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Torres del Paine - Getting Here

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Getting to Torres del Paine

Nearest Airport
The nearest city with an airport for commercial jet flights is
Punta Arenas. Puerto Natales also has its own airport, but commercial flights here are usually only operated at the weekend in the summer months and have an unreliable time-table.

The principal entry points to Torres del Paine are:

Punta Arenas

The flight to
Punta Arenas from Santiago is 4.5hrs, often via Puerto Montt; and during the summer season, once a week from Ushuaia. From the airport you would then either be met by a private transfer service (if you have contracted one), take the regular bus from Punta Arenas city centre to Puerto Natales and change to another bus to get to TDP, or have arranged for your own car rental. Note that a permit is required to take any car across the border in to Argentina.

El Calafate

From El Calafate you can take the regular bus across the border (departs 08:00hrs) to Puerto Natales (arrives 13:00hrs approx) and change to the regular bus that then goes to TDP departing around 14:00hrs, or arrange a private transfer service or a car rental. Also from El Calafate we can organise a direct bus transfer to TDP (Laguna Amarga) departing El Calafate at 05:30hrs.

 

Puerto Natales

Navimag operates a commercial ferry ship, which also takes passengers, from Puerto Montt. This ship arrives to Puerto Natales and offers a good-value cruise that passes through the channels and fiords in the area en-route to Puerto Natales (the cruise is available from Puerto Natales too). From Puerto Natales you either take the regular bus to TDP, have a pre-arranged private transfer meet you or organise a rent a car.

 

Location Distances

Punta Arenas to Laguna Amarga in Torres del Paine (TDP) – 370km (5hrs drive)

Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales – 250km (3hrs drive)

Puerto Natales to TDP Laguna Amarga – 120km (2hrs to drive)

Puerto Natales to TDP Rio Serrano (newest route via Milodon-Cave road) – 70km (1hr to drive)

 

Most Popular Time to Come

The Summer: December, January and February is typically the most popular time for visitors because the weather is warmer and it is the Winter holiday period in the Northern hemisphere.

 

Best Time to Come

To avoid the crowds the best time to visit is before mid December or after February. The Winter period is also a wonderful time to experience the tranquillity of the Park and enjoy picturesque wintry scenes and get lower-cost accommodation.

 

Emergency Rescue

Trekking in Torres del Paine requires attention to safety, personal responsibility and commonsense. You need to come with the right clothes, be very aware of changing weather conditions and also bring other items such as a torch, water and food for the period when you are out trekking.  If you are in need of serious emergency help it may well be VERY SLOW in arriving. Helicopters cannot often get into the park because of high winds and the long distance from Punta Arenas. Normally rescue from the remote sectors of the Park will mean transport by horseback or being carried on a stretcher over rough terrain to the nearest road vehicle and then be driven for 3 hrs to Puerto Natales or even longer to Punta Arenas.

 

Distances & Fuel

Distances within the park can be quite long between refugios, hosterias and campsites. The park is also a 2 hr drive from Puerto Natales and visitors should therefore ensure that they have full fuel tanks when leaving Puerto Natales if they are in their own car rental. Cerro Castillo, about half way between Puerto Natales and the Torres del Paine park entrances, sometimes has petrol but can also be sold out. There is an emergency supply of petrol in the park near the CONAF centre close to Posada Rio Serrano, but again, this should not be relied upon.

 

Entering the Torres del Paine

Visitors need to register at the park entrance and pay to enter.
The cost is approximately USD25 per person The Park is administered by CONAF ("Corporacion Nacional Forestal") and income is distributed throughout the organization. The CONAF admin centre is located within the park at the northern end of Lago del Toro, or
11 km past the Explora hotel heading west towards the Rio Serrano end. Here there is an information centre and exhibits the geographical make-up of the Park as well as information on the flora and fauna.

 

Entrances

There are four main entrances to Torres del Paine National Park:
1 - Laguna Amarga
2 - Lago Sarmiento
3 - Laguna Azul

 

The above three are all located in the eastern sector of the park and would be accessed on the route that passes via the border village of Cerro Castillo.

 

4 – Rio Serrano

Rio Serrano is a recently-opened route and is at the western end of the Park and accessed on the route that passes the MilodonCave.

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