Torres del Paine
The most famous park in South America never fails to impress!
Arguably the most famous park in all of South America, the Torres del Paine National Park is a true mecca for those looking to experience the rugged nature of Chile’s Patagonia and to discover some of the continent’s best hiking. Reached through the “frontier” town of Punta Arenas, the national park lies right on the border between Chile and Argentina and features, as its centerpiece, a colossal granite outcrop of epic proportions! We tend to recommend at least 3 nights to explore the area, although many of the longer walks are up to a week.
Located approximately 150kms to the north of the small town of Puerto Natales, the Torres del Paine National Park is certainly one of the high points of any trip to Chile. Towering to 3,000m at their highest, the spires of this granite mount provide a worthy backdrop for any walk or activity in the area and, as such, the park is flocked to year round.
The main reason, as mentioned, that many come to the Torres del Paine is for the excellent walking, in particular the “W” and the “O” hiking circuits, so named for the rough shape that they trace in and around the main peaks. Starting at around 4 days these are certainly more appealing to those that are keen on taking their own accommodation. There are, however, quite a few alternative treks and paths that take you through puma territory (don’t worry, they don’t bite!), or into the hidden valleys, that don’t require specialist equipment and which provide as much gratification.
As the park is located so far to the south it is worth bearing in mind the seasons and when is best to come and visit. Please take a brief look at when is recommended and also when it is possible to avoid the crowds below:
One of the shoulder seasons for the Torres del Paine, this is a great time to visit as the temperature changes and the greenery starts to re-appear. Another good point worth bearing in mind is that, where Patagonia is renowned for its strong winds, the winds are at an ebb at this time and so it can make everything a little bit easier!
Certainly one of the most beautiful times to visit the park when the summer blooms are out in full and the temperatures are starting to hit their peak. It is also one of the windier and busier periods and so, on routes such as the “W” you can find that the paths are getting busy.
Without doubt the busiest period to visit the park and also one of the windiest. There is no doubt that, with longer daylight hours and good temperatures, it is a stunning time to visit…but you have to compromise a little on having the place to yourself.
Definitely our pick of the times to come to the Torres del Paine! As the winter starts to draw in, the temperature and visitor numbers fall. With the change in season the many lenga trees that cover the slopes and hills of the park all turn a multitude of colours, and the chilling winds subside. With the park your own to explore it feels like you are discovering it for the first time! (the only issue is that many of the hotels will close and so it is a matter of picking wisely).
At a glance…The Torres del Paine
- Size: 1,810 sq km
- Location: Southern Chilean Patagonia
- Recommended time: 3 to 6 nights
- Time to visit: July to April
- Go here for: Nature and wildlife and walking