7 days
Days
2/5- Fairly easy
Difficulty

The visually stunning W Trek – highlighting the best of Torres del Paine such as Grey Glacier, French Valley, and the base of the Towers – is a once-in-a-lifetime experience…so you should do it right the first time! Team up with our highly experienced and knowledgeable guides to head off on one of the most famous treks in the world, ending each day of spectacular sights with delicious meals and comfortable nighttime accommodations.

The ‘W Trek’ takes in the best Torres del Paine has to offer on a remarkable Patagonian journey. This is our shortest itinerary to Patagonia but packs in an incredible amount. You’ll sail across glacial lakes, visit impressive and active glaciers, spot rare wildlife and see rock formations and peaks unique to Patagonia, culminating in the impressive ‘Torres’ (towers). This trek is an accessible and exciting way to see the best of the Torres del Paine National Park.

Highlights

  • Trek Valle Frances
  • The Challenging ‘W’ Trek
  • Base of the Tower
  • Views of Los Cuernos
  • Boat trip to Grey Glacier
  • Milodon Cave
  • Stay in a Dome at the award winning EcoCamp
  • Cycling excursion (Optional)
  • Kayaking around the Grey Glacier (Optional)

Objectives

  • Complete the famous ‘W trek’
  • Reach vantage points at the French Valley and Torres base
  • Experience the unique flora and fauna of this incredible region

 

At a Glance

DESTINATION  Chile
TRIP START POINT Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales or Calafate Airports – transfer to Torres del Paine NP
DURATION 7 Days, 5 days trekking
TRIP TYPE  Hut-to-hut trekking
SEASON  October to April
CHALLENGE LEVEL  2/5 – Moderate trekking. Fully supported, carry only day packs
MAX ALTITUDE  n/a
INCLUDED
All ground transport as detailed in the itinerary Regular bus tickets Calafate <> Natales if starting/ finishing in Calafate
4 nights ‘standard Dome’ accommodation in EcoCamp 1 night accommodation at Refugio Paine Grande
1 night in Refugio Los Cuernos or Domo El Francés
Boat crossing on Grey Lake Park fees for Cueva del Milodon and Torres del Paine National Park
One expert English speaking trekking guide Sleeping bag for refugios if needed
Transportation for your luggage within the Park: while trekking you will carry just your daypack Meals: 6 Breakfast; 1 Lunch; 6 Box Lunch: 6 Dinner
24hr UK and in-country backup and support As members of 1% for the planet, we donate 1% of the total trip cost to an environmental cause.
NOT INCLUDED
International Flights (unless booking flight-inclusive package) Single room/tent accommodation (available on request)
Personal travel insurance, visas and vaccinations Tips / gratuities
Beverages such as soft drinks, alcohol etc. Personal Expenses (Laundry etc.) and other items of a personal nature
FLIGHT COST £1000

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1

Arrival to EcoCamp Patagonia

Meals: BL or L, D
Overnight: EcoCamp

The trip begins with you being picked up from your hotel in Punta Arenas or Punta Arenas airport in the morning and driven to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park.

Alternatively, you can start your trip in Calafate. En route we make a couple of stops – First in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of “Seno de Ultima Esperanza”, where we enjoy a hearty local lunch, and second at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890’s. The journey is scenic and highly atmospheric, featuring many wild birds and wonderful Patagonian landscapes. The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and with a prime view of the majestic Torres. Sunset is usually around 11 pm during the summer months, meaning that there will still be enough daylight for you to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon once you arrive.

2

Trek: Ecocamp to Camp Los Cuernos

Activity: Trekking
Difficulty: 4/5
Distance: 12 km/7.5 mi, 4-5hrs
Meals: B, BL, D
Max. Altitude: 244m/800ft
Overnight: Mountain Refugee or Camping

We begin our Patagonian adventure with a pleasant walk through the sinuous Cuernos Trail which leads us alongside the beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. During this warm-up walk we will have the opportunity to admire the park’s exquisite flora and fauna, as we enjoy the magnificent views of the park’s central lakes and the Paine’s Horns, majestic black horn-like peaks of slate atop gray granite which crown the centre of the Massif. The trek ends at Refugio Los Cuernos, a small and cozy mountain refuge located by the shores of Lake Nordenskjold. Alternatively, the trek ends at Domo el Francés, located between Cuernos and Italiano camping sites, with an amazing view of Nordenskjöld lake. The evening is free for relaxing and enjoying dinner.

