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Patagonia, Trekking Paradise with W-Trek (12 Days) - Self Guided


Patagonia, Trekking Paradise with W-Trek (12 Days) - Self Guided

Day 1: El Chalten

Arrival at El Calafate airport. Shuttle from airport to El Chalten accommodation. Check in

Day 2: El Chalten

Free day to do some self guided treks; for example to Laguna de los Tres, where you reach the lagoon at the base of Mt Fitz Roy after a 4 hour hike. It is recommended to begin between 07:00 and 08:00 to be able to get to the lagoon and back.

Day 3: El Chalten

Free day to do more self guided treks; for example to Laguna Torre, where you can see the reflection of the legendary Cerro Torre at the lagoon of the same name. It is a bit shorter than Laguna de los Tres but it is also recommended to depart early.

Day 4: El Chalten - Calafate

Early start. Take the 08:00 bus from El Chalten to El Calafate. Arrival to the bus station at about 11:00, and you make your own way to your accommodation.

Day 5: El Calafate

After breakfast, you will be picked up and taken to Los Glaciares National Park.

After the National Park control and paperwork, the bus will leave you at the embarking pier located in “Bajo de las Sombras” port, about 6 km before the glacier Balconies - where you embark for a 20 minutes navigation across the Rico Arm, enjoying breathtaking views of the Perito Moreno glacier’s front wall.

You disembark on the opposite shore, where specialized bilingual mountain guides welcome you and lead you to a small shelter. After checking the last details, in groups of not more than 20, you follow your guide along the lake’s shore towards the edge of the glacier. Once on the ice, the guides help each participant put on a pair of crampons, and explain how to use them.

The 1½ hour circuit that follows will introduce you to the fascinating landscape of the glaciers: streams, small lagoons, gullies, crevasses and plenty of ice formations of the most incredible blues. The trekking is moderate. The ice surface over which you walk is irregular, but firm and safe. You will receive explanations about flora, fauna and general glaciology of the region and also about the particular phenomenon that happens in the Perito Moreno Glacier and eventually produces its rupture. After the walk, a stroll through the forest brings you back to the shelter. After the stop at the shelter there is still time to go to the catwalks / balconies to see the Glacier from another point of view.

Afterwards, it's back to your hostel or hotel. You will be picked up and dropped off from your accommodation.

Day 6: El Calafate - Puerto Natales

Breakfast. Make your own way to the bus station and take the morning bus (between 07:30 - 08:00, depending on the day) to Puerto Natales in Chile. Arrival and make your own way to 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.

Day 7: Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine (Regular Bus)

Find your own way to the bus station. Registration time at Rodoviario (Bus Station) is at 14:00. Departure is at 14:30 with arrival at Portería Laguna Amarga 16:30. Transfer in 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 at Laguna Amarga, all travelers must get off of the bus and visit the CONAF Administration Office where they will follow all necessary paperwok to enter the park; the park entrance fee is included in the cost of the program. Having finished the paperwork, travelers will board the transfer vehicles which will take them to the sector surrounding the Cerro Paine Ranch and then on to the Welcome Centre of their first accommodation site.

Night 1 of W-Trek: Refugio Torre Central.

Day 8: Trekking Base Torres Lookout (7 - 8 hours, 13 Km)

Recommended time to begin the trek is at 09:00. The first stage includes an ascent for about 1½ hours, with beautiful views of the surrounding lakes and Mount Almirante Nieto’s hanging glacier (2.670 m.a.s.l.), until arriving at Refugio El Chileno. Here, you will go through check-in, recharge 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 to one of the site’s most magnificent areas, "Base Torres Lookout", from where the imposing Torre Sur (2.850 m a.s.l.), Torre Central (2.800 m a.s.l.), Torre Norte (2.600 m a.s.l.), Nido de Condor and Glacier Torre can all be appreciated. Back to Sector Central using the same trail.

