Torres del Paine’s W Trek is celebrated by active travellers globally as one of the most scenic treks anywhere. Spend four days walking through stunning landscapes surrounding Grey Glacier, French Valley, and the imposing three towers. While the trek alone is challenging enough, the real contest comes in needing to take your camera out so frequently.
Arrive in Puerto Natales at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the town. The day is free to spend at your leisure exploring the city until our welcome meeting this evening.
Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting, typically 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. After the meeting, you might want to head out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and traveling companions. Please make every effort to arrive on time for this welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.
This beautiful wind-swept town is the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. With terrific restaurants and well-stocked gear shops for renting or buying equipment, it is a great place to prepare for the trek. Tonight you will be loaned a dry bag (a bag that is watertight) to store your gear that you want taken to each campsite for you. Read more about this in the details section below. Your tour leader will also help you rent gear that you will need for the trek, such as rain pants and hiking poles.
The airport in Puerto Natales is small with limited flight connections. Most onward flight connections will be through Punta Arenas in Chile or El Calafate in Argentina which would involve taking a public bus or transfer. GEEO recommends coming in a day early so you have time check out Puerto Natales, or even spend a bit of time in Punta Arenas or El Calafate too. Just call us if you are having trouble with booking flights.
You may also want to go to Easter Island and/or Santiago before or after the trek. We can book an Easter Island tour for you or give you tips for what to do in Santiago on your own.
Embark on a 4-day excursion within Torres del Paine National Park, hiking the famous W Trek. Start the 62km (38.5 mi) route by trekking to the base of Las Torres to see the dramatic three towers and turquoise lagoon below. Today we trek 16 km, 4-5 hours mostly uphill to the Towers then another 4-5 hours back, mostly downhill. Throughout the trek you will be carrying just your day pack with your lunch, snacks, a 1 to 1.5 liter water bottle (which can be refilled throughout the hike from pristine glacial streams) and layers of clothes to deal with the ever-changing weather conditions.
Then, take a 1 hr and 30-min private vehicle transfer to the Serrano campsite where you can have a hot shower and delicious meal. This private campsite is away from the crowds so is typically quiet at night. You will be reunited with your dry sack filled with up to 5 kg (11 pounds) of your changes of clothes, snack refills, pillow, and other personal items.
Approximate travel time: 2 hrs by private vehicle to start of trek, 1.5 hours by private vehicle to campsite, 8-10 hours of hiking
Wake up surrounded by a breathtaking landscape, enjoy a scenic drive and a picturesque ferry ride on Lake Pehoé to the Paine Grande campsite. Hike from the campsite to Grey Lake and the lookout point for Grey Glacier. Admire the scale of this immense glacier. This is a much easier day than the last, with a total of roughly 5 hours of hiking covering 11km. The elevation goes up and down throughout, but doesn’t have the long uphill climbs of the previous day.
We camp at Paine Grande campsite, which has many more tents and hikers than the previous campsite. You will have a cafeteria style meal at 7:00 PM. It can be a bit loud at night and it doesn’t get dark until 11:15 at night, so we recommend bringing earplugs and an eye shade mask.
Approximate travel time: 1.5 hours by private vehicle to ferry, 45 minute ferry ride, 4-5 hours of hiking
Today we will trek 14 km over the course of 6 to 7 hours. We first hike first to the Italian camp, then set out to the French Valley Mirador. Take in some amazing scenery on this stretch – light blue lakes contrast beautifully against the deep green forest. We end the day in the spectacularly located Cuernos campsite.
Approximate travel time: 6-7 hours of hiking
Enjoy the final day of the W Trek. Wake up to the amazing views of the Cuernos del Paine (the Horns of Paine) and continue trekking to Las Torres Campsite. Finish by snapping a photo of the mountains reflecting in the Lake Nordenskjöld and enjoy the sense of accomplishment. This is a pretty easy day with relatively flat ground compared to the previous three days. You will cover roughly 9 km in roughly 4 to 5 hours.
Approximate travel time: 4-5 hrs of hiking, 2 hrs by private vehicle to Puerto Natales
Depart at anytime. The airport in Puerto Natales is small with limited flight connections. Most onward flight connections will be through Punta Arenas in Chile or El Calafate in Argentina which would involve taking a public bus or transfer.
Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to email@example.com. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
When you arrive in Puerto Natales, you will be loaned a large dry (waterproof) bag to pack your items that you will need at night on the trek. This bag will be brought to each campsite by vehicle, boat and/or horse. You will only have to carry it for at most 10 minutes at a time. You are permitted to pack 4 KG of your personal items in these bags. See packing list below for more details.
Your guide will recommends using a 1 liter (32 ounce) water bottle, like a Nalgene. You will be able to refill this in glacial streams throughout the hike. If you like to drink a lot of water, you may want to also carry a second bottle, maybe .5 liters. Some people prefer hydration bladders with straws. These work well for the purposes of this trip, but you may want to bring a smaller bottle with you as it can be hard to fill a bladder in a moving stream. The guides will tell you that that water is safe to drink. If you don’t trust them and want to be extra cautious, feel free to bring a filter, UV purifier, etc. Jesse didn’t purify his water and was fine.
