Hiking Torres Del Paine in Chilean Patagonia

Patagonia…what a word! It just sounds like an awesome place, kind of like Shangri-La. Sure enough, it is! Chilean Patagonia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Torres Del Paine National Park is the crown jewel of Chilean Patagonia and hiking Torres Del Paine is an experience I will never forget.
Singular Hotel, view, Chile
Arriving into Punta Arenas after a long flight from New York and connection in Santiago was exhausting but I was rejuvenated once I started driving up toward Puerto Natales by the scenery along the way. Pulling into the Singular Hotel in Puerto Natales, I was confused, as it looked like an old factory. Sure enough, it was, but that’s one thing that made it such a great hotel.
Singular Hotel, Chile
I don’t normally gush about hotels but the Singular Hotel was awesome. It is creative, unique, all encompassing and the food was excellent to boot. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to experience the spa but I hear it’s pretty spectacular.
Singular Hotel, food, chile
It was at the Singular Hotel that I booked my trip to go hiking Torres Del Paine. Hiking Torres Del Paine can mean a lot of things as there are several hikes and it is a big park.
Torres del Paine from the sky, Chile
Many people do what’s called the W hike which is a 4-5 day hike that each day, you do a different part of the W shaped route. I only had one full day so there was little hesitation to go hiking Torres Del Paine.
Torres Del Paine, Chile
Torres Del Paine is the name of the National park but it’s also the name of the 3 famous “Torres” or rock towers that you will see in my pictures. So in my case I did one side of the W; I think it is the best side but it is all great.
Torres Del Paine starting point for hike, Chile
I set off with a pretty good group of people from the Singular Hotel at 8am and it is about a 2-hour drive to the start of the hike. Now I am a very fast hiker with a lot of hiking experience and I am in pretty good shape. I cannot say the same for everyone so when I was told that hiking Torres Del Paine would take 4 hours each way, I automatically assumed I could do it in half that time.
Torres Del Paine views, Chile
I say this not to be arrogant at all but I simply hike fast and almost always finish in half the time of whatever it is said to take. So I told the guide that I was going to go ahead as there was a Brazilian guy who had heavy video equipment and I knew he would take forever. There was also a woman who was being dragged by her husband to do it and she looked miserable so I figured I would just avoid that situation all together!
Torres Del Paine river, Chile
Sure enough, it took a little less than 2 hours each way. But the scenery along the way is spectacular, as you would imagine. Hiking Torres Del Paine is a dream for an outdoor enthusiast. You go through a bunch of different types of scenery and have varied types of tracks.
View in Torres Del Paine, Chile
Hiking Torres Del Paine is also much steeper at points than you’d think and it can be difficult for some who aren’t hikers. The initial ascent to the first pass up a dirt track is pretty steep at times but it’s the final ascent after you leave a forest, right before you reach the Torres that is a killer.
Forest in Torres del Paine, Chile
The track is mostly rocks and very steep. It can also be slightly confusing which way to go as there aren’t really signs as opposed to colored markings on rocks but they aren’t always visible. There is also a water runoff from the lake above that causes some rocks to be slippery or muddy so you must be careful.
First view up the steep rocks of Torres Del Paine
But alas, when you arrive at the Torres, you are treated to a magical view. A true delight and a great reward for the hard work you put in getting up there in the first place.
Torres Del Paine, Chile
The only problem for me was that I literally got there 1.5 hours ahead of my group and the group leader had the lunches. That aside, I was also sweating a ton. You don’t notice or care when you’re hiking but once you stop moving it starts to get really cold. The temperature was also cold and the wind had gusts up to about 60mph-so it got really cold just standing around.
Lee Abbamonte, Chile, Torres Del Paine
So what I ended up doing, besides jumping around a lot trying to stay warm, was as soon as the group leader got there I just grabbed lunch and took off. I figured I would get down a bit where the wind wasn’t as strong and I’d warm up my body. That’s exactly what happened and once I got down to the forest part of the hike below the rocks I sat down and had 3 sandwiches the guide had given me. That was the smart move.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Chile (October 25, 2013)
From there I just pushed all the way to the end and ended up waiting nearly 3 hours for the group to be completely finished. That part was very annoying to be honest but I knew what I was getting into so I wasn’t too annoyed. Besides there is a luxury hotel at the bottom of the hike that I could clean up in and relax in warmth! They also had Wi-Fi; which was nice and helped pass the time!
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
So that’s my story from hiking Torres Del Paine. It was one of my favorite day hikes I’ve ever done without a doubt! I highly recommend it. As you can see from these pictures, it is breathtaking and also a great workout especially if you really want to push yourself.
Lee Abbamonte, Torres del Paine
I love Chile and I really love Chilean Patagonia and Torres Del Paine National Park!

