South America: Chile – Torres Del Paine

Today I’m sharing more of our recent trip to South America. After visiting the cities of Buenos Aires, El Calafate, and El Chalten in Argentina, we took a bus across the border into Chile. One of the main reasons people go to this area of Patagonia is to go to the Torres Del Paine park. The park was recently added to the list of the World Wonders, coming in at #8 after 5 million people voted! People come from ALL over the world, and despite the fact it’s not the easiest place to get to, that doesn’t seem to stop anyone.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m sharing more details than anyone cares to know, but hopefully this will help others who plan to travel to the same region.

While the typical hike for the park is 5 days, we didn’t have the time or plan well enough, so we did a 3 day hike. To get to the park we took a bus from Puerto Natales. We were able to leave the rest of our luggage at our hostel in Puerto Natales, only bringing what we would need for the 3 days, including all of the food we would eat, clothes, and toiletries.

This map is produced courtesy of operator Experience Chile from their web site

Torres Del Paine - 3 day W Trail Hike

Day 1

After taking the morning bus from Puerto Natales to the park we got off at the 3rd stop, which is Pudeto/Catamaran. We took a 20 minute Catamaran ride at the beginning to the beginning of the Park which starts in blue in the picture attached above. We then began our trek from Paine Grande to Refugio Los Cuernos (8.4 miles – 4 hours) where we stayed the night. We had to skip over both Glacier Grey and the French Valley due to our time constraint. Please notice the wind in the third picture. While we had heard how windy it was, we never knew it would be SO bad!!! Bad enough to knock me over several times!

Day 1 of our 3 day Torres Del Paine Hike - After being dropped off from catamaran

Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - SO DANG WINDY
Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del PaineDay 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Notice the wind! Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - SO windy Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine Day 1 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine

Day 2

On the second day we hiked from Refugio Los Cuernos to Refugio Torre North (8.3 miles – 4 hours). This was a pretty light day. We stopped a lot, even laying down at times! When we reached our refugio we had gorgeous weather and enjoyed the afternoon out in the sun! It was nice to have a shorter day and lots of time to relax! For some reason we didn’t take many pictures this day. You will notice we drank water from the streams!
Day 2 on the Torres Del Paine HikeDay 2 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Getting more water!Day 2 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del PaineDay 2 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine

 Day 3

On Day 3 we had to backtrack a little bit and did a 8 hour hike from Refugio Torre North to the base of Las torres and back (17 miles/8 hours). This was by far the hardest day with the majority of the first half being uphill. We were also greeted with crazy winds and rain the first quarter of the trek and didn’t know if we would be able to keep going, but thankfully the weather cleared up. We climbed 339 flights of stairs and oh my, we were glad when it was all over! Clearly I’m celebrating in the pictures below when we reached the base (the top).

Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine

Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Base de las Torres - We made it! Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Base de las Torres Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Base de las Torres

Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Base de las Torres

Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Base de las Torres - FOX!

Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine - Base de las Torres Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine

Day 3 - W Trail Hike on Torres Del Paine

Our tips for traveling to Torres Del Paine:

  • Bring empty water bottles and fill up in the streams. You don’t need any filters.
  • Bring your own food. We packed plenty of food and skipped the overpriced meals at the refugios (which we heard weren’t great).
  • Bring small bottles of liquor/wine – we saved ours from the plane ride over and it was a nice treat after a long day.
  • Only bring what you need! We didn’t have much and my back still hurt from the backpack.
  • You need poles – rent them at Erratic Rock
  • Buy waterproof, hiking shoes. Even though we have hiked all over the world, we didn’t have hiking shoes until this trip and we were glad we did. Tennis/running shoes will not work. There are lots of streams and lots of rocks, so make sure you have the correct shoes.
  • Visit Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales before heading to the park if you need to rent items. We rented a canister, pots/pans, bowls, etc all to find out once we got to the park that they provided hot water in the refugios, so not only did we have to carry that around the whole time, but we paid way too much to rent it considering we didn’t use it once. Don’t rent something unless you absolutely need it.
  • Book your refugios way ahead of time. They book up fast.
  • Be prepared for all 4 seasons in one day. There is no way to prep you for the wind, but I’m warning you now, be prepared!
  • The refugios only have a few outlets, so be prepared to wait in line if you need to charge anything.
  • The refugios don’t provide towels, buy a quick dry one and bring it!
  • Bring a selfie stick! While ours broke and we didn’t have one, it would have been nice to have.
  • You will have a lot of down time at night. Bring a good book or a deck of cards.
  • There are no ATM’s at the park. Make sure you have plenty of cash to get into the park as well as any other expenses (food) you might incur.
  • Elaina
    Posted at 08:01h, 19 December Reply

    Beautiful pictures. So glad you guys got to go on this fun adventure together.

