Torres del Paine

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  • Day246

    Torres del Paine National Park

    January 7, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Because we didn’t book months ahead, all accommodation in the park was sold out. While it’s possible to drive 2+ hours each way to/from the Puerto Natales to the park everyday (and many people do), we weren’t up for it and instead paid an insane amount to rent a car and stay at a hotel just outside the park gates.
    While our budget didn’t appreciate the decision, it turned out to be worth it as we enjoyed three fantastic days in the park.
    The mountains look just as you expect and are jagged, snow-capped and stunningly beautiful. We did 3 different day hikes while here (2 easy, one very difficult) and took a boat on Grey Lake to observe the glacier and icebergs up close. The colors were remarkable.
    Adding to the experience was seeing lots of guanacos up close and occasional condors flying. Incredible.
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  • Day28

    Torres del Paine W trek Day 4

    November 29, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Today was our final day of trekking, and it was a big contrast in landscape from the beginning to end! Starting at 7.30am we set off through the windy, steep valleys with lots of ups and downs (alittle like Lord of the rings!) then reaching the Lago Grey with the beautiful icebergs / growlers (bergy bits! Technical terms for sure😁😂) and in the distance behind is the 2nd largest ice field in the world (not including the North or south Pole!) It stretches from Lago all the way up to O'Higgins (350km long wow!) as we sat by the waters edge we could here the icebergs cracking, we even touched one...and of course zach tried to skim some lol!Read more

  • Day38

    W Trek Day 4: Resting at Francés

    December 14, 2019 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Due to Susanne's unreliable knee and us not having done a lot of serious multi day hikes in a while, we had decided to stay 2 nights at camping Francés when we booked the trek and its campings back in August. Since we had been lucky with the weather and already completed the Francés valley the previous day, that actually meant we had a real resting day.

    Apart from feeding ourselves we didn't need to do anything. We slept very long, even had an extra afternoon nap, enjoyed a lukewarm chocolate at the restaurant and had our warm meal at 15:00 to get a spot in the windshielded small kitchen area, which besides a cooking area was also the smoking area. Lovely. There were also again signs all over the place that any trash should be taken with you. Except for cigarettes apparently, as for that they placed a specific cigarette trashcan. Not surprisingly, it was full of plastic as well. It was all a bit contradictory. To make matters worse, a part of Machiel's spork broke off, and his sunglasses have also had their best time. But they are both still in action!

    Given the hilly terrain, to rest our feet and knees properly we also optimised the amount of comutes between the tents and bathroom/cooking area which came down to 2 or 3 per person. We had a wraps dinner in our tent, went to bed early and were ready for the last two days of our hike.
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  • Day25

    Torres Del Paine W Trek... Day 1, Part 1

    November 26, 2019 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 2 °C

    What an amazing week's trekking through Torres del Paine mountain range! Can't believe the things we have seen and touched (icebergs... Not just the lettuce type... We mean actual icebergs ❄🌬️😅) We had the most magical time and gained a positive aussie hiking friend called Pip to keep us going lol! It was probably the most challenging thing we've ever done, about 20 miles per day up and down all the valleys that lie in between Torres, Brittanico and Lago Grey (grey lake..iceburg city). We got fantastic weather throughout, except for the last night camping. There was a brutal hike from our campsite to Brittanico view point (all uphill) and back down towards Paine Grande campsite (somehow also alot of uphill). But to get the best views it's totally worth it 😂😊 Zach's knees started to buckle on the last 2 days so credit to him for finishing... And finish we did with beers and pizza and good company, before catching the 30min catamaran and 2.5hrs bus ride back to Puerto Natales to book into a lovely lodge overlooking the lake! Also I will add how great the meals were at all 4 campsites... 3 courses and buffet breakfast... Oh yes!!! 😂Read more

  • Day35

    W Trek Day 1 - Paine Grande to Grey

    December 11, 2019 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 4 °C

    We needed to be at the bus station at 7am for our bus to take us to the boat at Pudeto, which in turn would take us across Lago Pehoe to camping Paine Grande in the national park Torres del Paine. It was raining quite a bit but we knew the weather was predicted to get better in the afternoon. On the way to the dock the axle/wheel/something on our bus broke. After some opportunistic and noisy attempts by the bus driver to fix it (by trying to drive back and forth about 10 times which only made it sound worse), we were thankfully allowed to move into one of the other busses that drove by. Yay mass tourism! Finally arriving at the Pudeto dock together with another 80-something hopefuls, we saw the boat arriving and unload the people who came back from the park. Surprisingly there were a handful of suitcases being dragged off. Also a lot of people had big heavy-looking sleeping bags that they didn't mind getting wet in the rain. Interesting choices, we thought, but only later we realised why this wasn't even so unusual.