Comments

  1. Good report and pics.

    When I first saw you were only getting one day in Patagonia I thought, “what will he even really be able to do in that tight of time?” But I guess you’ve proven that with good planning and a lot of energy you can make the most of limited time at Torres. Too bad about the slow company, though. Do you remember the name of the hotel at the bottom? I would assume that’s a great base for people wanting to do it without the guides and waiting for a group.

    • I don’t remember the name but it’s where everyone leaves from…the picture of the reed building is the hotel at the base camp so to speak…Puerto natales is where most people stay but that hotel can accommodate people as well closer but there is nothing else to do in the area. Puerto Natales has a town.

  2. WOW. That mountain scenery is off the hook man! Torres Del Paine is definitely one of my can’t miss places to visit when I get down to South America…!

  3. My husband and I just booked the Singular Hotel for January on your recommendation. I googled it and it looks amazing as you said. I WILL get to the spa though-I guarantee it! Thanks Lee!

  4. Wow your pictures are unreal! I have to say following you on Facebook this last week or so has completely distracted me from all things work related. Your pictures from Chile and the Falklands are mind blowing. The governments of these countries should pay you because I am sure they will getting new bookings because of you!

  5. Nice spandex!

    • Says the man with 2 cats and who wears full body spandex to ride a bicycle…notice how I wear shorts on top of them…plus I wore them to prevent freezing and to keep blood flowing whereas you wear it for “other” reasons!

  6. Absolutely amazing photos and seems like an incredible hike. I have always hear amazing this about Chile and Torres Del Paine but never really looked into it. Now it’s high up on my next vacation list. Thanks Lee.

  7. I assume this isn’t your first time in Chile? There are many great hikes in Patagonia, have you done others? What about in the Andes near the border?

    • Not my first time in Chile and yes I’ve done some other hikes in CHile, mainly around the border areas and Cajon de Maipo area…definitely want to visit more of Patagonia next time I am down here but that wasn’t the main objective of my trip down there…I was fortunate to be able to work it out where I could do Torres del Paine!

  8. I am sold on Chile as my next destination. I have been contemplating it for a long time but this post put me over the top. Thanks!

  9. Dude, this is amazing! I need to go here immediately.

  10. Such awesome pics, I’ve always wanted to go there. And now that I really am a location-independent entrepreneur, there is not really any more excuse. Perhaps this winter in USA, I’ll find my way down there. Thanks for a beautiful photo spread :)

  11. Lee- we are doing the W trek and stayin at Refugio’s. Do you know if we would have access to wifi everyday? My friend needs to be online to check email for work

  12. Such amazing and stunning pictures, Lee! The color of the water is just breathtaking. Hope to make it there soon :)

  13. Thanks for the post Lee! We are just about to head off to South America in less than a month! Can’t wait to ‘join’ you on this hike! Cheers.

  14. Hey I just wanted to know if this hike can be done without a guide? I only have a couple days in punta arenas and wanted to try to do this hike . Thanks

  15. Hello,

    This is my dream trip. I have two questions at what time of the year you went? and my second is approximately what’s the budget I should have to go over there? taking away the tickets expenses which it will be different since I live in Trinidad. Thank you and amazing photos you have BTW.

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