Multi-activity and self-guided 5-day adventure to Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park, involving boat trips in the Chilean Fjords, Serrano River and Grey Lake and hiking along the the world-famous 'W' trekking circuit. Optional horse-back riding activity is also available. Full board & multishare rooms at mountain huts [refugios].
2011/2012 rates from $895 per person. Daily departures from Puerto Natales, Chile - Optional transfers from El Calafate, Argentina or Punta Arenas, Chile.
Torres del Paine Multi Activity Adventure | 5 days | Trip Code TDP05
On this unique, self-guided, multi-activity adventure journey, you will be able to carry out an encompassing exploration of Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park, from a completely different perspective of the traditional visitor.
You will sail part of the Chilean Fjords, across the scenic waters of 'Ultima Esperanza' (The 'Last Hope') Fjord and will visit the remote 'Bernardo O'Higgins' National Park and its impressive Balmaceda Glacier. Afterwards, and on board RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) you will explore the pristine course of the Serrano River, entering Torres del Paine through its most hidden corners.
Finally, you will hike in Patagonia's premier trekking destination, the world-famous 'W' hiking circuit, a fantastic trail with countless highlights for the experienced and novice hiker, the keen nature photographer, and the active naturalist alike. On this unparalelled trail you will explore the most remote regions of Patagonia, having spectacular views of towering granite mountains, awe-inspiring glaciers, emerald-colored lakes and breathtaking skies.
This program includes full-board accommodation at 3 of the mountain huts (refugios) found along this trail, and related logistics including boat transport arrangements and bus transfers. An optional horse-back riding activity is also available, offering you a wide array of valuable active adventures in Patagonia.
• Boat trips across the Chilean Fjords and the pristine waters of Serrano River and Grey Lake.
• Access Torres del Paine National Park through an exciting RIB trip through the pristine Serrano River.
• 4-day trekking excursion to Torres del Paine National Park and the famous 'W' hiking trail. Optional additional day(s) available (see day-by-day itinerary).
• Optional horse-back riding adventure at Estancia Cerro Paine, right at the beginning of the 'W' trail - ride with gauchos!
• Full-board accommodation at 3 of the mountain huts (refugios) located along this famous park's trail.
This program departs daily from Puerto Natales, Chile. Available public and private transfers from Punta Arenas, Chile or El Calafate, Argentina.
The Difference of Traveling with FS Expeditions:
• Full flexibility by giving you the chance to choose the dates that are most suitable for your travel plans.
• Leave the hassle of booking at individual companies and related transportation logistics in the hands of local tour operator, that will be responsible for every trip arrangement. We will also be available if you need assistance in the field.
Torres del Paine Multi-Activity Adventure can be combined with one of the following optional extensions:
• King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego (2 days, 1 night), our exciting new program to see the 'Lords of Patagonia';
• Torres del Paine Explorer (3 to 5-day private trips) supplement your hiking adventure by allowing you to explore the eastern and western sectors of the park and have close encounters with the wildlife;
• Tierra del Fuego & Cape Horn Expedition Cruise (4 and 5 days), discover the wildlife and landscapes of the world's end, following Darwin's footsteps.
Day 1 • Boat trip 'Ultima Esperanza' Fjord & 'Balmaceda Glacier' ('Bernardo O'Higgins' National Park) - RIB trip along Serrano River - 'Torres del Paine' National Park and transfer to Laguna Amarga
Our adventure starts from Puerto Natales at 8am. We will board our comfortable and fast vessel 'Tonina' and will start our 2-hour journey through the scenic waters of 'Ultima Esperanza' ('Last Hope') Fjord. This deep fjord is very productive in terms of wildlife and we will have great chances of seeing quite a few birds including Black-necked Swans, Black-faced Ibis, Chilean Skua, King Cormorants and even the impressive Andean Condor, which usually soars these turbulent skies and nests in inaccessible cliffs; we may see South American Sea Lion as well as the endemic Chilean Dolphin.This part of the journey can be windy due to the prevailing westerly-winds coming from the Andes and the icefields.
