"Torres del Paine - serenity in Patagonia" Top 5 Page for this destination Torres del Paine by Trekki

Torres del Paine Travel Guide: 83 reviews and 353 photos

the most famous Parque Nacional of Southern Chile

Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is located some 100 km north of Puerto Natales, lattitude more or less 51 S. To it's northern border, Argentina's Parque Nacional Los Glaciares starts (home base for famous Perito Moreno and Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre mountains). To it's northwest, the eternal Hielo del Sur (Southern Patagonian Ice Field) starts. To the east, the pampa stretches out, the famous steppe.
The area of approx 242.000 ha has been established as Parque Nacional in 1959, and in 1978, Unesco has declared it international biosphere reserve.

The park offers inumerous trails for day hikes, as well as the two famous trekks - "El Circuito", the 8 day hike around the center massif Macizo Paine, and the "W", which is a more easy 5 day hike along the southern part of Macizo Paine, following the 2 valleys (Valle Ascensio and Valle Francés).

The landscape of Parque Nacional Torres del Paine was "modelled" mainly by the eternal ice of the Hielo Sur (southern ice cap) and the wind.
Four major glaciers still flow down from the ice cap into the park: Glaciar Pingo (west), Glaciar Grey (middle west), Dickson (north) and Tyndall or Geike (southwest).
Glaciar Grey here being the most famous, as it is the biggest one and also the one which is most easily accessible for all park visitors.

But not only these lakes, directly fed by the glaciers form the park's landscape, also inumerous little and bigger lakes add to the scenery. While the effluent rivers make their way mostly down to Rio Serrano and the Sono Ultima Esperanza in the south, they flow through Lago Nordenskjöld, Lago Pehoé, Lago del Toro in the middle and south part, as well as Lago Dickson, Lago Paine and Laguna Azul in the northern part.

The best way to feel the magic of Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is by hiking around.
No matter how many days you have to explore the scenery, you will always get the benefit of magnificent views and magical moments.
Please see my general tips or off-the-beaten-path tips for day hikes.

Ice - Mountains - Water - Landscape Modelling

Update December 31, 2011:
Parts of this marvellous national park is on fire. It seems that again some $$%&§&%§ who wasn't at all prepared for the very much windy weather conditions down in this gorgeous part of the world, was the cause....
As of now (end Dec 2011), the park is closed for visitors and according to the news will likely be closed during January 2012.

It breaks my heart to read the news and to see footage of the fires:
BBC News, video,
LP Thorntree thread,
Chile Forum,
Newsfeed Researcher about the fire.

And I hope and pray that the firefighters and helpers will be able to control it.

This all made me plan to rewrite my page about this gorgeous national park, with emphasis on the weather conditions.
And with a strong warning:
who isn't prepared for this heavy kind of weather should stay clear of this pristine wilderness. When I came to Torres del Paine NP for my very first time in December 1996, my companions of these days weren't prepared and after only two days of heavy wind and rain started to whine and complain so much that I told them to go home and cry there but not waste our all time anymore. I stayed and it was one of the trips of my lifetime, with two more times in this park in the following years.

The fire started in the forest on the right hand side in my "Icebergs Lago Grey" picture.

Experience the park by hiking around

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Serenity - magic - unpredictable weather - magnificent light moods
  • Cons:The famous spots can be crowded in december and january
  • In a nutshell:A magical place to experience Patagonia's natural history
  • Last visit to Torres del Paine: Jan 2000
  • Intro Updated Dec 31, 2011
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Reviews (18)

Comments (50)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    The landscape is amazing in Torres del Paine NP and I can understand why you have returned here several times. It is a place I would like to visit for hiking one day. Too bad to hear about the fire, that's awful news!

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Wow, what an amazing landscape! Beautiful photos Ingrid! Hahaha, I am glad to see that I am not the only one who is fascinated by seeing lichens. Amazing isn't it, how many different sorts and types there are!

    Oh, what a disaster! It is heartbreaking to see the images of Torres del Paine on fire!!! I know how much you love this place! I've always dreamed of visiting here after seeing your pages, although not sure anymore if I ever will due to altitude.

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Hehe, I'm sneaking into VT while part of my family went to church and the other part is relaxing and waiting for dinner ;-) So I just wanted to have a look at this special place that you told me about today.
    I have never seen any pictures of Patagonia before, so I really am astonished by your wonderful pictures... SO beautiful!!! The pictures of Los Cuernos look like oil paintings - unbelievable.
    Although these tips are a little older, you give a good impression of how hiking can be organised in this area!
    I can imagine that your heart must be aching so much for this place now - I hope all the best and that the fires will be stopped soon :'-(

  • Maria81's Profile Photo
    Nov 12, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    A stunning location! Can't wait till we're going in Feb!!

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    Hi Ingrid, I'm sooo amazed at the pic of Quemos del Paine! and the whole page really takes me back to La Patagonia! Was on the Argentina side but such beauty goes beyond borders! :)

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    What beautiful and rugged country!!Im back for another look.Great page Ingrid..your photos are terrific! Did you see any signs of Puma..tracks maybe??

  • Ujamaflip's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2008 at 11:48 AM

    What a beautiful place!

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2008 at 2:12 AM

    Excellent photos of all the stunning scenery. Doubt if I will ever go there so it was great to see it all with your eyes. Thank you for the fantastic virtual tour.:)

  • Jan 15, 2008 at 6:23 PM

    the dream is happening. at the expense of the uzbek dream. but i'll make that one happen too. hehe. loving your page as always x

  • Hopkid's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    Great tips and photos of TdP! I'm totally obsessed with going there!

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