Torres del Paine is a remote place in Chile’s Patagonia (and I’m sure you knew it already).
However, this incredible national park has become more and more accessible, thanks to regular flights to both Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales, the nearest Chilean cities. Travelers can now travel to Torres del Paine in less than a full-day trip from Santiago de Chile. But while traveling to Torres del Paine isn’t difficult, you shouldn’t visit the national park if you are in a rush.
Here’s a series of advice to make the most of your time in Torres del Paine, while choosing the kind of tour that fits your timing.
1. How much time should you plan for a trip to Torres del Paine?
If you simply want to wander freely in the park, remember that Torres del Paine is a vast area of 227.298 hectares with plenty of viewpoints and hiking trails. And if you plan a hiking tour, trekking circuits such as the W Trek and the Torres del Paine “O” Circuit require a few days. Also, the weather in Patagonia is very hard to predict and you can never be sure the mountains won’t be covered with clouds.
Consider that traveling to Torres del Paine from Santiago means a 3-hour (to Puerto Natales) or 3:30-hour (to Punta Arenas) flight, and a 2-hour (from Puerto Natales) to 5-hour (from Punta Arenas) drive.
To sum it up, you should plan at least 4 full days in the park, and planning a one-week trip to Torres del Paine is ideal to make the most of your visit.
2. What can I do in 9 days?
A nine or ten-day trip is a fantastic way to have a complete experience in Torres del Paine, that includes some trekking, nature observation and eventually a multisport adventure. You can freely enjoy the trails and viewpoints of Torres del Paine on a Wildlife Safari, eventually consider a Puma Tracking tour and why not take some time to simply rest in the park (we have a Yoga dome!).
In nine days, you can do the full Torres del Paine “O” Circuit, Patagonia’s most spectacular trekking route. This demanding trek is a 360° circuit around the Paine massif. It includes highlights such as the Perros glacier, the John Gardner Pass, Grey glacier, French Valley and the Towers’ Base. This unforgettable experience is recommended only for experienced hikers and is available from November to March.
3. What can I do in one week?
A one-week stay is a great option for both nature lovers and experienced hikers.
You can see all the highlights of Torres del Paine national park while staying in hotel like EcoCamp. 7 days is a fair amount of time to discover both the highlights (towers’ base, Grey glacier, the French Valley) and other stunning off–the-beaten path excursions(for ex. Lazo-Weber, Cerro Paine and Laguna Azul). With such an amount of time, you will make the most of the weather and eventually explore the park at a more relaxed pace. The Wildlife Safari program is the best tour to explore the park with flexibility while staying in a cozy dome every night.
You can also do the full 7-Day W Trek, so you can hike through the iconic trails of Torres del Paine while adding some nature observation to that epic trek. The W Trek itself is an incredible experience, but it’s always worth seeing the mountains from a greater distance to catch some beautiful views and different perspectives.
Travelers willing to focus on the fascinating wildlife of Torres del Paine should consider a 6-Day Puma Tracking program, a fantastic way to look for the elusive puma while spotting plenty of other animals in beautiful areas of the park. This tour is organized with a professional puma tracker and specialized guide.
Finally, in 6 days you can also do the EPIC Patagonia Multisport Adventure, a dose of adrenaline that mixes mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and kayaking.
4. What can I do in five days?
In five days, you’ll have to make some decisions, like focusing on some specific trails and/or areas. 5 days is a good amount of time to see the highlights of Torres del Paine National Park (towers’ base, french valley, Grey glacier). You can also mix one or two of the highlights with another off-the-beaten path option and take some time for wildlife observation. The Wildlife Safari program is highly recommended to take advantage of these 5 days (the minimum amount of time required for the tour is 4 days).
You can do the W Trek in 5 days, though this is a slightly shorter version of the W Trek (that still includes the highlights).
5. What can I do in just a couple of days?
In just a couple of days, you will miss some highlights. This is rather risky because of the changing weather, and you might not be able to see the towers in all their glory. In case you do not have a lot of time available, two days will still allow you to take a breath while staying in the park, and at least see one of the highlights Torres del Paine has to offer. You can also focus on the most iconic viewpoints in the area so you get some of the pictures you are dreaming of.
6. For how long should I travel to Patagonia?
If one week is recommended to fully enjoy Torres del Paine National Park, you should at least duplicate this amount of time to see the highlights of Patagonia. Patagonia is a vast region (1 060 631 km²) split between Chile and Argentina, and you could easily travel throughout the region for months and still discover some natural treasures.
If you wish to focus on Patagonia as a whole, we can only recommend a minimum of three weeks to see some of the most spectacular areas, such as Torres del Paine, Tierra del Fuego, the Perito Moreno glacier (Argentina), El Chaltén (Argentina) and the Carretera Austral (Chile).