Our destination will be the omnipresent 'Mount Balmaceda' and its impressive glaciers: 'Balmaceda' and 'Serrano'. Dense evergreen temperate forests cover the coastal slopes; the richness of colors will soon call our attention as we realize how blue is the dense ice from the glacier fronts. We will be at the fringes of the huge 'Bernardo O'Higgins' National Park. Here, we will have the chance to walk through a short interpretation trail into the woodlands, ending in a viewpoint from which we will get lovely views of the secluded 'Serrano Glacier'.
We will leave 'Tonina' and shift transportation; this time we will board the RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) in order to go up the Serrano river. The crew will provide high-performance clothing for this ride, which eventually will take us into Torres del Paine. This will be another swift 2-hour journey, and we will be delighted by the pristine landscapes and vistas. One of the highlights of the trip will be a stop to see the remote and unknown Tyndall Glacier; we will see the intriguing and inspiring Paine Massif peaks closer and closer. After lunch we will officially be at Torres del Paine National Park, our base for the following 5 days. After your official entrance, by paying the park fee and filling your entry form, you will be transferred to Refugio Torre Central. Afterwards you will have time to relax and explore the surroundings as well as to look at your map and study your route for the next days. The mountain huts (refugios) have a nice and friendly atmosphere; there are ample common areas with great views of the towering peaks, and some of the rooms have good views as well. Here you will meet the friendly "refugio" staff, mostly local, which will make their best in order to provide good service and food. The refugios offer shared facilities and each room have 6 bunks. After dinner you can socialize with other guests, but be aware that the lights will be turned off around 11pm.
Day 2 • Hike to 'Las Torres' base
This is your chance to see your first sunrise in the park; have your cameras ready and batteries properly charged in order to enjoy and photograph this great nature spectacle; the first sun rays give the characteristic orange coloration to the granite walls of the Paine towers. You can start your hike to the base of the towers around 8, right after breakfast. This is a full day hike and it has the reputation of being one of the most strenuous in the entire park. The path steadily climbs the foothills of Almirante Nieto Mount for 1.5 hours. Then you will see the dramatic Ascencio Canyon, one of the valleys that dissect the Paine Massif from west to east. You will pass through secondary woodlands along the Ascencio river, and will have great views of the hanging glaciers of Nieto Mount and the contrasting rock layers of Paine Mount. An impressive morraine will block your view of the "Towers" for a while. This part of the trail has to be done with extreme caution and slow pace; it takes nearly 45 minutes of steady climb until you will gain height and have the most impressive view of the Paine towers. This is the grande finale of the hike. Huge boulders surround the hidden lagoon at the very base of the mountains; its greenish water is loaded with glacier sediment. From here you can study the different shades of the granite rock. Then you will start you hike back to Refugio Torre Central, appr. 3.5 hours, following the same trail.
Day 3 • Optional horse-back riding trip - Hike to Refugio 'Los Cuernos'
This morning you will have the chance of venturing on a short horse-back riding trip (app. 3 hours) around Estancia 'Cerro Paine'; this activity is entire optional and at extra cost - we suggest you to ride an explore the vicinity of the 'estancia' and Lake Nordeskjöld (this name honors Otto Nordenskjöld, accomplished geologist and explorer of the area).
You will continue the hike along the "W" trail but this time you will move in direction south-west. This is the beggining of the Nordenskjöld Lake, part of the park's fluvial system, which is entirely connected by Rio Paine (Paine River). From here you will have fantastic views of "Almirante Nieto" Mount and its dramatic foldings of the sedimentary rock. Along the northern edge of the lake, the view angle will dramatically change according you keep moving and shortly you will see the "Cuernos" (or Horns). There are several viewpoints from where you will have spectacular views of the surrounding lakes and the distant Andes mountains located in the southern fringes of the park. The vegetation will change also, and you will see Chilean Firebush (Protea family) and its dazzling scarlet-red flowers among a good selection of montane flora. Soaring condors on this part of the trail will offer great chances for photography and study. After nearly 4 hours you will reach Refugio Los Cuernos, and its great setting at the base of the mountains. From the refugio you will be marvelled by the impressive views of the granite walls of Los Cuernos and part of Paine Grande (Big Paine Mount) at the distance. Don't forget to see the great sunsets with dramatic lenticular cloud formations and the granite walls glowing with the sunrise light.
