Arrival in El Calafate. Airport pick-up and check-in at your accommodation.
Enjoy an early breakfast and get ready to be picked up for a full day tour to Perito Moreno Glacier. People from all over the world come to this remote place in Southern Patagonia to be a witness of the Ice Age. This is one of the few moving glaciers on our planet, and a visit is not only worth it, but a MUST. We start from El Calafate early in the morning to enjoy the landscape, nature, fauna and the wide variety of birds (trying to arrive at the glacier before everyone else). Through the gateways you visit the north face of the Perito Moreno Glacier in different viewpoints and altitudes. The Perito Moreno Glacier has the size of the Buenos Aires city and is between 40 and 50 meters high. Due to the falling angle, it receives more ice than the ice that melts, so it advances, grows and breaks every now and then. Quite a unique thing to witness! We'll take you back to your accommodation around 16-17:00.
Make your own way to the bus station to catch a morning bus (departure at about 07:30-08:00) to Puerto Natales in Chile. On arrival make your own way to your accommodation. You will have a briefing at W-Trek offices to tell you about the national park, basic security, itineraries and all you need for your self-guided trek.
Registration time at Rodoviario Bus Station: 14:00. Departure: 14:30. Arrival in Portería Laguna Amarga: 16:30.
Find your own way to the bus station to board a regular bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine. The journey lasts approximately 2 hours (112 km), passing through Cerro Castillo (a small border town situated along the route to the park and 54 km from Puerto Natales). Upon arrival in Laguna Amarga, all travellers must get off of the bus and visit the CONAF Administration Office where they will fill in all necessary documents to enter the park; the park entrance fee is included in the cost. Having finished the paperwork, you will board the transfer vehicles that belong to Transportes Las Torres and which will take you to the sector surrounding the Cerro Paine Ranch and then on to The Welcome Centre of your first accommodation site (Refugio Torre Central).
The recommended time to begin the 13-km trek is 09:00 as it takes about 7-8 hours to the next pitstop.
The first stage includes an ascent for about 1,5 hours, with beautiful views of the surrounding lakes and Mount Almirante Nieto’s hanging glacier at 2670 metres, until arriving at Refugio El Chileno. Here, you will go through check-in, recharge your energies and leave your main luggage before initiating the climb with a small rucksack. From here, and for about an hour, you will cross a millennium-old forest of lenga trees before arriving to the base of the Morrena. At this point, you will ascend for about 45 minutes in order to arrive at one of the site’s most magnificent areas, Base Torres Lookout, from where the imposing Torre Sur (2850 m), Torre Central (2800 m), Torre Norte (2600 m), Nido de Condor and Glacier Torre can all be appreciated.
Accommodation: Refugio El Chileno. If there are no beds available at this cabin, the alternative is to return to Torre Central (an additional 2 hours' walk).
Level of difficulty: High
The recommended time to begin the 11-km trek is 09:00 as it takes about 5-6 hours to the next pitstop.
Today you'll do a moderate trek around the Macizo Paine, circling the base of Mount Almirante Nieto. From Refugio El Chileno, and after half an hour’s walk, you will arrive at the Atajo, a path on the right that continues towards Refugio Los Cuernos. Along the journey you can take pictures in the incredible sites of Lake Nordenskjöld, the hanging glaciers and local flora, including the ciruelillo or notro trees, which delight in displaying their characteristic red flowers from December onwards. After a 4-5 hours' walk, you will reach the area of Los Cuernos, which is considered by many as one of the most welcoming spots along the entire circuit.
Accommodation: Refugio Los Cuernos
Level of difficulty: Medium
The recommended time to begin the 25.3-km trek is 08:00 as it takes about 11-12 hours to the next pitstop.
The first two hours are fairly light with views of Lake Nordenskjöld until arriving at Camp Italiano. At this point, we recommend that you contact CONAF staff and make arrangements for leaving your backpacks at the camp before beginning the ascent with just a small rucksack containing water, food and warm clothing. The climb begins from the valley of River Francés and continues all the way up to the Francés Glacier Lookout (1.5 hours). From there, the climb continues along the path until arriving at the area called Británico and the Británico lookout, which offers one of the national park’s most impressive landscape views. The peaks that can be appreciated from this lookout are Paine Grande, Catedral, Hoja, Máscara, Espada, Aleta de Tiburón and Cuerno Norte. The return trek follows the same path down to Camp Italiano and then onwards to the sector known as Pehoé, where the lodge is located.
Accommodation: Paine Grande Lodge
Level of difficulty: High
The recommended time to begin the 22-km trek is 09:00 as it takes about 8-9 hours to complete the Grey Glacier lookout roundtrip.
After about one and a half hours of trekking you will reach the first lookout, where it’s possible to observe the glacier at a distance. From there you will follow a path that circles the west bank of Lake Grey. After about 1.5-2 hours you will reach the main lookout with spectacular views of Grey Glacier, Cordón Olguín and the ice floes. The return journey follows the same path, arriving at the sector known as Pehoé. At the pier you will board a ferry and take a trip across Lake Pehoé, disembarking at the sector known as Pudeto from which point a transfer will be waiting to take you back to Puerto Natales. You have to make your way from the bus station to your accommodation in Puerto Natales.
Level of difficulty: Medium
Registration time at the pier: 18:00. Departure: 18:30. Approximate arrival time in Rodoviario Natales: 22:00.
It is possible that due to the physical and climate conditions you prefer to return on an earlier ferry. In this instance, the walk will only reach the first lookout (approximately 3 hours for the roundtrip). If going for this option, the registration time at the pier is: 11:00. Departure: 11:30. Approximate arrival time in Rodoviario Natales: 16:30.
It’s important that on this day you effectively calculate the trekking times in order to be on time for your selected ferry departure.
When walking to the glacier, backpacks can be safely left at Paine Grande Lodge (a free service for travellers who are staying at this place).
Breakfast and check-out. Make our own way to the bus station to catch the public bus to Punta Arenas Airport (or Punta Arenas city if you are not flying out).
Bus departure times: 07:00 / 10:00 / 12:30 / 15:00 / 17:15 / 19:00 / 21:00
El Calafate airport pick-up
2 nights' accommodation with breakfast in El Calafate
Full day Perito Moreno Glacier tour
Bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales
2 nights accomodation with breakfast in Puerto Natales
Self-guided 5-day W-Trek Circuit including:
* 4 nights' shared accommodation in a refugio
* Entrance fee to National Park
* Bus from Puerto Natales to Paine and shuttle to Sector Central
* Full board (breakfast, lunch box, dinner)
* Boat trip Lake Pehoe
* Bus from Port of Lake Pehoe to Puerto Natales
Regular bus from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas airport/city