Being out there in the wild always fascinated me, but I only actually started hiking back in 1994 when I was 19 years old.
Here you will find some tips on hiking and backpacking!
Hiking the Big W Circuit Trek with my 12-year old son – Torres Del Paine National Park, December 2018
Where to stay and cost
There are basically 3 options:
The first and most expensive way of doing either the W Ciruit or the O Circuit is to pay for a complete package, which includes accommodation (refugios and/or campsites), food and refreshments, and a certified guide. This kind of package ranges from USD 800 – USD 1,600.
- The second alternative is to make the reservations at the Refúgios and/or hotel yourself. and study and plan how you are going to complete the hike. By doing this you can reduce expenses significantly. You may either cook and carry your own food or eat at the Refugios and …
- The third option you have is to make the reservations yourself and stay only at campsites, some of which are run by CONAF, a government agency that regulates the National Parks in Chile, and are free (advance booking is required).
Torres Del Paine packages can be found at:
Here is the map..
Here is the plan..
|Day 1 Wednesday 26/12 Camping Paine Grande (Vertice)|
Daily plan: Take the early bus (7.30AM), go through park entrance at 10.00AM, take the catamaran at 11.00AM, set up camp and hike up to Mirador Pehoe to take some photos. Get ready for tomorrow’s hike – prepare the small backpack, the hiking gear and the food.
Transportation: Bus from Puerto Natales to Pudeto 129km (7.30AM or 2.30PM) via Laguna Amarga – 3 hours total to get to Pudeto.
Pudeto-Pehoe Catamaran (at 09.00AM, 11.00AM, 2.00PM, 4.15PM or 6.00PM)
Trek of the day: Mirador Pehoe 6.9 km (roundtrip)
|Day 2 Thursday 27/12 Camping Paine Grande (Vertice)|
Daily plan: Wake up early and start the hike along Lake Grey. Refugio Grey is 11 km (3.5 hours) from Paine Grande. Another approx 4 km (1.5 hours) to reach viewpoint after John Gardner bridge and Los Guardas campsite. If the weather is bad, come back after Refugio Grey. Best opportunity to see a glacier up close on the trek. It can get chilly as we approach the glacier. Get back to the campsite and prepare for tomorrow’s hike. Important to leave things ready as we’ll have to pack up the tent tomorrow morning before leaving for the hike.
Trek of the day: Glacier Grey 30.4 km (roundtrip)
|Day 3 Friday 28/12 Camping Frances (FantasticoSur)|
Daily plan: Wake up early, pack up the tent and start the hike up to Camping Frances (3 hours), set up camp and eat lunch and then hike to Mirador Britanico (3.5 hours) from Camping Frances. The hike to Camping Frances is an easy one; however, we will have to carry our backpacks. The hike to Mirador Britanico, on the other hand, is one of the toughest hikes in the W Circuit, but definitely worth the effort. After completing the hikes, get back to the campsite and prepare for tomorrow. Again, it’s important to leave things ready as we’ll have to pack up the tent tomorrow morning before leaving for the hike.
Trek of the day: Paine Grande to Frances 9.3 km with the backpack
Frances to Mirador Britanico 13.6 km (roundtrip)
|Day 4 Saturday 29/12 Camping Central (FantasticoSur)|
Daily plan: The easiest hike, but the longest carrying our backpacks. Wake up early, pack up the tent and start the hike to get to Camping Central (5.5 hours). Get to Camping Central and set up camp. It might be a good idea to stop at Refugio Los Cuernos , which is approx 3 km from Camping Frances, to break up the hike in two legs. Once again, it’s important to leave things ready as we’ll have to pack up the tent tomorrow morning before leaving for the last hike.
Trek of the day: Frances to Camping Central 15.7 km with the backpack
|Day 5 Sunday 30/12|
Daily plan: Wake up early, pack up the tent and start the hike up to Mirador Las Torres (9 hours roundtrip). Refugio Chileno is about 2 hours from Camping Central (4 km). Then from Refugio Chileno another 2.5 hours until we reach Mirador Las Torres (4.3 km). This is probably the toughest hike in the W Circuit, but we’ll have to face it if we want to see the towers.
Trek of the day: Mirador Las Torres 18.7 km (roundtrip)
Transportation: Bus from Laguna Amarga to Puerto Natales 116 km (2.30 PM or 7.45 PM) – 2.5 hours total to get to Puerto Natales.
* Hotel Las Torres – Laguna Amarga – 7 km (1.5 hours)