About Torres del Paine National Park
What is the Torres del Paine National Park?
It is the eighth wonder of the world, one of Chile’s most visited parks and one of the major adventure tourism destinations in the world. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, it is part of the National System of Protected Wilderness Areas of the State of Chile. It covers over 1,800 km2 of surface managed by the Chilean National Forestry Corporation (CONAF). Some remote areas offer accommodations and services for visitors.
What are its main attractions?
Although the massive rock massifs that give the park its name (Torres del Paine) are among the most photographed worldwide, there are also rivers, lakes, other peaks, native fauna, including Grey Lake and its magnificent glacier, the stunning French Valley, John Garner Mountain Pass, Los Cuernos and its lookouts, Salto Grande, and the Suspension Bridges. The Torres del Paine can be seen from several lookout points. However, the greatest one is Las Torres Base, which can be reached after a 9-km trail that begins at Cerro Paine Reserve.
You can enjoy activities such as horseback riding, kayaking, ice hiking, biking, climbing and, of course, hiking on numerous trails, such as Las Torres Base, the W and the O (or Big Circuit), just to name a few.
When is the best time of year to visit the park?
Torres del Paine National Park and its hiking circuits are open all year round. However, during winter it is mandatory to be accompanied by a certified guide.
The time of year to visit the park will depend on your preference. During high season (October to March), temperatures are more pleasant, but there are also more visitors. The low season (April to September) is very cold, but the winds are gentler, the colors of the landscapes are different, and there are fewer people, so you will practically have the Torres all to yourself.
What clothing and gear do I need to bring?
This is the gear we recommend for doing the W circuit, which is hiking enthusiasts’ favorite.
We advise you to make two lists of clothing and gear: one for hiking (technical clothing), and another to relax at the mountain refuges or campsites.
- 40 to 45-liter hiking backpack. It is important to protect the contents of the backpack from the rain. You can use dry bags, slider zip bags or a garbage bag as liner or protection inside the backpack.
- Comfortable boots or hiking shoes.
- Synthetic or wool socks (save the better ones for hiking!).
- Quick-dry and comfortable pants for hiking.
- Upper and lower body base layer.
- Fleece jacket/sweatshirt.
- Synthetic material jacket (Primaloft).
- Jacket and pants for the rain.
- Leg warmers (suggested).
- Hat (sun/warmth).
- Buff or bandana for the neck.
- Sun glasses with UV filter.
Clothing and articles for the mountain refuges:
- Comfortable and light shoes (sneakers, sandals, crocs, etc.).
- Socks (any kind, not necessarily technical socks).
- Comfortable pants and t-shirt, as sleepwear.
- Quick-dry towel
- Camera with extra batteries or charger
- Headlamp with fresh batteries
- Water bottle or container
- Sunscreen (SPF 45+)
- Lip balm
- Mosquito repellent
- First-aid kit with essential medications (painkillers, antihistamine, antispasmodic, etc.). No medications are sold in the park. Blister and injury prevention patches (Moleskin, Compeed or KT Tape), a bleeding control kit, etc.
How much is the entrance fee to the park?
For the 2018-2019 season, the entrance fee is CLP $21,000 for international tourists and CLP $6,000 for Chileans. This amount is payable in cash only (USD or CLP) at the checkpoints located at Torres del Paine National Park gates.
Why do I need to make a reservation before getting there?
In order to make Torres del Paine a sustainable destination, it is necessary to restrict the number of visitors it accommodates in authorized areas (campsites, domes, mountain refuges, and hotels). The space is limited, which is why it is almost required to arrive with a reservation. Keep in mind that, particularly in January and February, the demand is very high, so spaces could run out.
Do I need to book a reservation if I’m visiting just for the day?
No. Early booking is mandatory only for those spending the night inside the park or Cerro Paine Reserve.
About the trails and tourist attractions
What are the Torres del Paine National Park hiking circuits?
The most famous circuits are the W and the O (or Big Circuit). One of the most visited trails is Las Torres Base from where you will enjoy amazing views of the Torres. There are many tourist attractions within the park, and trails with different levels of difficulty. You can check out more details on this map.
What trails begin at Cerro Paine Reserve?
The trails to Las Torres Base, Cuernos Sector and Serón Sector. You can start both the W and the O Circuits from Cerro Paine Reserve, as well as biking and horseback riding circuits.
How much time do I need to complete the Las Torres Base trail?