NOTE: This part can be one of the windiest of the whole trail as most of the path is exposed to the katabatic winds. Are you interested to learn what is katabatic?
O/N Refugio Los Cuernos, Torres del Paine. (B,L,D).
Day 4 • Hike to 'Valle del Francés'
You will start your day with a two hour hike to the "Italian Camp", located along the Rio Frances (French's River). From here you will have commanding views of the huge hanging glacier of Paine Grande (the Big Paine Mount), tallest peak in the park (3,050 m | 10,000 ft.). Avalanches are often heard and you can even see them at the distance (at the other side of the River!), these avalanches feed an ever-growing piedmonte glacier and there is a large melting at its base; you will see huge volumes of fast-moving water flowing towards the river. You will keep ascending two to three hours up the Valle del Francés (French Valley), until you literraly walk along a lateral morraine. A spectacular mountain formation awaits, one of the finest in Patagonia, and you will realize that is no need to reach the very beginning of the valley to see this; just a short distance from Italian Camp you will be amazed by the grand mountain scenario.There is a fantastic amphitheatre of granite spires, the least-known park's peaks but also several of the most beautiful and a fantastic location for landscape photography. You will have unusual angles of the Paine "Horns", the "Mask", the "Blade" and the "Sword". In terms of wildlife the striking Torrent Duck is often seen along the river rapids. Lots of orchids and an interesting array of montane flowers are usually found along the path. After some time for silence and appreciation, you will descend towards Refugio Paine Grande (nearly 2 hours from Italian Camp); this is an easy and relatively level walk.
O/N Refugio Paine Grande, Torres del Paine. (B,L,D).
Day 5 • Hike to Lago Grey - Boat trip to Grey Glacier - Transfer to Puerto Natales
From Refugio 'Paine Grande' it takes between 3-4 hours to reach the Refugio Grey. The path ascends for an hour and then descends along the eastern side of the lake. Impressive indigo-colored icebergs drift towards the other side of the lake, driven by impressive gales. You will be walking along the formation source of the entire Paine Massif; impressive layers and folds which here are rather vertical than horizontal as well as feeding dykes, granite intrusions and deformed sedimentary rock layers talk about the dramatic origin of these magnificent set of mountains. The Paine Massif is very young in comparison to the much eroded Andes that you can see beyond the glaciers towards the west and north. You can have your picnic lunches and wait at Refugio Grey for the boat that will allow you to approach to the impressive front of Grey Glacier, one of the most impressive glaciers of the whole Patagonian Icefield, yet one of the most rapidly receading. If you are lucky you can even see some calving from its heavily-crevassed front. From here your boat will take you to the Hosteria Lago Grey and then you will have a short transfer (10 miles) to the park's headquarters. From there you will take a connecting regular bus service (6.30pm), arriving to Puerto Natales around 10pm. (B,L).
Codes: B=Breakfast; L=Lunch/Box-lunch; D=Dinner; G=Guide.
• W Circuit without a guide? See what the forums say. Click here.
• Another good introduction to this famous hiking trail. Click here.
2011 - 2012 Dates:
Available from mid-September 2011 through April 2012.
Meet/Depart: Daily departures from Puerto Natales, Chile. Optional transfers to/from El Calafate, Argentina or Punta Arenas, Chile (Please inquire).
Trips are guaranteed to depart with no minimum of participants.
Rates (you choose the date, mid September 2011 through late April 2012):
|Torres del Paine Multi-Activity Adventure 2011-2012
Multishare room: 6 people in bunkstyle rooms w/ shared bathroom facilities
| Trip Length
| Price per person
- The above prices are per person in US$.
- The refugios have normally 6 bunks per room. See refugio descriptions.
- Christmas & New Year's Eve dinner have an extra charge of $20 per person
Do you want us to arrange your stay in Puerto Natales?
Book our Torres del Paine Multi-Activity program and you will get a 10% discount on the room rates.
Our recommended hotels and hostels in Puerto Natales. Rooms with private facilities, including breakfast.
| Type of Room
||Hostel Laguna Azul
| Double Room
||$198 (high) / $114 (low)
| Single Room
||$135 (high) / $94 (low)
Do you want us to arrange your flights to Punta Arenas, Chile?
Please ask us. We can do that for you.
