Aug 6, 2012|
Last updated on October 15th, 2020 at 07:30 am
Torres del Paine is one of South America’s premier destinations. With its granite spires, glacial lakes, and ice-capped peaks. It’s no wonder why its a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Its ruggedness is in part due to its remote location at the southern tip of South America. Where the Andes Mountains begin their eastward curve towards Tierra del Fuego. Here’s How to get to Torres del Paine, with advice from a Patagonia Travel expert.
How to get there
Getting to Torres del Paine takes a bit of effort. There are no direct airports serving the national park and there are few connections between Argentina and Chile. The easiest way to reach Torres del Paine is to fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park – and the best place to stock up on last-minute sundries and it’s about 3.f hours away by road.
Most travelers coming from or continuing onto Argentina combine a visit to Torres del Paine with El Calafate when they Visit Argentina. This overland crossing, passing through nearly deserted Patagonian Steppe, is a convenient way both Chile and Argentina.
Cruises to Torres del Paine
For ship-bound travelers, there are ways to combine travel to the park with scenic cruises. Departing from Ushuaia, the “southernmost city in the world,” the Ventus Australis crosses fjords in and around Tierra del Fuego en route to Punta Arenas, tracing some of the passages Magellan and his crew explored.
This area is rich in natural beauty and wildlife, such as Magellanic Penguins, Cormorants, and Elephant Seals. Also, read our Waters of Patagonia Cruise itinerary.
Adventures in the park
For those with a more adventurous streak, why not take a motorized zodiac boat through glacial-fed lakes up the Serrano River into the southern entrance of Torres del Paine? Departing from Punta Arenas, travel along desolate roads amid the stunning scenery of Tierra del Fuego. Stopping at a nearby penguin colony (when in season) for a close-up view of thousands of Magellanic Penguins.
Continue on by zodiac motorboats along the Serrano River, surrounded by the stunning glacial landscapes of the National Park. View the Trekking in Torres del Paine Tour, which includes a cruise in zodiac boats on the Serrano River. The extra effort to get there is worthwhile.
Many travelers backpack through the park on the 5-day “W” route, camping each night or staying in refugios. The Trekking in the park includes 4 days of trekking 5-7 miles each day, with accommodations in Refugio and in Puerto Natales.
Note that because of the harsh weather in southern Chile, the best times to visit is October-April.
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