NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION The Torres del Paine lie in Chile’s southernmost region of Patagonia, 250 miles (400 km) northwest of Punta Arenas
VISITORS PER YEAR
CLIMATE The temperature at this southern extremity of South America rarely rises above 68°F (20°C), and winters are often well below freezing
The harsh and beautiful wilderness region of Patagonia, which is shared by Argentina and Chile, does not give up its secrets easily, but rewards the few people who make it this far south with some truly breathtaking scenery. Home to mountains, fjords, glaciers, unbelievably blue lakes, and perhaps the best fishing and big-game hunting to be found on the continent, Torres del Paine National Park (see also p150) is the epicenter of all that is untamed and unspoiled in the area. A trek through its many spectacular peaks – most of which can be scaled by mid-level climbers – is guaranteed to send you back for more. In fact, most of its visitors are returning trekkers.
Getting There Torres del Paine National Park isn’t a cheap destination. Most visitors fly the 1,350-mile (2,200-km) journey from Santiago to Punta Arenas, and then travel by road on to the park. Some people arrive by ship or bus at Puerto Natales, which is 70 miles (115 km) south of the park.
When to Go Between October and April, when days have up to 16 hours of direct sunlight, is the best time to visit, although the park is open all year.