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“Beautiful views, very well maintained trails, but crowds on the "W"”

Torres del Paine National Park
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Private Tour: Torres del Paine National Park and Milodon Cave with Lunch
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Full Day Tour to the Torres del Paine National Park
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Full-Day Hiking Tour to the Base of Paine Towers at Torres del Paine National...
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Owner description: A hiker's dream, this national park contains huge granite mountains surrounded by clear lakes and a series of well-maintained trails that vary in degree of difficulty.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

My friend and I did the full circuit and "w" trek around the park and we of course loved it. If you can, I suggest beginning the hike where the bus first drops you from Laguna Amarga, as you you get away from the crowd you get dropped off with and it's a nice hike for the first day.

The back side of the park has fewer people, but the campsites are still quite full at the end of each day. The mosquitoes on the first three days were a nightmare!

Once you get all the way to refugio grey, you start hitting the crowds of "daywalkers" (we use the terms of people out for the day, without full pack and not camping) which can be annoying. The sites were all crowded from this point forward (even with camping facilities), but we managed to figure out the times when people would try cooking, hit the trails in the morning, etc, and managed to avoid the "masses" most of the time.

To be clear, the trail itself was great, the views amazing, and it was a fantastic experience. It would be nice if they limited the amount of people in the park, but given the fancy refugio system, i don't see that happening anytime soon. Appreciating this is from the perspective of a backpacker who wants to camp and not see very many other people. The park is remote, but you're certainly not along :).

Thank medsj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 15, 2013

"Vale la pena" how my Chilean friends used to say. The mountain area of TDP is just beautiful with breathtaking views on lakes and peaks (... just search for images in Google and you get a first impression). We've spent 7 days, starting in Punta Arenas, bus transfer to Puerto Natales. One night in a nice familiar hostal at a reasonable price. Now about the pain: Next day to National park entrance by public bus: Chileans pay 5000 pesos entrance fee - all other nationalities more than three times: 18.000 pesos. Seems to be okay if there would be a value for it. But theres nothing you should expect apart from a short video you have to watch before starting your tour. Use of 'official camp sites' is mandatory - but park facilities are private business and they really rip you off !! 6000 pesos (10 Euro) to place your tent for a night on rough grass with gravel. Not per tent - but per person!!! Forget about electricity, clean showers or toilets. Especially Lago Grey camping was a mess. Bring ALL food with you from outside the park - the prices of the few kiosks are obscene. Also expect that these places are overcrowded in January, February and you will fight for a place to put your gas stove on the tables - this is definitely not 'Into the Wild' ! Don't get me wrong, the place itself is a treasure, but the Chilean park operators should overthink the strategy and the effects on sustainable tourism. Maybe a look on the Argentinian side of Patagonia could help! Well organized, perfect facilities - from what I and my chilean friend can tell from a short visit there...

2  Thank tenypec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

There is no doubt about the beauty of the nature but there are a few "but"s that you should be aware of if you travel to Torres del Paine:
1) You will not be alone: Especially in the high season the park is very crowded. Especially in the section around the Hotel del Torres it is very busy and the campsites a packed with tourists and silence is missed
2) Prices are steep: Hotels, transportation and entry fees are expensive (entry 18000 Pesos).
3) Oversight: Due to forrest fires there is a lot of oversight by the park rangers which is probably a good thing if you look at the equipment and experience of the tourists.
4) Limitations and information: We learned on site that the trail that we wanted to do was only allowed with a guide (to camp Zapata). New since 2013 as the campsites are not guarded.

Summary: No doubt that the park is worth visiting but I would have enjoyed it much more if I had managed my expectations accordingly.

Thank DerRehlein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2013

If you like hiking for a few days through spectacular nature you can not miss this. You can do the 4 to 5 day hike or the 8 to 9 days which leads you over a mountain pass with a spectacular view at the grey glaciar. At the end of each day hike you will find a camping site or a "refugio" where you can sleep and eat. We did the 8 day hike and we loved it. Its approx 25 km every day so you should be fit. March is the better month to go so you can enjoy the park with not so many people.

Thank Walter B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2013

We stayed at the all inclusive Patagonia Camp and I will review in more detail. For know,let me talk about the 4 hikes we did at this beautiful national parkWe all increased our exercise routine based on the recommendation of our chilean friends leading our group. The hike to the glaciers was an easy introduction. About 5 miles . The second day we did the most challenging which was the hike to the French Valley. Besides being the longest(14miles) there was the pressure to get back so we would not miss the 6:30pm boat trip back to the other side of the lake and back to our camp.Third day the fauna trail where we were lucky to see the condors and plenty of guanagos on our trail. An afternoon small hike to the waterfall was the perfect end of the day. The hike to the base of the towers was left for last. Shorter than the french valley but more challenging. The day was cloudy and a misty rain was present but an amazing hike. Before you come here,take some long hikes on uneven terrain to help you get ready. Walking sticks are a great help in a couple of these trails.

2  Thank nana5California
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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