3

Trek: Camp Los Cuernos, French Valley & Camp Pehoe

Activity: Trekking
Difficulty: 4/5
Distance: 26 km/16 mi, 10hrs
Meals: B, BL, D
Max. Altitude: 686m/2250ft
Overnight: Mountain Refuge or Camping

After breakfast at Refugio Los Cuernos, we will begin the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that leads to the very heart of the Paine Massif. How far in we go depends on our group\’s trekking rhythm. A swifter walk will lead us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif, where we will be treated to fantastic views of the valley. We will then continue to ascend towards the upper section of the valley where we will be able to marvel at the extensive mass of the valley\’s geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). After our upward trek, we will pause for a picnic and relax a while. This day\’s trek will end as we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest which will take us to Refugio Paine Grande.
N.B. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is also available.

4

Trek: Camp Pehoe to Grey Glacier and back to EcoCamp


Activity: Trekking & Boat Ride
Difficulty: 3/5
Distance: 11km/7mi, 4hrs
Meals: B, BL, D
Max. Altitude: 244m/800ft
Overnight: EcoCamp Patagonia
This day will see us hike from Paine Grande Refugio along the shores of Lake Pehoe to the northern side of the glacially beautiful Lake Grey. We will feast on a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails right to the huge, crystalline facade of Glacier Grey, where we will have plenty of time to marvel at the calving glacier.  From the southern end of Glacier Grey we will transfer to EcoCamp. Due to the temperamental weather of the region, boat trips across the lake may occasionally be cancelled if the required minimum of 15 passengers is not reached. If either is the case, we will trek up to the sightseeing point and profit from wonderful, panoramic views of the Glacier instead. Then we will return on foot to Paine Grande and take a catamaran to Pudeto’s dock, where we will be picked up and driven to EcoCamp.
*Optional Kayaking around Glacier Grey: This excursion starts at 13:00 and lasts 2,5 hours where you will discover the amazing glacier and kayak around huge floating icebergs, towards the east side of the glacier to get closer to the giant ice wall (Min. age: 15 ; Max age: 65) (Note: Kayaking option is only available until March 19th) 
5

Trek: To Base Torres

Activity: Trekking
Difficulty: 4/5
Distance: 22km/14mi, 9hrs
Meals: B, BL, D
Max. Altitude: 914m/3000ft
Overnight: EcoCamp Patagonia

The goal of our fifth day of our 7-day Trek will be to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine National Park! We will walk from the campsite towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending to Ascencio Valley on the Tower\’s eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes in the form of the steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which will lead us to that iconic  base-view of the Towers – Three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After a tough uphill climb, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp for a well-deserved dinner.

6

Bike or trek to Eastern Lakes

Activity: Trekking (optional biking)
Difficulty: 2/5
Distance: 6km/4mi, 3hrs
Meals: B, BL, D
Max. Altitude: 300m/984ft
Overnight: EcoCamp Patagonia

The sixth day will consist of a less strenuous trail in order to counter the exhausting efforts of the previous day. After breakfast, we will take a leisurely car journey towards Laguna Azul,  passing Cañadón Macho, home to many wild guanacos and ñandúes, en route. We will pause occasionally to admire the views of the Patagonian steppe and the towers from a different perspective. At Laguna Azul, we will hike to the lookout point where we will be treated to a gorgeous view of both the lagoon and granite towers. After lunch, we will drive to the northern shore of Sarmiento Lake where the Fauna Trail begins. As we hike northbound, we will spot an impressive range of Patagonian fauna on the vast plains, including: guanacos, ostrich-like ñandús and maybe the occasional puma print! We will pass the charming Goic lagoon and after approximately 5km of relaxed walking, we will reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station where we will be picked up and driven back to Ecocamp to celebrate over our farewell dinner.
*Please note that if there are more than 6 travellers in the group there\’s an option to split into two groups, with one group (or the whole group if everybody\’s in the mood!) cycling to Laguna Azul!
7

Departure

Meals: B, BL, D

We will board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight to Santiago. Or, alternatively, we board an early morning vehicle to the border to continue our journey to El Calafate.


If the dates and prices fail to load above, please go to My Grand Adventure, where you will be able to see all available departures.
 

