It is hard to describe natural beauty in few words, a picture for the eyes, breathtaking, impossible to criticise. When you see Torres del Paine National Park, those words seemingly fit the description of one of Chile’s natural wonders.
You see the photos of the mountain, glaciers, lakes and rivers all-encompassing Torres del Paine National Park, but until you see it in person, you certainly understand the nametag as one of the ‘eighth wonders of the world’.
The 448,000 acres of green can be located in the Magallanes Region, close to the border with Argentina. It has been one of the main attractions in Chile and attracts over 220,000 visitors each year. The main feature is the Cordillera del Paine, a small mountain group, however, there are plenty more to see when travelling to the area.
This article will give you a brief guide to the basics and information you will need to know when travelling to the site.
A Point on the Map
To get to that point of the map is to fly into Punta Arenas Airport, with a changeover in Santiago, and then travel by car into the national park.
Punta Arenas is located around 360 kilometres away from the peace and tranquillity of the park, with many tours and recommendations advising travellers to make a stop in the nearby town of Puerto Natales. The Route 9 and Route Y-290 are the hour or two drive to get to your final destination.
Soak It Up or Get Up, Close and Personal
Once there are two choices if ever visiting the park. You can either take a day or two to truly be at peace or you can hike for a period of a week or two.
That decision to hike will involve either taking the W Circuit trail or the O Circuit trail, with W being the shorter of the two and often recommended to the less experienced hiker. Many tour packages can offer you that experience or there is an option to hike without a guide.
If the tent is not your thing, the locals have accommodated the tourists and built a place to allow yourself to relax. There are also tour packages, such as horseback riding, see wildlife, tread ice with the glaciers or explore the waterways.
A Place to Stay
The appeal is so much that purpose-built hotels are located on the edge of the national park. Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Hotel Río Serrano, Hotel Las Torres Patagonia and Explora Patagonia all offer a little bit of luxury when you are surrounded by the wilderness.
Architectural wonders that don’t stand out amongst the colours of nature but simply allows you to take full advantage of the wonder in front of you.
The site is opened all year round with the hotels relying on trade in the winter months as much as the popular summer months. Summer, referred to as high season, in the region runs from October to April, with winter or low season running the remainder of the year.
The one thing you need to enter the national park is money otherwise you will be turned away. The requirement for a foreign adult is 21,000 CLP ($33) in the summer months and 11,000 CLP ($17) during the winter. These fees are often included in any tour package and will likely be paid before entering.
The next vital item is a camera, ensuring you get yourself that picture perfect moment that has been photographed so many times but never gets old. Appropriate clothing, shelter if hiking and the basic necessities are also required.
Many more items can be included in your luggage but make sure you leave enough room to take away the memories and photos. Something that you will never get bored of sharing.