Torres del Paine Private Guided Tour

Torres del Paine National Park, located in the southern reaches of Chile, is home to breathtaking scenery and some of the most famous hikes in the world. 

There is a lot of information on the W Trek and camping in “refugios,” with tents and shared bathrooms, but if you’re like me and too old for such endeavours, keep reading for tips on a hassle-free visit to this stunning national park.

Hiking the W Trek in Torres del Paine Without Camping

First off, it is possible to do all 3 of the famous W Trek hikes (Las Torres, French Valley, and Glacier Grey) as day hikes from a stylish lodge located inside or just outside of the park.  If you plan on doing all 3, we recommend doing this over a minimum of 5-nights to include a rest day as 2 out of the 3 hikes are 20 or more kilometers (12.5 miles) long.  There is plenty to see and do when not hiking and have included the 5-night itinerary we followed below.

We highly recommend hiring a private guide for your entire visit.  Your guide will arrange everything; tickets, permits, transportation, packed lunches, and of course, show you the way on the trails.  It will also allow you to hike at your own pace and see the things you wish to see, which is often difficult to do when you are with a group of people with different abilities and interests.  Your guide will be a wealth of knowledge on the local flora and fauna, history, and almost everything else about the area, further rounding out your experience.  With limited accommodations in or near the park, it will also give you the best chance of securing lodgings, especially during peak season, as most of the space is pre-booked by tour operators or the hotels themselves who offer their own packaged group tours. 

We should also mention that Torres del Paine isn’t just for avid hikers.  There are numerous lookouts and vistas throughout the park and other activities to enjoy such as shorter walks and hikes, horseback riding, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.  For our trip, we decided to mix it up and did the following itinerary.

6-Day/5-Night Itinerary for Torres Del Paine

  • Day 1 – Arrive in Puerto Natales. Relax, fuel up, and get a good night’s sleep. 
  • Day 2 – Hike Mirador Las Torres.
  • Day 3 – Short hike to Mirador Condor, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing inside the park.
  • Day 4 – Hike French Valley.
  • Day 5 – Hike Glacier Grey one-way with return trip by boat.
  • Day 6 – Horseback ride through the pampa. Return to Puerto Natales.

How to Get to Torres del Paine

There are 2 main jumping off points for Torres del Paine, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.  We chose to fly into Puerto Natales for its proximity to the park.  Puerto Natales is a charming, quiet, and relaxing little town perched on the Straits of Magellan with great restaurants and plenty of accommodations ranging from budget to luxury.  It is also home to the Mylodon Cave.  If you’re wondering what mylodons are, they are giant ground sloths that used to inhabit this area before becoming extinct over 10,000 years ago.

Things to Know When Visiting Torres del Paine

Aside from the spectacular scenery, here are some things that you may not know about visiting Torres del Paine. 

  • You’ll likely encounter gale force winds so pack accordingly and leave your hair extensions at home.
  • The weather changes quickly and it’s not unusual to experience multiple seasons in one day. When we were there in late spring, we started hiking in our t-shirts as it was sunny and warm but quickly had to throw on layers as it started to snow. 
  • The culinary scene in Puerto Natales and some of the park lodges is fantastic and highly unexpected for such a remote destination.
  • There is enough wildlife in the park to embark on a mini safari and we were fortunate enough to see an elusive puma.
  • You need to take a ferry to get to the trailheads of 2 out of the 3 W Trek hikes.
  • There are a few stylish and luxury lodges in Torres del Paine for those who are used to a more premium or luxurious travel experience.
  • Internet and WI-FI may be slow and finicky so have an e-SIM with an adequate data plan as a backup.
  • They drink water from the taps and it is safe.  However, the water may be quite different from what you’re used to and may cause some stomach uneasiness so you may have to request bottled water if you experience any symptoms.
  • Most tour operators provide hiking poles if requested so you won’t have to pack and travel with your own.

What to Pack for Hiking in Torres del Paine

If you are planning to do a lot of day hikes while visiting Torres del Paine, we recommend packing moisture-wicking layers plus a few other key items:

  • Toque
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket & pants
  • 20L knapsack to comfortably carry your layers, lunch, and water.
  • Soft water flasks (which take up very little room in your luggage when empty) in addition to your water bottle to ensure you have adequate water while hiking.
  • BUFF multifunctional neckwear to protect your face and head from both the wind and sun. It’s light and takes up virtually no space in your luggage and will save you from the extreme elements.  We noticed most of the guides also wore BUFFs. 

If you are an outdoor enthusiast or nature lover, Torres del Paine should rank high on your travel bucket list.  If you’re interested in a private guided tour of Torres del Paine, please contact us for a custom itinerary that includes reputable guides and accommodations. 

Melanie Yip
Co-Founder, Movement Travel