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventures’ group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
On the trek you will have two trekking guides, who are in addition to your G Adventures tour leader. The three of them will allow the fast hikers to move as fast as they wish and the slower hikers to move at a slower pace.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy or, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single accommodation for all night stops.
If you are arriving to Puerto Natales airport, you can take a taxi into town for approximately 25,000 CLP (38 USD).
As there are only a few flights per week to Puerto Natales, you may find it more convenient to arrive to Punta Arenas airport, which is 3 hours away from Puerto Natales but has daily flights.
A taxi from Punta Arenas is approximately 115,000 CLP / 175 USD (3 hours travel time). There are also public transport options. Bus Sur has 7 buses from the airport per day and travel time is 3.5 hours. Buses Pacheco also have a couple of buses per day. Tickets cost about 8000 CLP/ 12 USD per person and operate between 7am and 7pm, some days there is a later bus at 9pm as well. (http://bussur.com/?lang=en)
If you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS:
G Adventures Office Buenos Aires, Argentina
During office hours (Weekdays 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Local Time)
From outside Argentina: +54 11 2150 2581
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 011 2150 2581
After hours Emergency number
From outside Argentina: +54 9 11 3425 0380
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 011 15 3425 0380
If you are unable for any reason to contact G Adventures’ local office please call their their Toronto office: Toll free from North America: 1 888 800 4100; Outside North America: +1 416 260 0999
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. Many people assume that the weather is hot in South America, but in Patagonia the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. We recommend the use of a rolling suitcase or backpack, whichever you find easiest to handle. A good size daypack (32 liters is our suggestion) is also essential.
Camping equipment for the “W” trek is provided and included in the cost of your trip. A sleeping bag and mat are also provided. You may leave the bulk of your gear stored in Puerto Natales. While hiking you will only need to carry your daypack with supplies for the duration of each day.
Note: The best clothing for trekking is either wool or synthetic materials in layers, as this is quick-drying and can keep heat in better. We suggest a base-layer, then a mid-layer such as a light fleece jacket or similar, then a windproof and waterproof layer.
LATAM Chile allows 1 piece of luggage that weighs up to 23 kg (50 lbs) on internal flights, plus one carry-on and one personal item. See LATAM’s fees for overweight luggage here.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. If you want to do your own laundry, we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
Please make sure you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for the entry and exit stamp.
Americans do not need a visa for travel in Chile for stays shorter than 90 days. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.
You will each receive an immigration receipt upon arrival in Chile. It will look like a credit card receipt and you should keep it in your passport. Please do not lose this as you will need it to leave the country.
You will be bringing your passport with you on the trek.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.
You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money, a combination of U.S. Dollar cash and cards is best. Please bear in mind that cost of living in the southern cone countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile) is much higher than the rest of South America and more comparable with Europe. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
We do not recommend bringing travelers checks as they are difficult to change in country.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, that have been heavily marked, or that are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than $100 USD (or equivalent).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-$10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
For the trek, we recommend tipping at least $25 USD perp person to your lead guide and $10 USD to the assistant guide. There will also be a tip of $5 per person for the trek driver and a possible tip for the staff at the first campsite.
Also, at the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference. As a budgeting guideline, $25 per person per week can be used.
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. Please take this seriously!
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here.
Your trip begins and ends in Puerto Natales, Chile. Please double check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Puerto Natales. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose, but we strongly urge you to arrive by 6:00 p.m. on Day 1 for our group meeting.
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Chile uses a Type C- European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
December/January is summertime in the Southern Hemisphere. If you decide to spend time in Santiago, you can expect daytime temperatures in the 80s and 90s F with lows in the 50s to 70s F. On the trek, the weather can greatly vary. It will be cooler, with highs in the 60s and 70s F and lows the 40s and 50s F, with a chance of high wind and rain.
Please keep in mind this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Breakfasts and a few dinners are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat out according to your own resources. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars and are rough estimates for budgeting your trip.
See price in top right corner
Roughly $1200-$1,900 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
Please note: It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $25 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $65 for tipping local guides and drivers. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local trekking guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
Variable. Please consult your doctor.
Variable. At your personal discretion.
$100 USD (Suggested donation)
This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.
Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance for which activities you would like to sign up. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars (USD) and Chilean Pesos (CLP).
Bellavista Neighborhood: Free
Head to “Barrio Bellavista,” as the locals call this bohemian neighborhood, to enjoy a delicious meal, check out some art galleries, or have a drink at one of the many bars in the area.
Pisco Distillery Santiago: 32,700 CLP per person
Sample the national spirit of Chile and learn more about how it is produced and why it’s a source of pride for the country.
Day Trip to Isla Negra: Varies
Take a day trip to Isla Negra, Pablo Neruda’s seaside home. This house was one of the poet and politician’s three homes. While not technically on an island, the house is near the water and it’s believed that watching the storms on the ocean inspired Neruda to write his famous poem Oda a la Tormenta. The author and his third-wife Matilde Urrutia are both buried on the grounds. The house is now a museum.
Spa and massage: Prices for a massage start at $40. We recommend the NOI Indigo hotel. They also have hot tubs and saunas.