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“Great but not the best.”

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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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.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Level Contributor
94 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Great but not the best.”
Reviewed January 26, 2014

We hiked for 9 days, staying at campsites, and hiking the entire circuit. The scenery is undoubtably beautiful. Some campsites are free, and the paid ones are quite expensive. Everything is expensive, but think about it: you're at easily the most famous tourist attraction in Chile and one of the most recognizable mountain massifs in the world. Plus most of the refugios are remote: so of course it's expensive. Even for us–independent lightweight backpackers– it still amounted to quite a lot for the entrance fee, campsite fees, the bus rides in and out, the catamaran, and the one meal we had prepared for us. But all that is to be expected.

What Torres del Paine gets points knocked off for are the campsites, staff, and straight up number of people.

If you're coming here for tranquility and solitude, you'll not find it here. The campsites are crowded. On the "W" you're always stepping off the trail for traffic.

The staff at the campsites and refuigios leave some to be desired. They range from somewhat adequate and helpful to downright useless.

Most campsites had an inadequate number of bathrooms which were not maintained or cleaned often enough.

Most campsites require you to cook in a disgusting, reeking, filthy shelter. But I can see why, there are so many careless people who do not dispose of their food properly and so they try to keep the mess all in one place.

The back of the circuit, which has far less people on it, is therefore far more pleasant, plus it's beautiful. The people who do it are more likely to be serious hikers (but not always) and the campsites were somewhat quieter as people went to bed earlier.

Overall, the problem is too many visitors to this precious place, (of which I'm one!). But since many of the refugios are privately owned, they attract people who have no idea how to behave in the wilderness: playing music out loud on their iPods, leaving toilet paper on the ground, acting like it's just another place to party. The horses on the "W" are badly eroding it, and in my opinion should be banned, or reduced only to carry supplies for the campsites and refugios. If you can't hike your way in and carry your own load, then maybe you don't belong there.

There are so many places in Chile and Argentina that have stunning granite massifs, and to which you can visit cheaply and in peace and solitude.

Visited January 2014
Thank Thriftydrifter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Irvine, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful - excellent trek”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

Just did the W trek and stayed at the Refugio's and reserved their full board in advance thru www.verticepatagonia.com and www.fantasticosur.com/en/‎ websites. We didn't feel we needed a guide, the trails are well marked and you can book the specific type lodging, made bed, bed or tent thru these sites. The trails are challenging at times, the wind gusts were something we had never experienced before.
The park has some spectacular scenary that we will never forget.
Definately book regular bus transportation to/from park from Puerto Natales in advance and remember to bring cash for the park entry fee and for the Pehoe Catamaran.
We met some great people that we saw from day to day.

Visited January 2014
Thank Dawdlejournies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zug, Switzerland
Level Contributor
83 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2014

this was one of my most amazing trekkings I did in my life. I went together with a friend and did the circle. there are very few people and there are amazing landscapes. if you do it you have to be quit prepared but if the weather is good you will go to a place you will never forget!!

highly recommendable!!

un abrazo

Visited March 2013
Thank Gregor M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The TDP Circuit Trek was spectacular: Experience Chile were fantastic”
Reviewed January 21, 2014

I arranged the trek and whale watching and penguin viewing out of Punta Arenas afterwards through Experience Chile. My 18 year old son and I did the 8 day Circuit trek without a guide but using Experience Chile to book all the transfers, refugios, campsites and meals - we camped 3 nights and stayed in refugios 4. This meant we didn't need to carry food or cooking gear which reduced our load and we ate and slept well on the trek. Everything went smoothly on our trip as the vouchers Experience Chile provided were all very clear and allowed us to make all the connections and follow the itinerary without problem. The trip was brilliant. The trek was sublime though the weather didn’t always cooperate. I would recopmmend this way of doing it as a halfway house between an expensive guided tour and the hardman approach of camping in tents and carrying all your food and cooking gear. The Circuit is not for the faint hearted though as on day 4 you climb 600 metres over a 1200m+ Pass which was extremely windy with snow falling and deep snow drifts and then drop over 100 metres. We walked for 10 hours on that day. The track is very muddy in parts but generally easy to follow the orange marker posts. The weather is cold and windy and it rained most days. But the views more than make up for any discomfort. We also did an amazing 1 day 2 night whale watching boat trip in the Magellan Straits at the end with Fitzroy Expeditions, also arranged through Experience Chile. It was a bit pricey but an amazing experience. I would recommend it if you can afford it.

Visited January 2014
2 Thank Patrick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque, NM
Level Contributor
286 reviews
89 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Beware high wind and unpredictable snow”
Reviewed January 20, 2014

Amazing place. It's a natural wonder. Just be prepared for any weather! I feel odd reviewing something not man made. Refugio's are fun, can be crowded.

Visited January 2014
Thank Zialucia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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