Torres del Paine protects a dramatic landscape of rugged peaks, shimmering glaciers and windswept grasslands. The terrain is wild and rugged in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with endless opportunities to hike, camp, kayak and summit mountains.
Things to do in Torres del Paine
The landscapes in Torres del Paine are amazingly varied and range from dense forests to turquoise lakes and ice-blue glaciers. A trio of granite rock towers soar over the 1,800 square kilometre park. Hike to the Mirador Las Torres for breathtaking views of the towers. Mirador Nordenskjold is another fantastic lookout with beautiful vistas over the surrounding mountains and lake.
Torres del Paine is a sanctuary for rare South American wildlife like guanacos. The llama-like animals are part of the camel family and can be seen grazing on the grasslands. Andean condors over the mountains and South American ostriches called “rheas” strut around the lowlands. Puma tracking tours are a unique chance to see the wild cats in their natural habitat.
Base yourself in Puerto Natales, a lively town filled with cafes, restaurants and outdoor shops. Tour operators offer guided hiking trips through the park, including the famous W Trek. The trail winds through the park and takes around four to five days to complete. Sleep under the stars in a tent or splurge on a luxury package complete with cosy mountain cabins, cooked meals and hot showers.
After a day of adventure, return to Puerto Natales for a hearty meal. Spit roast lamb is a local specialty. The best restaurants cook with log fires which gives the meat a rich, smoky flavour. Sip a cup of “yerba mate” for an instant energy boost. The herbal tea is packed with caffeine and has an earthy aroma.
Getting around Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine can be explored independently or on guided tours. Puerto Natales is compact and easy to get around on foot. Most travellers arrive by bus from Punta Arenas, where you’ll find flights to Santiago de Chile. The bus takes around three hours.