Patagonia, Chile [the w trek] | TRAVEL GUIDE
THINGS TO KNOW
Visa Nothing is needed before you leave for up to 90 days.
Cash Have plenty on hand before you leave, Argentinean pesos aren't accepted in Chile so you'll need to have both. There are also no ATMs and cash is crucial. It might also be helpful to carry some American $$.
Seasons The park is open all year round, however the "best" season to visit is from October to April - Spring and Summer. We were there in late December and it was perfect. You'll have more sunny days with less rain and more than 16 hours of natural light [the sun went down at 10pm!]
Bus Tickets Buy in advance wherever possible. If you're not able to, be at the bus station when they open to avoid lines, crowds and selling out.
Book lodging in advance [by up to 6 months] While the campgrounds are much easier to reserve, the refugios do book up quickly. They have warm meals (wine/beer too) at nights and lunches for you during the day.
TORRES DEL PAINE, W TREK:
There are multiple ways to access this trek, I am just sharing how we chose to do it:
- Fly to Buenos Aires
** if you stay for a few days, check out my BA guide
- Fly to El Calafate [3 hours from BA]
- Bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales [5 hours]
- Purchase your tickets ahead of time here.
- Bus to Torres Del Paine National Park [3+ hours]
- Buy a round trip ticket at the bus station in Puerto Natales so that you will have a way to get home after your trek.
where to sleep
The w trek offers both camping and refugios [small dorm like cabins] – depending on your preference. They will provide your food and drinks if you choose "full room and board" option, this is available to both campers and those staying in the refugios.
El Calafate La Cantera Boutique Hotel
DURING THE TREK
W Trek Night 1:
El Chileno Tucked alongside a flowing river and is one of the coziest spots on the trek, sleeping is hostel style with a bunk bed in a room of 8+
W Trek Night 2:
Cabanas Las Cuernos They offer private cabins and have a hot tub! Or Dome Frances, a bit further down the trail and is where we stayed -great food and gets you a head start for the next day.
W Trek Night 3:
Refugio Paine Grande One of the bigger refugios with a full bar and private rooms. This is also where you will take the ferry back to the start of the trek, where you then catch the bus back to Puerto Natales.
W Trek Night 4:
Vertice Grey Shelter gets you right up to the glacier grey, and has an epic front deck
EL CHALTEN & MOUNT FITZ ROY
Unfortunately we did not have the time to travel to this region, but it's absolutely on our list for next time. We heard the flyfishing and hiking are both awesome, and the town is really cool.
WHAT TO PACK
We were in Patagonia during the summer and the weather changed almost every hour – you need to be prepared for any and everything!
- Beanie, scarf and bandana and sunglasses
- Leggings (x2)
- Hiking boots [a mid rise option]
- A comfortable pack: i've had this one for years and love the way it rests on my hips
- Evening pants
- Shell jacket
- Layers! I brought a vest, a fleece and flannel
- Good sunscreen
- Good socks
- Waterproof pack over
- Warm waterproof jacket [I love this kids jacket, it fit me with a size XL. Kyle wore this and loved it.]
- Durable pants for if the weather turns
- Comfortable shoes for when you are not hiking [i brought these and these]