Torres del Paine National Park

December 2022 January 2023

Exploring Patagonia had been at the top of our travel bucket list for a long time. Our dream comes true as we arrive in the Chilean part of Patagonia after an outstanding flight over the volcanoes and peaks of the Andes mountain range. As soon as we arrive, we are greeted by the powerful cold Patagonian wind. Puerto Natales is our first stop. From here, we are off to discover the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park.

Puerto Natales

The friendly seaside town Puerto Natales is the ideal starting point for exploring Torres del Paine National Park. Despite being a popular tourist destination, Puerto Natales is far from crowded, allowing us to explore the small town in complete tranquility. We feel very much at home here and particularly appreciate the hospitality of the locals, the many inviting cafés and good restaurants.

Two days of preparation and the famous W-Trek are on the agenda. Unfortunately, Marion get sick and our plans fall through. We have to postpone the W-Trek until January. We are however not going to stand still and, after Marion’s recovery, we head off for two days to Tierra del Fuego and Punta Arenas.

Our highlights

Lively small town


Mesita Grande

Pizzeria Napoli

Creperia Cafe & Te

El Taller Cocina Saludable

The Coffee Maker

Nomad Coffee

Hablemos Coco Cafe

Holaste! Specialty Coffee

El Obrador Panaderia

Patagonia Dulce

Wine & Market Patagonia

DT Loft

Costaustralis Hotel


Torres del Paine National Park

After spending over a month in the Argentinean part of Patagonia, we return to Puerto Natales in early January. The weather has significantly improved since end of November, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to explore Torres del Paine National Park. 

Torres del Paine, which means “blue towers”, is named after the mountain formation that dominates the area. This expansive park, spanning 2420 km2, offers breathtaking natural landscapes, majestic mountains, fjords, glaciers, lakes and a diverse range of wildlife. In fact, it is home to the largest concentration of mountain lions in the world.

Our highlights

Journey through the park

Cordillera del Paine

Unspoiled nature & landscape


Numerous viewpoints



Exploring the park

The W-Trek (3-5 days) and the O-Trek (7-10 days) are among the most well-known multi-day hikes on the continent. The park has however much more to offer than just these treks. During a two-day trip, we drive across the park and take some walks to explore its beauty. Along the bumpy natural road through the park, there are many magnificent viewpoints and short hikes.

We spend the night in a simple yet charming hut located in the heart of the park, the Goiien House. In the evening and early morning, we embark on a search for mountain lions in an area recommended to us. Unfortunately, we are not lucky that day. We also go on a couple of short hikes, to Mirador Cóndor and Mirador Los Cuernos. The wind is blowing particularly strong that day. It adds a humorous element to our progress, making it either more difficult or much easier depending on the wind direction. Both hikes offer breathtaking views of the park and the famous and impressive Cordillera del Paine mountain range.

Our highlights

Hike Mirador Cóndor

Mirador Cóndor

Hike Mirador Cuernos

Mirador Los Cuernos

Andean condors


Goiien House

The W-Trek

Patagonia’s renowned multi-day hike takes us four days and over 72 km into Torres del Paine National Park, following a W-shaped itinerary. From the all-inclusive guided tour with overnight stays in huts to the 7-10 day self-guided O-Trek with your own tent, there are many ways to undertake this hike.

Due to their popularity, the W-Trek huts are already fully booked months in advance. To minimize expenses, we remain flexible and organize the trek ourselves. We hope for last-minute cancellations from other hikers and struggle with the annoying booking system. The organization of the trek is putting our nerves to the test and making us doubt. Is this popular and overpriced trek really worth it? We want to find out for ourselves.

January 10, we start the trek. For four days, we are incredibly lucky to have the weather on our side, which is far from a given for this trek. Our days are rich in emotions, surrounded by glaciers, mountains and lakes, exploring beautiful valleys and forests. The outbound trip by shuttle boat on Lake Pehoe is already an exquisite moment. The first day takes us to the imposing Grey Glacier. The next day, we particularly enjoy the path to the start of the Francés Valley. The third day begins with a beautiful rainbow over Lake Nordenskjöld and ends in the magnificent Ascencio valley, at the welcoming Chileno refuge. The final day is devoted to climbing up to the Torres del Paine, the national park’s landmark.

Along the way, we regularly get to know other hikers: a group of four English hikers whom we frequently meet during the trek, the enthusiastic French Jean-Pierre and his wife Marine, who are doing the W-Trek in the opposite direction, and Susanne and Tom, two long-time Swiss travelers who have just completed the O-Trek.

Was the W-Trek worth it? The trek was a remarkable conclusion to our trip in South America. The landscapes are incredibly wild and unique. Although there are always a lot of people on the trek, we never had the impression – except for the last part to the Torres – that the trails were crowded. To discover Torres del Paine National Park, completing the W-Trek is not necessary. It however does offer a unique and immersive experience in practically untouched nature and allows you to explore the park in a truly singular way.

Our highlights

Unique experience

Multi-day hike

Hike to the Torres

Hike to Glacier Grey

Encounters on the trek

Valle Ascencio

Boat ride on Pehoe Lake

Lago Grey

Glacier Grey

Refugio Chileno

Refugio Los Cuernos