Other booking options

Alternative Dates

Want to join one of our open-group adventures, but don’t see any suitable dates that work for you? For most of our trips, you can request new dates and we will set up a new open adventure.

Private Bookings

Want to book this trip as a private departure? Select your own dates and travel in your own group.

Ask an Expert

Still not sure or need more information? Get in touch and we can answer your questions or talk you through any of our adventures.

Trip Specifics

ACCOMMODATION

EcoCamp Patagonia (Nights 1,4,5,6)
Ecocamp Patagonia is located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, with views of the majestic granite towers. The region’s first sustainable lodge south of the Amazon and the first of its kind in the Patagonian wilderness, EcoCamp offers upscale camping in domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants.

EcoCamp Patagonia Standard Dome (Shared bathroom, 10m²/108ft²)
EcoCamp Standard domes were the world’s first lodge accommodation in geodesic shape. They are resistant to the strong Patagonian winds, and come equipped with two single beds (doubles on request), cozy fleece blankets and feather quilts. There are windows in the ceiling for stargazing. Standard domes include shared bathrooms which are large, comfortable and gender divided.

EcoCamp Patagonia Suite Dome (Heating & Private bathroom, 28m²/300ft²)
Suite domes were designed to further the goal of providing comfort in a natural setting with minimal environmental impact, and also maintain the hotel’s familiar and cozy vibe. The domes have comfortable double or twin beds, a wood stove and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

EcoCamp’s Suite Dome Lofts (2 floors, Heating & Private bathroom, 37m²/398ft²)
Suite dome lofts are two-storey domes which fit up to four people and have comfortable double or twin beds both up and downstairs. These domes, ideal for families or groups of friends, come with a wood stove, a private terrace and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

EcoCamp Patagonia Superior Dome (Heating & Private bathroom, 23m²/250ft²)
Spacious, comfortable and equipped with private bathrooms, Superior Domes are the optimum choice for trekkers wanting that bit more space and comfort at the end of a long day’s walk. Each Superior Dome has comfortable queen-size or twin beds, a propane heater, skylight windows and a private bathroom with a sophisticated composting toilet.

Mountain huts / Refugios (Nights 2,3)
Typical mountain huts, open to the public visiting Torres del Paine. They have rooms for 4-6 people. The beds are single bunks and we will provide you with a sleeping bag and a polar fleece liner (you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag!). The bathrooms are also shared and they have hot water. The refugios are heated and have a very comfortable dining area where plentiful meals are served. If refugios are unavailable, alternative accommodation will be provided in tents with prior notice.

Domes El Francés (Night 2 / Alternative to Refugio)
Geodesic domes, open to the public visiting Torres del Paine. The domes have an amazing view of Nordenskjöld lake, Cuernos del Paine and Paine Grande Mountains and come with a private bathroom for 8 people each (shared bathroom and dome). Accommodation are single bed or bunk beds and we will provide you with a sleeping bag and a polar fleece liner (you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag!).

FOOD

During your nights at the EcoCamp, you’ll be treated to delicious meals made from local ingredients served in the communal dome tent.

During the trek, whether camping or staying in the refuges, your food will be served in the refuge’s communal dining hall in true mountain hut style!

You will have a packed lunch during the day.

GROUP & LEADER

A fully qualified, English speaking local leader will accompany all groups. On this trip you will be joined by walkers from the UK and other nationalities who have booked with other agencies.

WEATHER

The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. In addition, the strong marine influence and the affect of the Southern Patagonia Ice field make the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rain and even snow. Even in summer (December to March) you should come prepared to find strong cold winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfall. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC (24ºCmax, 2ºC min). However, just as quickly as the weather turns nasty, it can become lovely and sunny. So come prepared for all types of weather!

WHAT YOU'LL CARRY

This trek is fully supported, your main luggage will be transported between camps. You will only need to carry a light daypack at the very most. A 35l rucksack is a useful size to comfortably fit in essential items such as water bottle, camera, wet-weather gear and extra layers etc.

TIPPING

Tipping at meals and in hotels is normal practice. It is also customary to tip the local trekking staff and guides.

For this trip we suggest allowing around $50 for tips. Detailed tipping guidance will be sent in your pre-departure information

LANGUAGE & TIMEZONE

Language: Spanish is the official language in Chile and Argentina but it is quite different to the European version, using slightly different sounds and often spoken much faster. Your guide and many hoteliers and restaurant owners will also speak English.

