account.

Total Pygmy Miles

1785pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

Refugio Grey

Torres del Paine

One of the newest refugios, Refugio Grey has one of the nicest lounge areas on 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 person mixed 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.

Refugio Paine Grande

Torres del Paine

Paine Grande is located at the drop-off point of the catamaran on Lago Pehoé. The building can accommodate 100 hikers in 22 dormitory rooms with bunk beds for 2, 4, or 6 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.

Domos Frances

Torres del Paine

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

Refugio Chileno

Torres del Paine

Located 2.5 hours from the base of the towers and 2 hours from Hotel Las 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 (four shared and mixed dorms of 8 people each) and plenty more camping spots.

Refugio Los Cuernos (Domos Frances substitute)

Torres Del Paine

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

Campamento Italiano (Optional)

Torres Del Paine

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

Campamento Torres (Optional)

Torres del Paine

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

Remota Patagonia Lodge (Optional)

Puerto Natales

Before or after the W-Trek, Remota is an upscale option located near Puerto Natales. All of 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 of the fjord of Last Hope create perfect setting for comfort. Remota offers 72 wonderfully appointed, spacious rooms, all en suite, which measure 360 square feet / 34 square meters.
Read more

Hotel Lago Grey (Optional)

Lago Grey, Torres del Paine

Lago Grey Hotel is situated on the eponymous lake, from which you can enjoy amazing panoramic views of Grey Lake and beautiful floating icebergs. Glacier Grey is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, 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 for valuables, direct dial national and international calling, and most importantly, all of which are surrounded by nature and beautiful scenery that can only be found in the Torres del Paine National Park.

Practical info

When

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

Most people complete the W-Trek during the southern hemisphere's spring through fall months, between October and March. It is also 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, possible snow and high wind. In fact, just expect all four seasons in one day.

How

Self guided

Self guided does not mean you are alone. We help you coordinate and plan your trip beforehand. Once you are on the trail, we provide 24-hour customer service in case there are any urgent issues with your bookings.

We can also arrange private guides for this itinerary.

Service Category

Pygmy Itineraries

PYGMY ITINERARY BENEFITS

  • Price Transparency: see where your money is going with line-item pricing
  • Never Lose Your Deposit Guarantee: 50% refund, 50% credit to future trip
  • Customized Handbook with Journey Details: maps, elevation profiles, tips and more
  • Destination Book Digital Travel App: everything in your handbook, in digital form
  • One Year Premium GAIA GPS Membership: your GPS routes, on your phone
  • Complete Itinerary Customization: build the trip you want to take
  • Special Meal Requests: we'll help you stick to your diet of choice
  • Before-You-Go Email Series: helpful emails to get you prepared for your trek
  • Transportation Options Information: timetables, routes and contact info
  • 24/7 Phone Support for Urgent Issues: give us a call if anything goes wrong
  • Email Support (24-hour turnaround): answers for not-so-urgent questions

Challenge Level

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. 

Price

Starting at $1,250 per person, based on double occupancy

After initial consultation, we will customize your itinerary to meet your fitness level, budget, accommodation wishes and schedule. Depending on the journey, it might be possible to skip stages, rearrange their order, substitute accommodations, and add or subtract transfers. Find more information on the base itinerary and possible customizations below.

Base Itinerary

  • Shared transfer between Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine park
  • 4 nights accommodation in refugios (dormitory for 4 to 8 people)
  • 4 dinners, 4 breakfasts and 4 box lunches

Customizations

  • Pick-up and/or drop-off in Punta Arenas or El Calafate
  • Substitute private cabana at Refugio Los Cuernos for Domos Frances
  • Substitute Hotel Las Torres for Refugio Chileno
  • Substitute camping for all accommodations
  • Increase or decrease number of hiking days, depending on fitness and motivation

Optional Add-ons

  • Guide (daily fee + expenses)
  • Porters (fee per porter, per day)
  • Internal transfer to Laguna Amarga
  • Catamaran on Lago Pehoé
  • Private transfer between Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine park
  • Kayaking on Lago Grey
  • Ice Hike on Glacier Grey
  • Horseback riding in Puerto Natales
  • Navigation to Balmaceda Glacier
  • Navigation to Serrano Glacier
  • Navigation to Isla Magdalena to see penguins
  • Visit an estancia, a traditional Patagonian ranch
  • Torres del Paine park entrance fee

Optional Extensions

  • 1-day extension for ice hiking, kayaking or horseback riding
  • 2-day extension to Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate
  • 5-day extension to Argentina, including Perito Moreno Glacier and hiking to Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy in El Chaltén
  • Complete end-to-end vacation planning in Chile or Argentina

not included

  • Airfare
  • Incidentals
  • Alcohol
  • Travel insurance

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 Bolivia, 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.