Torres del Paine W Trek
7 Days / 6 Nights
Day 1 Punta Arenas or El Calafate - EcoCamp Patagonia (L,D)
The trip begins with you being picked up from your hotel in Punta Arenas or Punta Arenas airport in the morning and driven to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. Alternatively you can start your trip in El Calafate - First in Puerto Natales; a small, lively town on the shores of "Seno de Ultima Esperanza", where we enjoy a hearty local lunch, and second at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890’s. The whole journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes to be seen.
The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of the park with a view of the Torres. During summer the sun sets around 11pm, so upon arrival there's plenty of light to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.
Day 2 Los Cuernos (B,L,D)
We start our adventure in the Park with a pleasant walk through the curly Cuernos trail located beside beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. During this walk we admire the park’s exquisite flora and fauna, its strong wind and the curious, rapidly-changing weather that’ll accompany us in the upcoming days. As we walk along the trail we enjoy magnificent views of the park’s central lakes and the Paine’s Horns, majestic black horn-like peaks of slate atop gray granite which crown the center of the Massif. The trek ends at Refugio Los Cuernos, a small and cozy mountain refuge located by the shores of Lake Nordenskjold. The evening is free for relaxing and enjoying dinner.
Day 3 The Paine Massif’s Heart: Valle Frances (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we begin a challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley) along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How deep we go depends on our groups’ rhythm - An active walk leads us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south-eastern face of the Massif, where there is a truly wonderful view. Then we continue up the trail until reaching the upper section of the valley and admire the valley's entire group of geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). Here we picnic and rest for a while. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is available as well, if the group isn't keen on resting. Then we descend through a rippling terrain of mixed grassland and light forest until reaching Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. We organise our luggage, relax and enjoy a replenishing dinner.
Day 4 Glacier Grey (B,L,D)
Today we hike from Paine Grande Refugio along the shores of Lake Pehoe to the northern end of glacial Lake Grey. We enjoy a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails to the blue face of Glacier Grey. There's lots of time to marvel at this carving glacier during the boat ride across this lake, with its floating pieces of ice. From Lake Grey’s southern end we transfer to EcoCamp. Occasionally the weather may not permit us to sail across the lake, or during Shoulder Season (October and April) the sailing might be cancelled if the required minimum of 10 passengers isn't reached. In this case we will trek up to the sightseeing point offering a spectacular view of the Glacier. Then we'll return on foot to Paine Grande and take a catamaran to Pudeto’s dock, from where we're driven back to Ecocamp.
Day 5 Torres del Paine - "The big challenge" (B,L,D)
Time for a big breakfast and lots of enthusiasm - Our goal today is to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine NP! We walk from the camp site towards Hostería Las Torres and join the uphill path to Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes as we climb the steep moraine, a mass of boulders leading us towards one of the world's most famous views overlooking the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill slog, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp.
Day 6 Eastern Lakes (B,L,D)
Today is a relaxed day after yesterday's challenge. We set off lesuirely after breakfast and drive to Laguna Azul passing by Cañadón Macho, home to a rich fauna including guanacos and ñandúes. We stop en route to enjoy views of the Patagonian steppe and the towers from a different angle. At Laguna Azul we hike to the viewpoint where we have a gorgeous view of both the lagoon and granite towers. After lunch we drive to the northern shore of Sarmiento Lake where the Fauna Trail begins. As we walk northwards along the trail we see fauna on the Patagonian plains including guanacos, ostrich-like ñandús and maybe the occasional puma print! We pass by Goic lagoon and after an approximate 5 km relaxed walk we reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station where we’re picked up and driven back to Ecocamp to celebrate over our farewell dinner.
*Please note that if there are more than 6 travellers in the group there's an option to split into two groups, with one group (or the whole group if everybody's in the mood!) cycling to Laguna Azul!
Day 7 Torres del Paine - Punta Arenas or El Calafate (B)
We board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight to Santiago. Or, alternatively, we board an early morning vehicle to the border to continue our journey to El Calafate.