  • Dawn
    Posted at 08:59h, 19 December Reply

    What gorgeous pictures!

  • Tiffany (A Touch of Grace)
    Posted at 10:23h, 19 December Reply

    Oh my gosh! Absolutely breathtaking place! I had no idea all of this was down here. And those wild horses! What an awesome adventure you guys had!

  • Krystal
    Posted at 10:37h, 19 December Reply

    Amazing pictures! You both look so adventurous! You’re giving me the itch to travel again, although I can’t for awhile! Thanks for sharing.

  • Tanya @ the sky and back
    Posted at 11:08h, 19 December Reply

    Stunning pictures! That wind, though. Don’t know if I could’ve hacked it. 🙂

  • Mia @ MakeMeUpMia
    Posted at 12:26h, 19 December Reply

    I can’t get over the water in these pics, just gorgeous!! Dustin and I would definitely enjoy this!

  • Morgan
    Posted at 13:24h, 19 December Reply

    Oh my gosh, those pictures are just stunning! It looks like you two had a blast! That looks like SO much fun. I love to travel!

  • Erika B.
    Posted at 13:26h, 19 December Reply

    Oh my gosh. YOu are so brave!! Sometimes we go “hiking” in the trails that are basically in the middle of the city, and I’m like…what if we get lost? What if no one can find us?! Hahaha and then YOU go traipsing halfway across the world and hike through some place where the wind can blow you away?!?! You deserve a high five!! (And a nice tiny bottle of airplane wine, haha)

  • Cheryl Smith
    Posted at 13:40h, 19 December Reply

    I love seeing all the pictures!! It is SO beautiful there, and you two are such a beautiful couple! So thankful you were able to go and enjoy this and grateful to God that you are back home safe. Much love to you this Christmas!

  • Kara
    Posted at 16:49h, 19 December Reply

    These views are gorgeous!! And the hike looks like a great workout! You go girl! Also, is that a coyote in your picture or did a stray dog join y’all’s hike??

  • Lauren
    Posted at 08:47h, 20 December Reply

    Just a few thoughts:

    1) This looks like a dream (except for your exhaustion and bracing bitter winds, I’m sure).

    2) That jumping picture made me smile, and then I scrolled down and got scared for your knees. “No, don’t fall on those sharp rocks!”… Wait, this already happened, I realized. She’s fine. Also, scary mommish / sister / best friend fears?

    3) That foxy pup behind the rocks. Why didn’t you bring him home for me!??!!?

    Love you.

  • Tiffany
    Posted at 09:00h, 20 December Reply

    Wow. Stunning photos. This looks so amazing in 2D, that I can’t even fathom how amazing the sight must have truly been!!!

  • Tania // Run To Radiance
    Posted at 11:39h, 20 December Reply

    Wow!! Beautiful photos!! It looks so lovely! Is that a wolf in that one photo :O Scary!! You guys are such a beautiful couple!

  • Kara
    Posted at 07:52h, 21 December Reply

    I LOVE all of the pictures! It looks absolutely gorgeous there!

  • SecondVoice
    Posted at 15:04h, 21 December Reply

    Gorgeous! I’m so jealous! It’s been too long since I did a backpacking trip. I hope it was as centering/invigorating as it looks!

  • Amanda
    Posted at 23:20h, 21 December Reply

    Great pictures! This seems like a dream trip!

  • Jackie
    Posted at 00:35h, 23 December Reply

    AMAZING!!! I’m actually Argentinean. My family is from Buenos Aires but no one in my family has been to the Patagonia. What an incredible, breath-takingly beautiful place. Thanks for sharing your photos. Love the one of you jumping in the air.

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy}
    Posted at 09:30h, 23 December Reply

    Oh my gosh, what beautiful photos!!! That must have been even more beautiful in real life. I can’t believe y’all hiked that far in 3 days as well…y’all are crazy in shape, Caroline! Thanks for sharing the photos!

  • Laura @ Making Baby Provence
    Posted at 14:40h, 23 December Reply

    These pictures are ridiculously awesome! I cannot believe that you hiked for 3 days. That amazes me, and I’m so impressed. However, I want to know why you didn’t just borrow one of those horses?! 😉 Kidding! Glad you two had such a wonderful vacation. This looks like one of those trips of a lifetime!

  • Shelley
    Posted at 12:18h, 07 September Reply

    Hi there, your blog has been very helpful in planning our trip to Torres del Paine. Thank you! We are hoping to do the same route as you. May I ask, what type of food did you pack? Was it those dehydrated packages? Was it easy cook at the Refugios or on the trails?

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