We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

Which Torres del Paine National Park hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Preston, Lancashire
Level Contributor
86 posts
463 reviews
Save Topic
Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

We spent 3 nights in the park basing ourselves at Hotel Los Torres. We travelled by bus from Puerto Natales to the park and there are a number of bus companies which offer this service. We used JBR Patagonia 10,000 cp return. On arriving at Laguna Amarga, everyone gets off the bus to pay their entry free (18,000cp) receive their permits/map and view a compulsory safety video. From here, there is a shuttle bus to the hotel and other nearby accomodations while the Puerto Natalies buses continue through firstly to Pudeto where there is a catamaran across Lago Pehoe to Paine Grande and lastly to park administration. Note if you have a return ticket to PN then the ticket provides free transport on these buses while you are in the park. There are two buses a day, the ferry and shuttles co-ordinate with each other. On our first afternoon, we hiked around 10km return (around 5 hours) a relatively flat route which got us halfway between the hotel and Los Cuenos taking us far enough so we walked onto a promontory providing spendid views on both sides of Lago Nordernskold. On our second day we hiked from the hotel to Mirador iBase De Las Torres around 20 km return taking around 7.5 hours. Fortunate to have a clear day with great views on the way but nothing prepares you for the extraordinary beautiful views which greet you on reaching the final ascent. Truly stunning.

The Mirador walk is divided into 3 segments. The first up to Refugio Chileno rises from around 180m to 500m over 1.5 hours, here there is a cafe and toilets if required. The second part of the hike takes you close to Campamento Torres and is less undulating, the third and final part of the walk is a scramble over bolders and another stiff rise in altitude to 900m and it is only when you reach the top that you see the Mirador in all its glory. The final segment is probably the most difficult part of the walk but still manageable and the route is well marked.

On our last full day we caught the buses mentioned above to travel on the 12.00 catamaran to Paine Grande for the Lago Grey hike. It is 12,000 single but it is possible to buy a round trip ticket for 19,000. Note that the boat out gets very busy as it marks the start of the 'W' route. Although the boat will come back for a second trip, this is impractical for a day trip if travelling up Glacier Grey (1 hour return) so it is important to get there reasonably early. The buses from Laguna Amarga generally get there around 11.30 so if you make your way to the jetty you should be ok. Tickets are purchased on the boat. The walk took just under 5 hours enough time to catch the 18.30 catamaran back to Pudeto.

Hiked though steady rain in the morning which slowed our walk going out but as if by magic, the rain stopped and the sun shone for the last hour of our outward journey and as with the first day we were greeted with a jaw dropping magical view of Glacier Grey. The walk is much less challenging than Mirador Las Torres. Again we were so lucky with the weather with almost no breeze in a area noted for its gale force winds.

This park truly lives up to all the superlatives showered on it- a magnificent experience.

In terms of the degree of difficulty, all the hikes are described as 'medium' in the park guide but perfectly manageable for anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness. Mirador Las Torres was the hardest of the three walks we undertook.

We have two tips 1) invest in good walking gear including waterproofs gloves and a hat as the weather can change very quickly and its gets colder the higher you climb and 2) buy a pair of hiking poles. We bought some after reading other TA reviews and we were so glad we did, what a difference it makes on rough ground underfoot and on steep uphill and downhill parts of the hike.

We were moving on to El Calafate on the final day and Chalten Travel were able to arrange a direct transfer from Laguna Amarga to El Calafate without the need to return to Puerto Natalies using a company called Always Glaciers. Cost Us$49 per person.

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile
Level Contributor
10,196 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

What a lovely clear description of your time in the park. Sometimes it is difficult for people to gather the information due to all the possibilities of lodging/route/time in the park. But your report will be very helpful to those wanting to spend a couple of days in the park, staying in a hotel but hiking independently.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
107 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

Hi great report lots of good info. I am in the process of organising a trip for 4 (hubby and 2 adult kids) I was just wondering when you stayed at the Hotel Las Torres did you get a package. I just got a quote from a travel agent and it seems pretty expensive. We are not interested in doing any guided tours basically wish to do the base of the towers thinking of spending 3 nights there.

We really only want a nice clean spot to sleep as we expect to be out hiking. I also will probably catch a bus there seems to be the go. Just interested in mainly your view of Hotel Las Torres.

Cheers Sue

Edited: 6:57 am, February 19, 2014
Preston, Lancashire
Level Contributor
86 posts
463 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

Hi Sue

We booked directly with the hotel through their Web site. It was a Lenga room the cheapest one they did bed and breakfast and was US$ 316.00 per night. We did not buy any packages as they aren't necessary. We initially thought it was expensive for what we got but the Lenga rooms have recently been refurbished and in the end we thought it was good value for its location. Have done a separate review on the hotel.

You will need to bear in mind that everything in the park either costs a fortune or is fairly poor. We did a lot of research and felt this was the best mid price option and have no regrets. Better staying in the park than being on the outside and there are two good hikes directly from the hotel.

The booking process is a bit wierd. You only get a formal confirmation after a few days and they are not the best in replying to emails but we got there in the end.

The park is really amazing and well worth the effort in getting there.

Terry

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
107 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

Thanks Terry will check it out

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
107 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

Thanks Terry will check it out

St. John
Level Contributor
11 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

I've been trying to find information for JBR Patagonia and I can't find a website. How did you find them and make your reservation. We will be traveling dec 2014

Preston, Lancashire
Level Contributor
86 posts
463 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

Few of the agents who run buses to the park have yet to make it to the 21st century and I would be surprised if any of the bus companies have developed a web site. We found JBR simply by walking around Puerto Natalies on arrival. There are a number of companies all in the same street and I suspect all offer basically the same service. Most are cash only (purport to offer card payments but they don't work). Ideally like you, we do like to book ahead but this is one of those locations where you simply have to chance your arm on arrival. I would suggest arriving the day before then you shouldn't have a problem finding a bus for the following day. There was capacity on the day we arrived and they tend to find you a place even if it is on the coach floor rather than leaving anyone stranded.

It is defiantly worth the effort of going. The park is truly stunning. Enjoy!

Terry

8. Re: Trip report - independent exploration for non campers

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:15 am, May 20, 2015