Torres del Paine is a national park that is situated in the southern row of the Andes and accentuates mountains, glaciers, and lakes. Torres del Paine is a Spanish words which means Towers of Paine. The word ‘Paine’ is the old genuine name for the colour blue. There, you are able to see the wonderful view with flora and fauna as well. Seven documented species and also 85 non-native plant species are worth it to see. You will see 15 kinds of birds species such as austral pygmy-owl, magellanic horned owl, chimango caracara, cinereous harrier, rufous-tailed hawk, black-chested buzzard-eagle, and Andean condor. Besides, guanacos, foxes, pumas, Chilean Huemul, rheas, and south Andean deer can be the coolest things that you can see and even you can capture them using your camera.
You don’t want to miss the chance to see those amazing flora and fauna, right? You can visit Torres del Paine. There, you can trek, voyage, sea kayak, horseback riding, ice walking, and bird watching. If you want to trek, there are several best trekking trails in Torres del Paine.
- Grey Glacier and Lago de Grey
The distance is about 12 km and duration is about 5.5 hours. Grey Glacier is located in the north of and flows to the south into the lake with the same name. The trail traces the lakeshore offer the wonderful view of the glacier and the dramatic Paine massif as well.
- Paso Los Cuernos
The distance is about 11 km and the duration of trekking is about 4.5 hours. This path is more relaxed. It follows the north shore of Lago Nordenskjol. It is not really steep and it also does not make the occasional trekker work hard. It initiates from Campamento Italiano, the Paso Los Cuernos strings the way between Cuernos del Paine massif and the sapphire lake underneath. Along trekking, you will enjoy the view of the serrated peaks that emphasize Patagonia with the gentle and peaceful lake.
- Mirador Las Torres
The distance is about 8 km and the duration of trekking can take about 4.5 hours. The trails will take you to the Base de las Torres. If you come in the right weather, you are able to get the most perfect photograph. It can be said that this is the most famous of Torres del Paine hiking trails because it has dazzling form and shape.
- Valle del Frances
The distance is about 10 km and the duration of trekking is about 6 hour round trip. French Valley is a natural basin that is surrounded by the black slate ‘horns’ of the Cuernos del Paine. There, you are able to trek below the Cerro Paine slopes that is covered by glacier. You will also take in panoramic vistas from the west side of sweep of mountains.
- The W
The distance is about 60 to 84 km and the duration of trekking will be about 4 to 5 days. W trek is the most popular hiking route in Patagonia with the granite towers which give the park its name the outstanding feature. When you do Torres del Paine W trek, it normally starts from the eastern starting point at Refugio Las Torres to Refugio Paine Grande in the west. It will pass 3 valleys, making the W shape that gives the name of it and in every valley, there are iconic sights of the park. They are the Ascencio Valley, the French Valley, and Lago Grey. The Ascencio Valley will be reached first if you trek from the east. It will takes you all the way to the base of the popular towers. The French Valley is the center spur of the W and it is dominated by the glacier Frances that is hanging which breaks and shatters above you when you climb the terrain that is rocky and though into its heart. The Lago Grey is the last leg of the traditional W. There, cobalt ice floats on the meltwater will lead you up to the surface of the large Grey Glacier that spans to the ice cap.
- The Circuit
The distance is about 130 km and the duration will take 7 to 9 days, permitting additional time to linger at the campsite beneath Paso John Gardner because it can be very dangerous if you cross during high winds. It also can be the best time to take a rest.
If you intend to visit Torres del Paine and even you want to do Torres del Paine trek, you are able to do that between November and April because at that time, the season is spring and summer in the southern hemisphere. Nevertheless, you have to be careful and always prepare everything because sometimes the weather is inconstant and can turn dramatically.
What do the hikers need for hiking in Torres del Paine? Beside having a good health and travel insurance as well, there are several things that you should prepare before trekking in Torres del Paine.
If you want to get the best experience while trekking in Torres del Paine, moreover if the duration of trekking will take several days like trekking in W, you must do camping. So, you have bring tent that is lightweight, spacious and should have aluminium poles because there will be strong winds.
- Trekking Backpack
You must use a hiking backpack that is comfortable which is completed with options to attach mat and tent.
- Bus to Torres del Paine
The starting point for the park is in the small town called Puerto Natales in Chile which is located 112 km south of the National Park and it offers regular transfer with buses who set out from the terminal of the bus.
- The information of weather conditions, seasons and clothes to bring as well
You have to know that in Patagonia you can have everything in one day which means snow, sun and rain. You will deal with very strong winds which is up to more than 100 km/h. In the summer season, you must prepare for facing the temperatures until below 0 degree Celsius. In winter, it will be very cold. That’s why it is recommended to trek during October or November and March or April to evade the crowds. In Torres del Paine, the high season survives from 1st of October to 30th of April and the low season from 1st of May to 30th of September. Even though the park is open all year but most trails, refugios and camp site will be closed in winter (May-August). So, if you want to go trekking, checking the weather is a must and you also have to prepare for quick change of weather.
Actually, what food that you should bring is individual. But, the content of your backpack must be as light as possible because food will be the heaviest thing. You can bring porridge, dry fruits, tea/coffee, cereal bars, nuts, rice or pasta, and something sweet like chocolate to make your mood good. Lightweight freeze dried meals are also a good choice to bring at your trekking. You can enter the food into Zip-Lock bags. For drinking, beside you can bring mineral water from home, actually you can drink from the streams. You will find a stream in every 20 minutes when you are trekking. If you want to take water from the streams at the campsites or at the busier parts, it is better for you to go a bit up the stream and use a steripen to purify the water.
The cost is also something that has to be prepared. You must calculate the total of this trip since you go from your home. In high season the entrance fee is 18.000 CLP which means 6 USD and in low season for foreigner the entrance fee is 10.000 CLP. Children must pay 500, meanwhile Chileans must pay 3.000 CLP.
Because the scenery is very outstanding, bringing camera is a must.
- The other things
The other things that you do not forget to bring is toiletries, a kit that contains small flashlight, multi-tool knife, and plastic bag for wet clothes, compass, small gas cooker, personal medication, plasters, knee braces, phone, phone charger, electrical adapter, paperwork like plane ticket, passport, travel insurance details, US Dollars or Chilean Pesos, phone number of tour operator and hotel.
So, if you have intention to do hiking Torres del Paine W circuit for example, don’t forget to bring the important things and you must prepare everything because trekking will need a lot of energy and great health. You also must search the latest information of Torres del Paine especially the trail that will you use for trekking. Perhaps, some of you imagine that it will be tiring and need complicated preparation. Of course, it will. But you have to note that your fatigue will be paid by the wonderful view of the place.