Torres del Paine Explorer

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Experience Patagonia's most stunning national park on foot


Duration: 6 Days
Starts in: Patagonia
Group Size: 2-6

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.


Drive from El Calafate to Puerto Natales

This morning you will be collected from your hotel in El Calafate and transferred to the bus station to join a public bus for the 5-6 hour drive south across the pampas following the Andes. After crossing the border at Cerro Castillo, we continue our way to Puerto Natales where we stay for the night. Overnight Weskar Lodge or similar.

Boat to Torres del Paine via Balmaceda Glacier

In the morning we leave Puerto Natales on a boat and set sail through the Última Esperanza Fjord. During the voyage, we enjoy the beauty of the fjords and can observe cormorant and sea lion colonies as well as condors. After about three hours we arrive to Balmaceda Glacier, which pours from the summit of Mount Balmaceda into the sea. We have plenty of time to enjoy the view from the boat and take photos. About 20 minutes later we arrive at Puerto Toro, the gateway to Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Here we walk to the viewpoint of Glacier Serrano. If we are lucky, we will be able to see blocks of ice calving and splashing into the lagoon below. After lunch we will receive a warm waterproof outfit and life jackets to enjoy the next part of our adventure. We board a semi-rigid boat and head up the Serrano River (approx 1 hour 40 minutes ) until we reach Salto Serrano. Here, we will change boats and continue our journey until we reach the Serrano River Section of Torres del Paine National Park. Overnight Hotel Paine or similar.

Trekking Valle del Frances

After an early breakfast we will be picked up at our hotel and will transfer to Refugio Pudeto to board a Catamaran and cross Lake Pehoe towards Paine Grande. After a 30 minute navigation we will start the trek towards the French Valley, which is surrounded by lakes, rivers and streams and offers a wonderful view of the Paine massif. The first two hours are easy walking until we reach the "Campamento Italiano" sector. The trek winds through the French River Valley to a beautiful viewpoint of the French Glacier (1,5 hours), then continues up the valley until we reach the "British Camp" and then "British Mirador", which offers one of the most stunning views of all in Torres del Paine National Park: Paine Grande, Cathedral, Leaf, Mask, Sword, Shark Fin and North Horn can be seen from here. We return on the same path to Lake Pehoe where we take a catamaran again. On the other side of the lake, our vehicle will already be waiting for us and will transfer us back to our hotel. Overnight Hotel Paine or similar.

Drive & Hike tour in Torres del Paine National Park

Today we will further explore the Torres del Paine National Park. We will have great views of the Paine Massif and if weather allows this is a great opportunity to take beautiful photos of the park. Later, we will stop to admire another symbol of the park: Cuernos del Paine (or Paine Horns). We will walk to Salto Grande, the biggest waterfall in Torres del Paine which is about 15 meters high. It is mainly known for its tremendous power and the powder blue colour of the water from all the sediment embedded in the glacier-fed waters. Salto Grande is also the connection between Nordenskjöld Lake and Pehoe Lake. Our last stop today is Grey Lake, where we will walk through a forest of Coigues, on a hanging bridge over the river Pingo and observe the different shapes and colours of floes floating in the lake. In the background we can see Paine Grande (Big Paine), the highest mountain of the Paine Massif and the stunning Grey Glacier, which is part of the Southern Ice Field (Campos de Hielo Sur). Overnight Las Torres Refugio or Torres Central Refugio or similar.

Base of the Towers Trek

When we first see the great granite pinnacles of Torres del Paine it is worth remembering that the Andes are the youngest chain of mountains in the world. One can imagine the great pressures and movements of the earth that created these spectacular vertical peaks. The trekking starts on the slopes of the Almirante Nieto Mountain that borders the River Ascensio. We make a pronounced ascent to arrive at the River Ascensio Valley and then a further two hour climb to reach the Chilean refuge. We continue our walk crossing the forest of coihues, a Chilean evergreen used for thatching, with the objective of reaching the base of Las Torres. This is a popular point for mountaineers to begin their climbing, with vertical faces of more than 880 metres. Later we arrive at the Las Torres viewpoint, a natural amphitheatre with magnificent views. This viewpoint is situated at the base of the vertical granite towers that are more than 2,700 metres high. Here we can see la Torre Sur, Central y Norte, el Nido de Cóndores and the North face of the Almirante Nieto Mountain. We can also see la Morena from here, a rocky formation that has an altitude of 1,000 metres. Finally we return by the same path. Duration: 7-8 hours round trip. Overnight Las Torres Refugio or Torres Central Refugio or similar.

Drive across Patagonia to Calafate where trip concludes

After an early breakfast we depart in a private vehicle to the bus station in Cerro Castillo where we take a public bus for our onward 3 hour journey across the border and the Patagonian Pampa back to El Calafate. Our trip concludes on arrival in El Calafate (bus terminal). We can organise a transfer to El Calafate airport if required (additional expense). Flights should not depart before 5pm.

Additional Information

From the comfort of either mountain lodges or simple refugios, this extension includes guided day walks in Chile’s magnificent Torres del Paine National Park. From our accommodation we explore the interior of the park where the Paine Massif dominates the scenery, and guanaco and rhea roam the pampas on the shores of azure glacial lakes. We enter the park on a boat cruise via the Balmaceda Glacier from Puerto Natales and leave on a bus, crossing the border to Argentina and the Patagonian Pampa before arriving back in El Calafate.


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