Level of difficulty: High

Night 2 of W-Trek: Refugio Torre Centra

Day 9: Refugio Torre Centra - Refugio Los Cuernos (or Domo Frances) (5 - 6 hours, 11 Km)

Recommended time to begin the trek is at 09:00. 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 to the “Atajo”, a path on the right that continues towards Refugio Los Cuernos. Along the journey, you can take pictures of the incredible sites of Lake Nordenskjöld: the hanging glaciers and local flora, including the “ciruelillo” or “notro” trees, which display their characteristic red flowers from December onwards. After a four or five-hour walk, you will arrive at the area entitled Los Cuernos, which is considered by many as one of the most welcoming spots along the entire circuit. If Los Cuernos is not available, Domo Frances is an excellent alternative.

Level of difficulty: Medium.

Night 3 of W-Trek: Refugio Los Cuernos (or Domo Frances)

Day 10: Trekking to Francés Valley / Paine Grande (11 - 12 hours, 25.3 Km)

Recommended time to begin the trek is at 08:00. The first two hours are fairly easy, with views of Lake Nordenskjöld until arriving to “Camp Italiano”. At this point, we recommend that you contact CONAF staff and make arrangements for leaving 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 (1½ hrs). From there, the climb continues along the path until arriving to 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 Paine Grande shelter is located.

Level of difficulty: High

Night 4 of W-Trek: Paine Grande Lodge

Day 11: Trekking to Grey Glacier Lookout (8 - 9 hours, 22 Km). Torres del Paine - Puerto Natales

Recommended time to begin the trek is at 09:00. Roundtrip to the Grey Glacier Lookout. After about 1½ hours, 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 1½ - 2 hours, you'll reach the main lookout with spectacular views of Grey Glacier, Cordón Olguín and the ice floes. The return journey follows the same path, arriving to 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 bus 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

Ferry Itinerary PM / AM:
- Registration time at the pier: 18:00 / Departure: 18:30/ Approximate arrival time to Rodoviario Natales: 22:00
- It is possible that due to physical and climate conditions you prefer to return on the first ferry. In this instance, the walk will only reach the first lookout (three hours approximate roundtrip). If taking advantage of this option, registration time at the pier is: 11:00/ Departure: 11:30/ Approximate arrival time to Rodoviario Natales: 16:30
- It’s important that on this day you effectively calculate walking times in order to be on time for the ferry departures.
- When walking to the glacier, backpacks can be safely left at Paine Grande Lodge (a free service for travelers who are staying at this place).

Day 12: Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas Airport

Breakfast and check out. You make your own way to the bus station to take the Punta Arenas Airport public bus (or Punta Arenas city if you are not flying out). Bus Times: 07:00 / 10:00 / 12:30 / 15:00 / 17:15 / 19:00 / 21:00
Optional: Return bus to El Calafate

What's Included

Shuttle from El Calafate Airport to El Chalten
3 nights accommodation in El Chalten at selected room with breakfast
Bus from El Chalten to El Calafate
2 nights Accommodation in Calafate at selected room with breakfast.
Minitrekking over Perito Moreno Glacier, Full Day Tour (age limit: 65 years old)
Bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales
1 nights Accommodation in Puerto Natales at selected room with breakfast (pre and post W Trek)
Self-guided W Trek Circuit 5 days 4 nights in Refugio Dorm or in Tent room, including:
* entrance fee to National Park
* Bus from Puerto Natales to Paine and shuttle to Sector Central
* 4 nights accommodation in Refugio or Tent
* Full Board (Breakfast, Lunch Box, Dinner)
* Boat Trip Lake Pehoe
* Bus from Port of Lake Pehoe to Puerto Natales
* Self Guided treks
* Regular Bus Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas Airport (or to Punta Arenas city)

What’s included?

Extra expenses at the destination
Entrance fees to Glaciers National Park (approx. 23 USD per person). Paid in local currency.
Additional egular bus from Puerto Natales to El Calafate: approx. 40 USD. Paid in local currency.


Choose between a hostel dorm ensuite or a private (single/double) room with shared facilities, in El Chalten, Calafate, and Puerto Natales and between Refugio or Tent (max. 2 people per tent) while on W-Trek. Please note that towels are not included when staying in the dorm.

Local transport

Included Transportation
- Bus from El Chalten to El Calafate
- Bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales
- Bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine and shuttle to Sector Central
- Bus from Port of Lake Pehoe to Puerto Natales
- Regular Bus Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas Airport (or to Punta Arenas city)


According to itinerary

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