    When the boat arrived it stopped raining! What amazed us the most was the amount of rental tents set up, which gave it a very corporate feel. It didn't look like there were many people who brought there own tents like we did. It was also possible to rent practically any other gear you might need for some nice high prices. And buy all the food you wanted as well, like 500gr uncooked pasta for 5 euros. The shop even had fresh food and we saw many people with bought lunchboxes from the camping owners. What also felt contradictory was that there were signs all over the campsite that any trash should be taken with you, yet there were trashcans as well. We figured it had to do with day tourists, but it still felt like it made little sense.

    We ate a quick bread lunch in the spacious kitchen area and then started the hike towards camping Grey. The trail was leading through a nice valley and later climbed up to a very nice view of a lake. There were even some icebergs floating that must have travelled all the way from the end of the Grey glacier which was were our camping for this night was located. The 11km trail estimated to need 3.5 hours took us 4.5 hours including some small resting and view-enjoying breaks and we arrived at the Grey camping at 17:30. Again, lots of corporate tents which meant that it was difficult to find good tent spots and reminded us a bit of a camping full of stacaravans/mobile homes. We did not like that too much but in the forest in the back of the camping grounds we found some nice spots joining other hikers with their own tents. We had dinner in the kitchen area, the only area where gascookers are allowed. This is due to a lot of forest fires in the past and the traces of that are still very visible in places. There was a viewing point nearby of the glacier and glacier lake, Daniel and Susanne couldn't resist to take a look and it turned out very cool. But we also had to sleep as we had a long day of hiking ahead of us.
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  • Day40

    W Trek Day 6: Central to the towers

    December 16, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    We weren't as crazy as some others who planned on seeing the sunrise at the base of the towers - a 4 hour hike from our camping. Nonetheless, the plan was to leave early. So the alarms went off at 5:30. After an easy flat first 30 minutes, the climbing started. Just when we warmed up from that and were taking off layers, our map showed a point was approaching called 'Windy pass'. How windy could that get, we thought. Very windy as it turned out, as Machiel almost lost a hiking stick and Daniel's bag almost rolled into a river. But we survived and came out stronger. We soon reached our halfway point: camping Chileno. When we booked our trek in August we wanted to camp here instead of at Central, but they were already sold out. Either way, now it was a nice place for a break and we enjoyed the lack of wind in their refugio while chewing on some nuts and chocolate.

    Time for the toughest part of the day: climbing 450m in altitude over the next 4.3km. The first half was still a very enjoyable walk along the river through some nice forest but soon the path turned into a wall of loose stones. The windy and sweaty hike up didn't seem to end, but we stayed motivated by the big tour groups emerging behind us that we didn't want to be eaten by. When we reached the viewpoint we were busier changing into dry clothes while finding a good place to relax without strong winds, than that we were looking at the towers. The view was great, but our tiredness of the whole week, plus the large amount of tourists in that spot, made it harder to enjoy than usual.

    After a while we were cold enough and hiked back down to Central. We had dinner in the restaurant of one of the refugios to celebrate our successful W Trek. The oven was broken, but they still served good sandwiches and juice. After a shuttle bus and regional bus, we were back in our Corner Hostel in Puerto Natales late in the evening.
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  • Day27

    Torres Del Paine W Trek... Day 3

    November 28, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    Francés campsite to Mirador Británico view points and back down to our campsite for the night at Paine Grande (9-10 hours) . By far this was the hardest day but worth it for the views and scenery 😊👌 We started bright and early with breakfast and set off at 7.30am, hiking up towards the first view point at Británico, where we watched avalanches on the mountain side (we thought it was thunder ⚡ while camping the night before, pretty cool knowing it was actually avalanches! They don't really have thunder storms here) At the second and final view point we could see a full 360° of mountains, peaks, forests and the fluorescent lake that we had hiked from... So rewarding. After lunch here we headed back down the way we came on a long beautiful trek towards our final campsite Paine Grande, and literally stumbled in at around 5pm.... Check in and have a wine well done! ☺️ Loved how the scenery changed soo much on this day.Read more

  • Day36

    W Trek Day 2: Grey to Paine Grande

    December 12, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    We woke up at 6 in the morning. After 2 hours of packing and eating breakfast, we were ready to head further north to 2 bridges with some nice views of the Grey glacier. This is actually not officially part of the W-Trek but of the longer O-Trek and was the reason for carrying all our gear up to the Grey camping. We gained 260m in altitude and during the 1.5 hour hike we had some very pretty views while getting closer to the end of the glacier. Afterwards Franzi and Machiel decided to still go to the iceberg-lake viewpoint that Daniel and Susanne had already visited the evening before. We've seen a similar iceberg lake before in Iceland but this one felt so calm and peaceful in comparison, and we could actually see the glacier in the background, though it was still very far away.

