Torres del Paine in Chile’s Patagonia was such an amazing place and was a real highlight of my six months in South America. The five days I spent in Torres del Paine were tough but it was without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth and it was extremely rewarding to be blessed with amazing weather and incredible views.
The stop before the park is a small town called Puerto Natalas where you stop off and pick up supplies for the upcoming time in Torres del Paine. Picture this, a small town crawling with backpackers and hikers franticly buying every packet of noodles, dried fruit and nuts from the supermarket shelves and stocking up on those last minute pair of socks or fleece that they had forgotten to pack. Puerto Natalas is a hub of travellers sorting out how and what they are going to do in one of the most incredible parks on the planet.
The drive is around 45 minutes from Puerto Natalas and the views on the way to the entrance are phenomenal. We arrived at our campsite in the late afternoon, our campsite overlooked two mountain ranges and it was right next to a lake so the setting couldn’t have been more beautiful.
Camping in Torres del Paine
The first night in Torres del Paine I will admit was one of the coldest nights of my entire life, I wasn’t prepared enough and spent the entire night freezing cold. I was wearing 2 pairs of thermal tops, 2 pairs of thermal socks, thermal tops, hoodie, puffer jacket, gloves, hat and various other bits of clothing but nothing could keep the chill out of the tent.
Campsite: Camp Pehoe
Tip to stay warm whilst camping: Fill a plastic water bottle with boiling water and put it in your sleeping bag before bed.
My first full day in Torres del Paine was the Towers Hike which turned out to be one of the most memorable days of the whole experience in Torres del Paine. I’ve seen so many photos of the towers I was so excited to get up there myself and see this iconic place.
We left our campsite at 7am and drove for an hour to the entrance of the hike, the first part of the walk was up a steep hill and within minutes I went from freezing cold to boiling hot and had to delayer.
The next half an hour was an easy walk before we took a short break in one of the refuge cabins. The next part of the hike was through the forest for an hour or so and then the last hour was the hardest as it was up rocks and gravel with no real path to follow. I slogged it out over the huge rocks and made it to the top with the first group so I was really pleased with myself.
Lucky for us it was a super clear day and the conditions were perfect, the towers looked brilliant and the lake in front was a beautiful turquoise colour. I dipped my feet in to relieve the tension and we sat and had lunch up there. I felt a real sense of accomplishment and really marvelled at just how amazing nature is.
The walk down was initially hard as I just had my trainers and not hiking boots on and I was slipping all over the place in the gravel but finally after 8 hours the hike was over and it was back to camp for a nice hearty meal and a much needed sleep!
For our third day in Torres del Paine I slept right through until 10am after the previous days tough hike so I missed the early morning hike with our guide (oops) but our driver offered to take us around the park and get some great scenic photos. Near to our camp was Hotel Pehoe that was situated right on the lake and overlooked an incredible mountain range. It was truly stunning and we just spent some time chilling out and enjoying the beautiful scenery at this scenic spot.
Lake Sarmiento walk
On day four our guide took us for an afternoon walk along a lake which also offered incredible views over the famous mountain range that you will see in any photograph of Torres del Paine.
Lake Sarmiento was just a short walk away and was really interesting as all around the edge is calcium deposits which made for an even more interesting landscape. There was also some resident guanaco’s on the track, it was great to finally see some wildlife in Torres del Paine.
Grey glacier walk
On day five in Torres del Paine our guide took us took a fantastic spot to see the massive grey glacier. The walk was a nice easy one that took us from the swanky Hotel Grey, along the shores of Lago Grey, past icebergs floating in the lake and up to a look out point to see the grey glacier in the distance. This day the weather conditions had changed dramatically as you can see in the photos. The sky had turned grey, the temperature dropped and the wind was extreme.
It was a really cold and windy day so we didn’t stay in one spot for too long but it was a beautiful 360 degree view
The Peak Hike
From our campsite was a hike uphill to a look out which I didn’t do myself (because I was sleeping in oops) but Dan did it and judging by these photos, I totally missed out!
Salto grande means large waterfall and you can get really up close to this beautiful waterfall in Torres del Paine. The colours of the water and rainbows over the waterfall really reminded me of all of the beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.
This place has got to be one of the most wonderful places on earth, highly protected and teaming with wildlife and some of the best landscapes on the planet. A truly unique place full of wonder and beauty, I’d go back in a heartbeat if I could.
Interested in Patagonia? Read about Tierra del Fuego in Argentina’s Chile
Have a look at my South America page for more
Check out my video from my five days in Torres del Paine