Trekking options in Torres del Paine NP in Chile

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Ice as far as the eye can see, granite towers, turquoise waters, forest, tundra, wildlife and more than 150km of trails: Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile has everything Patagonia has to offer to explore. With 8 days and 8 nights of adventure  on one of the most beautiful trails of the planet, our South American exploration ended up in apotheosis.

In this article, I tell you all you need to know about this magical place. You will get:

  • an overview of the trekking possibilities in Torres del Paine National Park,
  • some tips to navigate between the different options,
  • a zoom on the “circuit” trek
  • some advices for the hike,
  • all the online resources I used myself to prepare my trek.

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5 ways to get close to glaciers in Patagonia

 Ever since I watched the fantastic documentary Chasing Ice by James Balog (see the trailer here) I have been fascinated by glaciers. I wanted to get close to them, to touch them, to explore them. In Patagonia, my dreams became true.
The glaciers of Patagonia are among the most accessible in the world. Did you know that the Southern Patagonian ice field is actually the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water? It stretches between Chile and Argentina, over 12.000sqkm. It feeds more than 40 glaciers in the area among them the famous Perito Moreno (El Calafate,  Argentina) but also glaciers Viedma (El Chalten, Argentina) and Grey (NP Torres del Paine, Chile) , all really accessible to the active traveler.
Getting close to glaciers is the number one  on the list of my must do in Patagonia.

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On the roads of Chilean Tierra del Fuego (Porvenir and around)

There is nothing to see there“. “Yes, it’s precisely what we want to see“. “?” He could not get it, why should we spend 2 days on a small town where there is nothing to do? But for us, it seemed like the only way to truly discover it. Tierra del Fuego. The name inspires hectares of emptiness as far as the eye can see. Wind and desolation. After reading about the small town of Porvenir in our Lonely Planet, we were determined on exploring the place. We didn’t regret it. Adventure starts where good roads ends.

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Under the charm of Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia (Chile)

If you are following our trip “live”, you may have noticed we have been silent for more than a week. No posts, no tweets, no Instagram pictures. So what did we do the last 8 days? We walked. 151kms to be precise, for more than 47 hours of hiking, over 8 days and 8 nights of camping to explore one of the jewels of Patagonia: National Park Torres del Paine (Chile). I am now sharing the magic of this place in 14 pictures captioned with extract from my travel diary. Enjoy the trip!


1. Kilometer 0, day 1: the starting point of the “Circuit” trek

Fresh and excited. Note that we are doing the trek in autonomy and carrying around 30kg of equipment between us 2: tent, mattress, sleeping bags, food for 8 days.

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Into the wild: our first 2 day trek in autonomy

Walking kilometers, we have done. Trekking for several days too. Climbing submits, as well. But so far, all our hikes always ended up with a nice meal not cooked by us, and a night in a tent nor carried nor pitched by us. In prevision of our upcoming 9 days of trek in south Patagonia, we decided it was time to take the pluge and do our first trek in autonomy. A recommendation from an outdoor shop sales guy and here we were: on active volcano Villarica close to Pucon, Chile ; ready to conquer the first part of the Villarica traverse with a bit less than 20kg of equipment between us two. What could possibly go wrong?

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3 must do to discover the 1000 colors of Valparaiso


Valparaiso (Chile) is no quite like any city you have seen before. Authentic cable cars more than a century old link the cranes of the harbour to the mansions on the top of the hills. Art and colors are omnipresent, from the big industrial buildings to little cobled passages almost hidden to the visitor. Once a pirates´ retreat, rich during the XIX century, hurt by many earthquarkes, the messy city has attracted creative and intellectual for decades. And well, you have to admit, it’s difficult not to fall under the charm of Valparaiso.

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Mountain biking in the Atacama desert

Biking in the Atacama desert was one of my most highly anticipated adventure of the trip. Picturing majestic canyons, colorful rock formations and gigantic duns of sand, I couldn´t wait to be there. It didn´t disappoint. Get on your bike, this half day self guided tour to Vallee de la Luna at sunset will delight even those who have never done mountain biking before!

Admire the impressive amphitheater

A good way to discover Vallee de la Luna on your own

Renting a bike gives you the opportunity to explore the beautiful Valle de la Luna on your own, and cheaper (around CH$4000 to rent the bike) than if you will book a tour or rent a car. Non technical but sometimes a bit tough -steep- with landscapes rewarding the braves at every turn. At the end of the day, you will have biked in the driest desert in the world!

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