The fog was slowly unveiling the Torres del Paine. The rainbow was hanging over the snowy peaks of the surrounding mountains. The waters of the lake were getting rough as a strong wind was blowing. Our small backpacks were plenty of chocolate bars and sandwiches for a full day trek. Wearing sturdy shoes and a few layers of clothes for the changing weather of Patagonia; equipped with walking sticks, we left our hotel situated in the middle of the lake through a bridge connecting it with the road. We headed to the starting point of the Torres del Paine trek – one of the most beautiful and famous treks of the Chilean Patagonia.
The road to the starting point led through one of the most stunning mountain landscapes I have ever seen. On the way, we passed by a herd of guanacos and a waterfall with a rainbow above it.
We left our car at the parking at the Hotel de las Torres. It is where we started the Torres del Paine trek.
We crossed many wooden bridges hanging above a running river, which allowed only one person at a time. We walked on a path on a steep slope. I was scared to death and was trying not to look down at the river few hundred meters down. After two hours of walk, we got to the Chilean refuge (Refugio Chileno) to get rest before the remaining part of the trek. However, we were not aware that the most challenging part of it, was still ahead of us. The water from the river just behind the Refugio Chileno is drinkable. We refilled our bottles for the rest of the trek.
After a short rest, we crossed some wooden bridges of poor construction. We saw few waterfalls, passed a black forest and finally, we got to a steep slope full of huge rocks. Besides, it was an hour of the most challenging climbing of this trek.
We were finally in front of the majestic Torres del Paine and their emerald lake. Although the last part was very tough, the views were rewarding. We saw some brave and crazy guys swimming in the icy waters of the lake. We spent almost an hour admiring the Torres del Paine. Then we hit the road back. On our way back on the same steep slope, we had to pass four horses coming from the opposite direction. The horses supply the Refugio Chileno. I sat down to ensure I would not fall and slide down as the path was very narrow. At the same time, I admired the person riding the horses on the path on the steep slope.
I must admit that this miracle of nature is well hidden somewhere in the Patagonian Mountains and the road is not suitable for everybody. It is a long way to get there, and once we got there I thought for a while – almost 4 hours of trekking, we take few pictures and we have to go back? There isn’t anything else to see? But in spite of my little disappointment, it is one of the places you have to visit in Patagonia.
How did we get there:
We took the plane from Santiago to Punta Arenas (3 hours flight). From there we took a bus to Puerto Natales (3 hours ride). We stayed one night in Puerto Natales and hired a car in our hostel. On the next day, we drove to the National Park of Torres del Paine. We booked a hotel there. Accommodation is costly inside the park. However, it is a once in a lifetime experience to stay in such a beautiful place. Besides, you are close from the place where you start the Torres del Paine trek.
There are two roads to get to the park. The road number 9 is much better quality and is faster. The road Y-290 is unpaved especially closer to the park. It offers beautiful views, and we found small lupin fields. It is also closer to the Grey Lake viewpoint. If you decide to take the Y-290 keep in mind that small rocks can damage the front windows in your car. The car we hired had cracks.
You can choose between low cost airlines and the national airline. If you see that the Price is really high try to put the country of your research as Chile. It was 4 times cheaper! 800€ againts 250€ for 2 people. Besides, the airlines offer promotions mostly on Mondays. Like their Facebook pages and follow the promotions. You will be able to save quite a lot of money. The flights early in the morning are usually cheaper too. If you get a chance try to fly to Puerto Natales directly instead of Punta Arenas. Althought Punta Arenas as small as it seems, has some nice places to visit during 2-3 hours.
Once you are in Torres del Paine, you should also visit the glacial Perito Moreno in Argentina. You can read about it HERE