Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine National Park
The Torres del Paine National Park may be the most spectacular region in Chilean Patagonia.
The breathtaking peaks and ridges of the Paine Massif form a postcard-perfect backdrop for 927 square miles of ancient glaciers, windswept grasslands, and turquoise lakes.
Paine is a Tehuelche word meaning “blue”—a reference to the park’s resplendent glacial waters.
UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve
Declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, this park protects guanacos, foxes, and pumas.
Torres del Paine is home to over 100 avian species, including:
Although adjacent to the Andes, Torres del Paine is a separate and much newer geologic formation.
The salmon-colored Torres (or Towers) are among the highest sheer drops on the planet.
Cuernons and The South Tower
The south tower is thought to be the tallest, with a vertical height of over 8,200 feet.
The Cuernos (or Horns) are rugged granite spires, varying in color from pale grey to deep black.
Accommodations: Luxurious to Rustic
Accommodations near and within Torres del Paine range from luxurious to rustic.
Some lodges offer set programs of four, five, or eight nights, with full board and guided excursions.
Visitors to Torres del Paine can spend days trekking, horseback riding, or touring the lakes by boat or kayak.
Day hikes can take you to the Towers, the breathtaking French Valley or Grey Glacier.
Birdwatching on the hike to Lago Pingo
Among birdwatchers, the hike to Lago Pingo is a favorite.
Multi-day Backpacking Treks
Multi-day backpacking treks around Torres del Paine can also be arranged—the park has over 150 miles of trail, punctuated by campsites and refuges.
The short “W” route, passing the Torres, the Cuernos and Glacier Grey, can be traversed in four or five days.
The full circuit around the massif typically takes eight to eleven days.
Getting to Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine can be reached by flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas (3.5 hours).
A flight from Santiago to Puerto Natales is also availibe (roughly 3 hours), followed by a land transfer across the Patagonian steppe.
Visitors can also cross the international border into Argentina by land near Cerro Castillo.
Near the town of El Calafate, you can explore Los Glaciares National Park—site of the Perito Moreno glacier and other wonders of the southern ice fields.
The Patagonian summer stretches from November to early March, with long days and photo perfect evening light.
Torres del Paine Climate
The warmest months are December and January, with highs near 65° F and lows near 40° F.
Temperatures range from 60° F to near 30° F during the shoulder months.
Winter (May through August) is characterized by fleeting daylight, highs around 40° F and freezing nights.
Precipitation is light year-round. Winds are strongest from late November to mid-March.
“The Paine massif is unrivaled…In its colors and form, it is without doubt one of the most fantastic and spectacular sights that human imagination can conceive.”
Salesian missionary Padre Agostini