    Since we still had a long day ahead of us, we had agreed on being back at the Grey camping at 12 to have lunch. Being lucky we could even enjoy it in the sun that just made it from behind the mountains. With some new energy we could then continue with all our gear back to Paine Grande, where we had arrived by boat the previous day. It's difficult to say if it is more motivating or demotivating to know how the way looked like. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable even though the winds were strong. We took quite some breaks to enjoy the view of the many icebergs that had stranded on our side of the lake. Around 18:00 we arrived at the camping Paine Grande, set up our tents and had dinner.
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  • Day37

    W Trek Day 3: Paine Grande to Francés

    December 13, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    The weather started a bit questionable this morning and we didn't really know what to expect, partially because the weather forecast provided by the campsites was usually between 1 and 4 days old, and partially because this is Patagonia and the weather changes every minute, or so they famously say. The plan was to reach camping Italiano. Not to sleep there, but to decide whether from there we should attempt the climb up to the viewpoint Británico at the end of the Francés valley. Regardless of this decision, we'd finish the day at camping Francés.

    The first stretch went well and we soon took of our rain pants. At camping Italiano we heard that the weather in the valley was supposed to be ok that afternoon, so we happily took our heavy backpacks off, left them next to a hut, and repacked our small bags for what would be a tough climb of almost 600m over 5km. There were 2 other viewpoints on the way there but just to get to the first one seemed very tough due to the steep and technical trail which mainly consisted of wet lose slippery rocks and stones in all sizes. It started raining at some point as well, making Machiel fall for the trap of putting his rainpants on. It almost immediately stopped again, forcing Machiel into a double rainpants pitstop. When we finally made it to the first viewpoint, we fueled up with our daily lunch of wraps with salami and cheese, giving us the energy to continue.

    While Franzi had already proven that the emergency brownie she had eaten this morning gave her some superhero energy that made her quicker than ever, Machiel and Susanne were actually convinced they would not walk to the end of the trail but stop at viewpoint 2 out of 3. However, the trail got more walkable after lunch, the weather was amazingly sunny and the valley so beautiful walking next to a river in a very nice forest with once in a while views of the mountains and glaciers. So we couldn't actually resist and continued walking even though Susanne knew her knee would let her regret this decision later.

    Viewpoint Británico ended up being a huge flat rock in the middle of the end of the Francés valley from where we were surrounded by glaciers and interesting rock formations. A French couple we met earlier at Paine Grande nicely took some group pictures of us. We did however still had to walk back down, pick up our backpacks at Italiano and make our way to Francés, so we couldn't stay too long unfortunately.

    Camping Francés was in the middle of a hilly forest, and they had wooden platforms on which you could pitch your tent. The platforms provided nice flat surfaces but we were unlucky to get the two spots on the very top of the camping. This meant a steep almost 1 km hike to the bathroom and cooking area. What was also annoying was the fact that the kitchen area was approximately made for 3 out of 60 tents. And according to the rules of the national park (and what you get reminded about by signs literally everywhere) is that fire safety is the most important rule in the park due to the risk of forest fires, so guests are only allowed to cook in the designated cooking areas. Upon asking about where we then could cook, we were told we could also cook in a second cooking area, but this turned out to not only be even further down the hill but also not more than a picnic table in a very windy spot under a tree. Fire safety first... Haha. So we were quite annoyed by the fact that our gascooker flame went off over and over again while sitting in the cold waiting for food, and also knowing that we would spend 2 nights here.
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  • Day26

    Torres Del Paine W Trek... Day 2, Part 1

    November 27, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    We trekked from Chileno campsite along Lago Nordenskjóld to our 3rd campsite for the night at Refugio Francés. This day was the ''easy day'' apparently! It was another beautiful walk with mountains and the lake at our side the whole way, with a beach stop as well... Then came the unexpected climb to the campsite! We made it and yet again celebrated with a 3 course dinner with fellow hikers and a Pisco Sour! 😊😉 Just to add that the water was sooo clear and incredibly blue (honestly no filters here!) So all the flowing water here can be drank straight from the stream.Read more

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Torres del Paine

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