CLASSIC W TREK

Classic 7 Day W Trek – Torres del Paine

7 Days from 2400 ex Punta Arenas

Accommodation

4 nights Eco-Camping (Glamping), 2 nights refugios

Transportation

Mostly by foot (some bicycle)
Transfers via vehicle & boat

Included Meals

6 Breakfasts
7 Lunches
6 Dinners

Trip Grade

Category 3
High Heart Rate Holiday

There’s a gentle crunch underfoot as we pad our way across the valley floor, a fresh fall of snow having blanketed the landscape in a sea of white.

Then it hits me.

But for my own panting, that crunching is the only sound at all.

There’s not a breath of wind.

My breath unfurls before my face, like curls of smoke in the cold winter air.

The patchy blue sky appears threatened at any moment by a haze of dark grey hovering above.

At any moment could this place feel like purgatory, but wow, is it beautiful!

“On South America’s southern frontier, nature grows wild, barren and beautiful. Spaces are large, as are the silences that fill them.

For the newly arrived, such emptiness can be as impressive as the sight of Patagonia’s jagged peaks, pristine rivers and dusty backwater oases.

Lonely Planet

Unleash your adventurous side on this multi-sport extravaganza, exploring beautiful Torres del Paine by foot, bike, kayak and horseback, followed by relaxing nights under the stars at EcoCamp with good food and (we hope) even better company!

“In Patagonia, the isolation makes it easy to exaggerate the person you are: the drinker drinks; the devout prays; the lonely grows lonelier, sometimes fatally.”

Bruce Chatwin,  In Patagonia

Reflection,Of,Cuernos,Del,Paine,At,Lake,Pehoe,-,Torres
Torres del Paine portrait

The Journey

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 Calafate (see our weekly transfer board for EcoCamp’s pick up & drop off schedule). 


En route we make a couple of stops – 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. (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 appetizer 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.  (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.

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. . (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 calving 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.

Returning on foot to Paine Grande, we’ll take a catamaran to Pudeto’s dock, from where we’re driven back to Ecocamp.  (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?

Once finished feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp. (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!

(B, L, D)

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.

Alternatively, we board an early morning vehicle to the border to continue our journey to El Calafate. (B, L)

Season

September through to April

NOTE: Children must be a minimum 16 years old

Includes

  • 4 nights at EcoCamp Patagonia (Standard Domes – Upgrades Available to Suite or Superior rooms)
  • 2 nights in Refugios
  • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • Park fees for Cueva del Milodon and Torres del Paine National Park
  • One expert English speaking trekking guide
  • The porter service for this trip (see note in Pre Departure Information)
  • All meals as indicated in itinerary (Breakfast – B, Lunch – L and Dinner – D)

Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance (this is mandatory)
  • Personal spending money
  • Tips for General Guides
  • Any meals not listed as included
  • Domestic Flights (to Punta Arenas return or one way)

Your Guides and Safety

An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. Our handpicked professionals come from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor experience, a knowledge of the mountains in which you’ll walk, and a passion for the beautiful country that is Chile.

The guide will ensure that your trip is truly inspiring, a huge amount of fun, and safe. All guides are trained in Safety First Aid and are connected to our Chile and Melbourne offices by satellite phone.

Accommodation

This is predominantly a glamping expedition, but with something of a twist.

Eco Camp Patagonia is more akin to a glamping experience, so look forward to one of the more comfortable camping experiences of your life. We only use Superior Domes which have an attached ensuite. Upgrades from this are available on request.

Some nights will be spent in Refugios along the trail. These are basic, but clean and provide us welcome shelter from the elements.

Extra Nights Accomodation

The Eco Camp in Torres del Paine is an amazing place and many people like to stay on for a few more days after their expedition to soak up the atmosphere and to explore the region further.

If you would like to extend your stay please let us know and we can arrange this for you.

“This vast, sparsely populated and simply astonishing region encompassing virgin forests; snow-tipped Andean crags that serve as a dividing line between the two countries; myriad glacial lakes; and immense stretches of pampas (grasslands).

Most of Patagonia’s biggest attractions are outdoorsy – from epic road trips and multi-day treks, to glaciers, prehistoric art and penguin colonies”

Anna Kaminski, Freelance Travel Writer

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