When you research a travel destination you see all kinds of photos and in the modern day we are becoming pretty savvy on which ones are real and those that are clearly photoshopped and filtered. Torres del Paine is one such place that surely is not real. Mountains just don’t look like that, lakes don’t exist in such a creamy turquoise blue.
Except then you see this make believe landscape, again, and again. And it just so happens to be real. Let's go!
Torres del Paine National Park is at the base of Chile and it truly is nature's wonderland. From Santiago you can fly 3.5 hours south to Punta Arena, and then it’s a bus ride to Punta Natales where you acclimatise and prepare for the hike. It doesn’t matter how much you have researched, no one is too experienced to go to the free talk at Erratic Rock each day. Here they walk you through the finer points of being prepared for one of the toughest hikes in the most diverse and unpredictable landscapes.
The two most important lessons I learnt that day at Erratic Rock were (1) Expect every single type of weather, and you will probably experience it over the 10 day hike and in extreme ways. (2) Don't bother with a rain coat and don't change your clothes during the day. Take one set of clothes for day - this is your stink suit. And one clean set of clothes for when you get to camp.
Benno in his 'stink suit'
The most popular hike in the Torres is a 4 day “W hike” which takes in the stunning 3 granite towers at the centre of the park. My theory was that if I’d somehow ended up in one of the most remote places I’ll ever visit, there doesn’t seem to be a reasonable excuse to not do the full 10 day loop around the whole park, taking in the Patagonian Ice Sheet and the Dickson Pass.
It was truly worth it.
Lake views don't come much more delicious
Indeed the photos did not lie and Torres del Paine will remain one of world’s great adventures.
1. Visit Torres del Paine national park, hike the "W" trail for 4 days or if you have it in you, do the full "O" trail over about 10 days. Breathtaking scenery of mountains, lakes, glaciers, snow passes, rivers, fields. Simply stunning
2. Take in the driest and most arid desert in the world - San Pedro de Atacama desert. Take a tour in a jeep through stunning landscapes, volcanic springs, salt flats
3. Partake in the latin american spirit in Santiago, the capital of Chile. The food, the culture, the music, the FOOTBALL. What a place!