Torres del Paine Hiking Trip Notes

Venture into the wilds of Chilean Patagonian on a hiking trip through Torres del Paine National Park. Witness vast, grassy plains, striking, blue glaciers, glassy lakes and indescribable beauty in South America’s finest national park.

    • 6
    • GPHB
    • Total twin price tool tip
      USD $1,500
      CAD $1,600
      AUD $1,660
      EUR €1,155
      GBP £995
      NZD $1,965
      ZAR R15,110
      CHF FR1,425
      *
    • Total single price tool tip
      USD $2,235
      CAD $2,380
      AUD $2,470
      EUR €1,720
      GBP £1,480
      NZD $2,930
      ZAR R22,480
      CHF FR2,120
      *
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    • Walking
    • Basix
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Print Version
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2014
Torres del Paine Hiking
Trip code: GPHB
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Torres del Paine is no run-of-the-mill national park. It could be argued that it’s the godfather of South American national parks, and it doesn’t take much to see why. Watching over this parque nacional is its namesake: three granite pillars towering some 2,800 metres into the sky. With the Paine Grande and Los Cuernos peaks residing either side of these magnificent spires, it’s clear from the get go that when it comes to unique, dramatic landscapes, Torres del Paine’s is second to none. Set against the backdrop of this stunning area, this hiking expedition – led by a knowledgeable and friendly local guide - blazes its own trial and takes in the best Torres del Paine has to offer. Hike over steppe passes, around electric-blue lakes, through lush forests, next to gigantic glaciers and get sprayed by wondrous waterfalls – and that’s just on day one. A trip of a lifetime for experienced hikers and newbies alike; there really is no better way to see Torres del Paine than on foot.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ThemesAccommodationWhat to take
MapMealsHealth
ItineraryTransportSafety
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Culture shock rating Joining point Responsible Travel
Physical ratingJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyFinish point Carbon offset
TippingEmergency contactFeedback
Group sizeEmergency fundsFurther Information
Snaking its way along South America’s western coast, Chile flows across parched deserts and glacial plains, collecting all the hallmarks of this remarkable continent on its way. From smooth Santiago to remote southern lands, the world’s longest country has an even longer list of essential experiences.
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Walking
Map
Torres del Paine Hiking
Itinerary
Day 1 Puerto Natales
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Chile.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Snaking its way along South America’s western coast, Chile flows across parched deserts and glacial plains, collecting all the hallmarks of this remarkable continent on its way. From smooth Santiago to remote southern lands, the world’s longest country has an even longer list of essential experiences.
Seated on the shores of a beautiful lake, Puerto Natales is the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park and a great place to catch up with fellow hikers for a pre or post trek meal in one of the many quaint local restaurants.
Soft and alcoholic drinks are not provided in Torres del Paine and there is limited selection for you to buy from at the Camping's general store. If you particularly like certain snacks (almonds, nuts, raisins) or drinks (a bottle of wine, spirit, etc) please make sure you bring it from Puerto Natales.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Mirador Las Torres (Las Torres Lookout)
Early after breakfast, and joined by your local guide, you travel by local bus (2.5hrs approx) to Laguna Amarga, entry point to Torres del Paine National Park. A local mininan takes us the remaining of the way to our campsite at Camping Las Torres.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is home to what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Patagonia, if not all of South America. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe are the 3 impressive granite towers that give the park its name, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande. The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it's also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including the Patagonian rhea and guanaco, as well as flamingoes, condors and other birds.
Once at the campsite you leave the bulk of your luggage behind and set off on one the the park's most scenery walks: Mirador de Las Torres (Las Torres Lookout). You can expect this walk to take 8 hours approximately.
While we hike, all belongings are left at the campsite, inside your tent. We can not be made responsible for anything that may go missing from your tent, however the campsite dedicates one person to look after the site and our belongings and we have not had anything missing from our tents so far.
Dinners are simple (pastas, rice, chicken) and are served at the "Refugios" nearby our camping sites. Lunches consist of sandwiches, fruit and snacks.
Tents and sleeping mattress are provided while camping. Sleeping bags are not provided. If you don't want to bring your own, your local representative can help you rent one in Puerto Natales on day 1 of this trip - please see the "what to take" section of trip notes for rental prices. Bathroom facilities are available in the campsite with communal showers and bathroom separated by sex.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 3 Valle Frances (French Valley}
After breakfast you take a local minivan to the Pudeto sector before boarding a catamaran across Lake Pehoe towards your next campsite: Paine Grande.
Once at the campsite you start today's trek along the Valle Frances which enjoys imposing views of Los Cuernos del Paine (The Horns) and the French Glacier. Today's hike takes approximately 6 hours.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 4 Glaciar Grey (Grey Glacier)
Today you walk to Grey campsite from where you'll visit he "Los Guardas" area, undoubtedly one of the best lookouts over Grey Glacier. Today you can expect to walk for approximately 6 hours.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Days 5-6 Puerto Natales
Early in the morning you trek back to Paine Grande area and board a catamaran to cross Pudeto lake. From here you continue to Puerto Natales by local transport. Today you will hike for approximately 3.5 hours and you can expect to arrive in Puerto Natales between 3-6pm.
Upon arrival to your hotel in Puerto Natales you will bid farewell to your local guide.
Accommodation in Puerto Natales is included tonight.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
After the trip: Your feedback is important to us. We have made many trip changes over the years based on past traveller feedback. So if you want to tell us anything, from how great the service was at a particular hotel or how delicious an included meal was or if you have any improvement suggestions then please go to www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback. We'll even give you 5% off your next Intrepid trip if you fill in feedback within 4 weeks. Thanks!
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
      Itinerary disclaimer
      Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
      Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
      Culture shock rating

      Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
      Physical rating

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
      Money Exchange
      The official currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).
      With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
      Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.
      It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
      VERY IMPORTANT:
      US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      Tipping
      If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
      The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest S/5. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
      Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest S/10 per passenger per day.
      Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest S./3 to S/6 per day for drivers.
      Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
      Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
      Group size
      Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      Please note that this is a private itinerary and you will not be joined by other travellers.
      Accommodation
      Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts), Hotel (2 nts)
      Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
      If you've purchased pre- or post-trip accommodation you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
      Meals
      All meals when camping
      Budget for meals not included:
      USD 100.00
      Transport
      Bus
      Group leader
      This Short Break Adventure is a private group departure. You will not be accompanied by an Intrepid group leader, and instead our experienced English speaking local guide will fill this role. Your local guide will all be to provide information on the places you are travelling, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and where possible, introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
      Joining point
      Hostal Amerindia
      Barros Arana 135
      Puerto Natales
      6200000
      CHILE
      Phone: +56 61411945
      Joining point instructions
      By Air
      The easiest and most convenient way to get from the airport to your hotel is by taxi. Puerto Natales airport is located approximately 20 minutes from town and you should expect to pay up to CLP 7000 (Aprrox USD 15).
      By Land
      Puerto Natales doesn't have a designated bus terminal. Instead, buses will disembark passengers by their sales offices in town. Depending on what bus company you travelled on, you may be able to walk to your hotel or take a taxi. A bus company sales staff should be able to help you get directions to your hotel. The following text asking for directions in Spanish may come in handy:
      Por favor, me puede indicar como llegar al Hostal Amerindia, que se encuentra en calle Barros Arana 135.

      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
      If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, again following the Joining Instructions in these trip notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Hostal Amerindia
      Barros Arana 135
      Puerto Natales
      6200000
      CHILE
      Phone: +56 61411945
      Emergency contact
      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please contact Oscar Escobedo on Tel: +54 9 261 6298498. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week.
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
      Weather in Patagonia is unpredictable. While this trip only runs during the warmer months of the year, temperatures can fluctuate from 30 to 0 degrees Celsius (86 to 32 Fahrenheit) within a trip or even a day. Please make sure you pack enough warm clothing.
      Sleeping Bags
      Sleeping bags are not provided on this trip. If you don't want to bring your own, your local representative can assist you rent one on day 1 of this trip. Rental prices vary between US$ 8-10 per day.
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      Safety
      Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
      In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
      If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 128.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
      Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.
      Further Information
      A book is a great way to get inspired about a destination… and makes long waits at airports more bearable! These books should get you in the mood for a trip to Chile: