The W Trek is a trek that takes 4 or 5 days and brings you to several of the highlights along the front half of Torres del Paine National Park. As you can see in the map below, the route takes you along trails in a rough W shape. You can do the W Trek from west to east or east to west – you will see all the same sights and hike all the same trails, the only difference is the starting point. (If you book through us, you don’t need to worry about starting point, as transportation to and from the park is included!)
Following are a few options of W Trek packages. Further down the page, we have more information about the W Trek. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you put together your perfect trip to Torres del Paine!
The W Trek in blue, the O Circuit covers the entire W Trek and the purple route.
This image is from Conaf Chile [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)] – we added the purple and blue lines and trek labels.
There are two options for lodging during the trek: Campsites and Refugios. Note that you will not be allowed to enter the park for a multi-day trek without proof of lodging reservations! Following is a brief overview of both options, and we also have a detailed post about Lodging in Torres del Paine at this link.
Campsites Overview: The campsites have 4 season tents and are located either right next to, or very close to, the refugios. The campsites have access to bathrooms and hot showers, and if you stay in the campsite, you are allowed to access the cafeteria/bar and lounge area of the refugios as well. When you book a package, your tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag come pre assembled at each location. If you are doing the trip DYI, you will need to book the campsites in advance and bring your own gear. Campsites are the best way to enjoy a private lodging experience and fully immerse in Patagonian nature!
Refugios Overview: The refugios are large cabin-style buildings with dorm rooms, a cafeteria/bar, a lounge area, and large shared bathrooms. All bedrooms are dorms, with at least 6 bunk-style beds in each room.
The O Circuit covers the same trails as the W Trek, and then also goes around the back half of the park. It takes between 8-12 days to complete, depending on your specific route and fitness level. As you can see in the map above, the circuit takes you in a rough O shape around the park. In addition to the highlights listed above along the W Trek, the O Trek also goes to:
Note that we highly recommend having a guide on the back half of the O circuit – it can be difficult to navigate. We know many travelers prefer to hike without a guide, which is why we offer a “Half and Half” trek – an O Circuit that is guided on the back half, and self-guided on the front half.
Hiking Boots: The trail goes over diverse terrain, including rocks, mud, grass, and loose gravel. Additionally, the weather in Patagonia is highly unpredictable (more on that below in this post), so you’ll have no way of knowing whether or not it will rain during your trip. We highly recommend wearing hiking boots that are waterproof and have good ankle protection. If you are buying a new pair before this hike, be sure to break them in first, otherwise you will likely get blisters during the trek.
Hiking Poles: The wind in Torres del Paine can be incredibly strong – up to 100km/hr! Sometimes, the wind will be so strong it will make you feel unsteady on the trail. As such, we recommend bringing hiking poles, which will help you keep your balance. If you have any knee issues, even minor ones, we highly recommend hiking poles – they help take weight off your knees with each step (especially downhill).
Preparing for Rain: It could rain any day of your trek, for the whole day or just for part of it. Either way, we recommend lining your backpack with a waterproof liner (can just use a trash bag if you don’t want to get a fancy one) and keeping all your stuff within the liner. That way, if there is unexpected rain, your stuff will stay dry, even if the outer layer of your backpack gets wet.
Water Filter: We highly recommend bringing a water filtration system. While bathing in the streams of the park is prohibited, people still do it, so if you’re planning on drinking the stream water, you will definitely want a filtration system.
Layers: The weather is extremely variable, so it’s best to dress in layers. Over the course of the day, it is common to start with your coat on, end up down to just your tee shirt, suddenly need your rain jacket, and by the end of the day be wearing your coat again.
There is a full packing list at the bottom of this post!
Most hotels/hostels in Puerto Natales allow you to leave luggage with them while you are doing the W Trek. If for some reason your hotel does not offer this service, we can help you store your luggage at the local guide’s office in Puerto Natales!
The nearest airport is in Punta Arenas. From Punta Arenas, you can take either a bus or private transportation to Puerto Natales, which is about 3 hours north. From Puerto Natales, there are generally two daily buses that go to the park: at 7:30am and at 2:30pm (14:30); the park is about 1 hour north of Puerto Natales. Most travelers fly into Punta Arenas, take the bus to Puerto Natales, and stay there for the night the day before their trek.
The high season in Torres del Paine is in Chile’s summer months – from October to March. The peak season is November to February – during this time the park is much busier and most, if not all refugios and campsites are fully booked. If you are planning on trekking during peak season, we highly recommend booking at least 4 months in advance.
In our opinion, the best months to go to Torres del Paine are October or March – these are near the beginning and end of the season, so there are fewer people, but weather is still pleasant.
For the more adventurous travelers, it is possible to go to the park between April and September, but just note that many of the trails are closed and many of the services in the park are not available. Also note that it will likely be COLD. Really cold. But if you have experience hiking in extreme winter conditions, you will have the park to yourself during these months!
The weather is incredibly unpredictable, to the point where you may experience all four seasons in one day! Keep in mind that forecasting accurately is almost impossible, so just be prepared with layers, including clothing that can handle strong winds and rain. We have some specific gear recommendations further up this post, and below is a packing list.
We’ve found that many travelers are looking for a reliable company that can help them sort out all the logistics of the trip, so that all they have to focus on is showing up and enjoying the treks. We are experts on Torres del Paine, and have helped hundreds of travelers experience the park – whether you’re looking for a no frills, budget friendly trip, or a highly personalized luxury experience, we have an option for you. From the moment you contact Keteka, you will receive unparalleled customer service from real people that really know Chile. So check out the W Trek options on this page, or send us an email at email@example.com and we can help you put together the perfect trip to Torres del Paine!
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