What the trip includes/excludes
Single supplement will be added if single accommodations are requested.
The trip price includes: All accommodations and meals as stated in the itinerary, boat trip tickets (Ultima Esperanza Fjord, Serrano River and Lago Grey), transfers inside the park (Park headquarters to Estancia Cerro Negro and Hosteria Lago Grey to Park headquarters), and tickets on scheduled buses to/from Torres del Paine.
The trip price excludes: Park entrance fees (US$ 30 per person), horse-back riding excursion (add US$ 95), domestic flights, tipping, travel insurance, entrance tax to Chile, excess baggage charges, private excursions, à la carte dishes, snacks, drinks, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature.
To register for this tour, complete the Fantástico Sur Expeditions registration form and return it (by email or fax). Full payment of the tour fee is due 60 days prior to tour departure.
Cancellation Policy: Notice of cancellation can only be accepted IN WRITING from the person who signed the booking form and takes effect on the day such noticed is received by us.
Refunds are made according to the following schedule:
If cancellation is made 60 days or more before departure date, the trip fees less 30% is refundable.
If cancellation is made fewer than 59 days before departure date, no refund is available.
This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post trip extensions, as well as any transfers from one tour to another. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself.
Check out the descriptions and set of images of the mountain lodges we use on this hiking | trekking itinerary and their comfortable facilities.
Refugio Las Torres, Torres del Paine
Refugio "Las Torres" is located at the starting point of the many hiking excursions that make this park, a true mecca for hikers, adventurers and explorers from all over the world. Among the best-known hiking trails is the hike to the base of the Towers (Base de las Torres), the long "O" round-circuit, and of course, the spectacular and popular "W" Circuit.
The lodge (or refugio) is a meeting point of hikers from different corners of the planet and the local people. Here you will have the opportunity to rent horses, learn how to rock climb or have a bath in a hot tub with an amazing view, among several other services. This "refugio" is divided into two buildings (plus a camping site) as described below:
Refugio Torre Central
This is the main and the newest building of this mountain lodge facility. The lodge have 54 beds plus a restaurant, a bar, two lounge rooms, a souvenir shop and a store. This section of the lodge offers slightly better comfort and infrastructure than the more older Refugio Torre Norte.
Refugio Torre Norte
This building is situated only a few yards from the Refugio Torre Central and has 64 beds, a bar and a lounge room. All the meals are served at Refugio Torre Central.
This is a mountain lodge and as such it offers shared rooms, each one having six bunks. There are spacious shared bathrooms (with WC and hot showers) for gents and ladies.
For this program you can bring your sleeping bag or we can arrange a proper bed (with sheets and blankets) ready for your arrival. This "treat" is available at most of the different "refugios". Try to minimize the weight of your backpack; don't bring too much camping gear as you will spend each night on a refugio, with cozy bedrooms and cooking facilities. Bring your camera, memory cards, battery chargers, and even a light tripd instead!
Refugio Los Cuernos, Torres del Paine
This refugio is located along the shores of Lake Nordenskjöld,approximately 4 hours hike from Refugio Torre Central.The lodge is surrounded by beech forests and scrub vegetation, but it is renowned by its setting; its is flanked by the impressive granite walls of the Cuernos del Paine (the Horns). This mountain lodge facility has 32 bunks, a restaurant, shared bathrooms (separate facilities for gents and ladies) and a camping site.
Refugio Paine Grande, Torres del Paine
This mountain lodge can hold up to 100 people, distributed into 23 bedrooms with 2-3 bunks each. The rooms have fantastic views over Pehoe Lake, Paine Grande Mount, the French Valley and the eastern side of the Paine Horns.
Each bedroom has comfortable bunk beds and drawers for storing gear. The toilets, located on the first and second floor, are equipped with sinks, toilets and hot showers, and there are separate facilities for men and women.
Refugio Grey, Torres del Paine
This lodge is located just a few minutes walk from Grey Glacier, at the end of the W circuit. The refugio has a restaurant, and 30 beds, arranged in comfortable bedrooms; all bunk beds are located on the second floor. The shared bathrooms are on the first floor, and there are separate facilities for men and women and all equipped with toilets and hot showers.
Check out our set of images from recent trips to the "W" Circuit in Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park.