Las Torres Base trail begins inside Cerro Paine Reserve. If you take Hotel Las Torres Patagonia as a reference, it extends for 18 km (round trip). Each leg can be done in 4 hours on average.
How much time do I need to complete the W Circuit?
It is recommended to do this circuit in at least 4 or 5 days to enjoy the views without rushing. Fantástico Sur offers programs that begin both at the east and west ends of the circuit. You can also return by catamaran to the Pudeto sector, and from there take a bus to Puerto Natales. Our Fantástico Sur experts have special programs available for this journey.
How much time do I need to complete the Big Circuit (the “O”)?
You could complete the Big Circuit while skipping some of the campsites. However, for your own safety, and to enjoy each place, we advise you to consider at least 8 days. You can check out one of our Fantástico Sur programs.
Are there schedules for use of the trails?
Yes, because we want to prevent visitors from walking at night and suffering an accident. You can check them out here. You can also check out the park’s checkpoint opening hours. Schedules vary according to the season.
Is there drinking water?
Yes. Every accommodation within Torres del Paine National Park and the Cerro Paine Reserve offers drinking water. During your hikes, try to collect water from secondary streams and avoid the main rivers, since they cross some trails, campsites and nurseries, and might be contaminated. Please remember: the more natural movement the water has, the better.
What places should I visit?
Do you love hiking? Then you just have to do the Big Circuit, the W or Las Torres Base trail.Do you have more time? You could visit Nordenskjöld Lake, Salto Grande, the wonderful Grey Glacier, or Los Cuernos lookout point, just to name a few.
On this map (link roto) you can see some tourist attractions you can reach by car, on horseback, and others on foot following the trails.
About Cerro Paine Reserve
What is the Cerro Paine Reserve?
We are both a natural and cultural reserve at the heart of Torres del Paine National Park.
The circuits to Las Torres Base, the W, Big Circuit, and others begin here.
In Cerro Paine Reserve you will not only find a wide range of accommodations, services and activities, but you can also learn more about the history of our ranch and the life of the baqueanos (Patagonian horsemen).
Above all, you will find a group of people committed to the environment, who work every day to turn us into a model for sustainable tourism. Come visit us!
How can I get there?
We are located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, in the Chilean Patagonia.
You can find all the information here.
How much is the entrance fee to Cerro Paine Reserve?
The entrance is free because it is a natural and cultural reserve that shares an interest in sustainability, conservation and ecofriendly tourism with Torres del Paine National Park.
Are there lodging options inside the reserve?
Yes, we have hotels, mountain refuges and campsites. You can check out more details here.
Can I enter the reserve with my car?
No. We have restricted traffic inside our reserve in order to minimize the impact on the environment. Only those who have reservations at Hotel Las Torres Patagonia can access the hotel parking lot. However, you can leave your car in the parking lot located in front of our Welcome Center.
About the Welcome Center
What is the Welcome Center?
Located at the entrance of the reserve, it is a place where you can plan your hikes, make reservations, get information about the reserve and the park, enjoy a comforting cup of coffee, and much more. You can find more information here.
Are there restrooms available?
Yes, we have free restrooms in our Welcome Center. We just ask you to take care of them and keep them clean so all visitors can use them in the same conditions as you.
Are there showers available?
There are no showers in our Welcome Center but you can use the ones available at Fantástico Sur’s campsites, platforms or mountain refuges, if you lodge there.
What are the Welcome Center business hours?
There is a gatekeeper at the entrance to our reserve between 6 am and 11 pm. The Welcome Center is open from 9 am to 11 pm. Both are open every day during the high season (September to April).
Is there Wi-Fi available?
Connectivity in this sector is not easy. Our Welcome Center offers paid satellite Wi-Fi, also available in our accommodations. You can find out more here.
Are there phones available?
No landlines or cellular antennas reach this remote area. In case of emergency, we can communicate via satellite Internet and radio from our Welcome Center.
Are there ATMs at the Welcome Center?
No, but we accept credit and debit cards. However, we advise you to bring cash because the system works via satellite Internet and the connection might be affected by weather conditions.
Do you have outdoor gear for rental?
You can rent hiking sticks and mountain gear (tents, sleeping bags, etc.). You can also find the gear at every Fantástico Sur campsite, so it is not necessary to carry it during other legs of the trip where you do not need it.
Our Welcome Center offers a complete shop where you can buy footwear, warm clothes, rain ponchos, and other accessories at a convenient price.