With just 2 weeks and a small budget, I made plans to hike the popular 5days W Trek and 3days loop around Monte Fitz Roy, El Chalten with Perito Moreno Glacier day visit thrown in as a buffer / bonus day.
ion has always enticed outdoor enthusiasts with its amazing landscapes of snow-capped mountains and glaciers. Best hiking periods are from Oct to March during the spring/summer season and longer daylight hours.
W Trek (6 to 10th Feb)
Situated inside the famous Torres del Paine National Park, hikers have several choices of going to the max with the Full Circuit at 8-9 days or easier 1-2 days hike up Valle Ascencio to view the famous granite towers. W Trek is popular for hikers who want
a mix of difficulty and scenery.
Then there’s the choice of luxury hiking with meals and proper beds in refugios (simple bed costs from USD46/night and meals from USD13-26). The cheapest option will be to camp and carry all the necessary cooking gear & foodstuff. For those attempting W Trek, there’s always a toss-up between hiking from West to East or vice versa.
Our group opted to hike West to East, largely because we want to carry our full load up on the easier Western sections and also hike facing Cuernos del Paine when we approach from the west.
Elevation profile for W Trek (Source : CONAF park brochure)
Puerto Natales is the best gateway into Torres del Paine National Park. It’s about 3 hours bus ride from Punta Arenas, where the airport is situated. There’s plenty of gear shop to source for camping provisions and rental of tent
s and sleeping bags. Plus a decent size supermarke
t to stock up on food provisions.
The Bus Terminal houses several bus companies that sell the bus shuttle tickets into the national park and also other destinations. Wise to shop around and decide on which company has the bus time schedules required. Usual price was CLP15,000 for return trip.
Erratic Rock has a daily 3pm briefing at their premises – highly recommended for those attempting W Trek or Full Circuit. Nice to hear it from people who has done it before, and also get updated for any changes in the terrain or park rules.
Finally, good idea to bring enough cash for the trek ahead as all the operators inside the national park will not accept any credit card payments. Bring little more if you crave for a cold Coke or beer along the way which costs CLP2000 – 3000.
|Prices @ Feb 2014||CLP / pax|
|Catamaran Pudeto to trail head||12000|
|Campamento Los Cuernos||6000|
|Shuttle bus back to park entrance||2500|
|TOTAL = 48500|
Paying for campsites = usage of proper toilets and shower facilities. Shared between many campers, so do plan your toilet and shower timings.