To brush up on your Spanish before departing why not try the free duolingo app at: https://www.duolingo.com/.

Local Time: GMT-3 hours.

ALTITUDE & FITNESS

Altitude – Does not travel to high altitude

One joy about trekking here is you get the experience of being among big mountains, but without the altitude. The highest you go to is less than 1400 metres, where you will not experience any affects of altitude – other than perhaps the cold!

Fitness – Moderate trek

Although graded ‘Moderate’ this trek consists of several days trekking in a row, so a reasonable level of fitness is still required. You should be used to hiking consecutive long days in the UK hills, or equivalent, with a light pack. E.g. A weekend walking in the Lake District, taking in some high points and peaks with minimal discomfort.

HEALTH

Country specific information and advice is published by Fit For Travel, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.

The risks to health whilst travelling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities abroad, length of stay and general health of the traveller. It is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and wateraccidentssun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.

We recommend taking your trip itinerary with you to this appointment and highlighting remoteness of trek and level and type of activity, as this may affect the recommendations. e.g. Rabies risk is higher in remote areas where access to appropriate treatment may be delayed, so it is strongly recommended to discuss rabies vaccination with your medical practitioner for all of our trips.

 

Patagonia Specifics

Fit for travel Chile

Notes:

ZIKA – There have been cases of ZIKA virus reported in Chile and Argentina. ZIKA is most commonly spread by mosquitoes, so strict mosquito bite avoidance measures are recommended (more information provided in your pre-departure information).

  • Pregnant women are advised to postpone non-essential travel to countries or areas with High risk of ZIKV transmission.
  • Pregnant women are advised to consider postponing non-essential travel to countries or areas with Moderate risk of ZIKV transmission.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Chile

If you are a British passport holder visiting Chile for less than 90 days, you do not need a visa. If you wish to stay longer, you should consult the nearest Chilean Embassy.  On arrival in Chile the immigration authorities will issue you with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo – Tourist Card’, an A5 sized white form. You must retain this document and present it to immigration when you leave.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

For more information please see https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/chile/entry-requirements.

Customers of different nationalities need to check with their own embassy.

Argentina

You don’t need a visa to enter Argentina as a tourist unless you’re travelling on an Emergency Travel Document. On presentation of a valid British passport you will normally be granted a 90-day stay in the country.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

For more information please see https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/argentina/entry-requirements.

Customers of different nationalities need to check with their own embassy.

Nationalities including but not limited to Canada and Australia are required to pay a reciprocity fee when entering. Argentina. For nationalities affected and up to date fees please consult the Argentinian national immigration office.

 

CURRENCY

The currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP) and in Argentina the Peso (ARS). The US Dollar (USD) is also widely accepted in both countries. ATM’s are only available at the airport and in the main towns. We suggest you bring USD cash with you, ensuring you have some small denomination notes.

FLIGHTS & ARRIVAL

The starting point of this itinerary is either Punta Arenas domestic airport (PUT) OR El Calafate domestic airport (FTE), from which a transfer will take you to the National Park. International flights will usually connect via Santiago and Buenos Aires respectively. If flying via Buenos Aires you will usually need to transfer between the international and domestic airports.

International flights from North America and Europe will most likely arrive / depart Santiago or Buenos Aires in the early morning or late evening. The safest and most comfortable connection is a morning flight to Punta Arenas the day after arriving in Chile, and evening departure to your home country leaving the day after your return flight from Punta Arenas.

If you book a LAND ONLY package you will need to get to either airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

If you book a FLIGHT INCLUSIVE package we will book your flights for you. We will contact you to confirm the best departure airport, timings and final price of your flight. Please note flight prices are dependent on availability and any price listed on our website is an estimate of the flight cost from London. You will be advised of the final flight cost before committing to pay for it. Most flights are non-refundable and need to be paid for upfront before they can be booked (due to the flight terms of the airlines).

Please do not make any non-refundable travel arrangements or flight bookings until your booking has been confirmed (by email from us) and your trip is guaranteed to run. Note: the automated booking response does not constitute these confirmations.

IT FOR ME?

This is a classic trek and a highlight of any trip to Patagonia. It is both accessible to regular hillwalkers of reasonable fitness whilst having incredible ‘wow factor’ to make it a truly memorable experience.

The standard of campsites, food and accommodation is excellent, providing a comfortable way of experiencing the wilderness with a twist of luxury.