Torres del Paine National Park, W Circuit vs. Traditional Visit

Both colossal and unique, the Torres del Paine rise in Southern Chilean the colourful nature and impressive rocky landscape is one of the most popular outdoor adventure destinations in the world. W Circuit vs. Traditional Visit. Which one to choose?

by Virginia Crivelli
Travel Specialist in Trips SouthAmerica

Torres del Paine National Park

Both colossal and unique, the Torres del Paine rise in Southern Chilean the colourful nature and impressive rocky landscape is one of the most popular outdoor adventure destinations in the world.
W Circuit vs. Traditional Visit. Which one to choose?

No one can deny that one of the biggest attractions when visiting Chile is the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

Since I started working in Tourism, I have not stopped listening to different travelers commenting on their experience in this beautiful place, especially the anecdotes of those who have made the famous Trekking W.

This one deals with a long walk that, in its classic version, consists of 4 nights and 5 days of excursion for which it is due to be prepared to walk long distances during many hours and, sometimes, through very steep walkways. Of course, all that effort has its reward, since this is the only way to arrive at certain sectors of the Park to be able to observe the most stunning landscapes.

It is necessary to consider that, to be able to make this activity, you must be on certain physical state and good health since, besides to have to walk during several hours per day, you’ll have to carry a daypack with your personal effects (water, sunblock, glasses, jumper, etc) and, in case of not hiring the services of a specialized company, you would even have to carry all the necessary food for every day and your camping equipment. There is the possibility of spending the night in mountain refuges, that you have to book in advance, and would increase the cost of the excursion. It is not necessary to be a professional, if you love challenges and you are an adventurer by nature, this is an activity you should not miss out!

But I could not recommend it to overweight people, people with heart diseases, bones and/or joints problems nor to pregnant women.

 

Trekking W

Duration
4 nights and 5 days of excursion
camping or in mountain refuges
Distance & Altitude
71 km aprox – 1201m
Difficulty Medium.
Walk long distances during many hours and over very steep walkways.

For those that walking long distances is too strenuous and, more than an adventure, it is a sacrifice… do not worry.
There is another way to visit the Park and is with the Traditional Excursion. This is a full day excursion in which a transport picks you up from your accommodation and takes you to visit the main viewpoints within the Park, in the way, they stop and usually they visit The Milodon Caves. For this activity it is not required to be very fit since it is not very demanding. The transport takes you from a point to another within the park and, once in each place, you can descend and walk by clearly demarcated footpaths to enjoy the landscape and the tranquillity of the place. In the evening You will return to Puerto Natales where you can continue exploring on your own or you can just relax.

It is important to clarify that, in this visit, you do not get to the Base of the Towers (mountain peaks that give the name to the Park). In order to be able to arrive at the Towers it is necessary to make a long walk of 8 hours that is part of the famous W Circuit, where the last part of the trek is made by a very stony and steep slope. Also, it is possible to do this long walk in a full day excursion, leaving from Puerto Natales.

Normally, I recommend to make both full day excursions to have a better idea of the park to people who do not have enough time to make the W trek or to those who are not into such a demanding activity. You would need 2 full days and at least 3 nights if you chose this option.

 

 

Traditional Excursion

Duration
Full day excursion with transport
Difficulty Easy.
Walk by clearly demarcated footpaths

 

 

To consider

  • To carry out these activities, it is important to arrive at least one day before in Puerto Natales, rest and start your activities early in the morning the next day. It is recommended to spend the night in Puerto Natales on your return.
  • It is not necessary to carry on liters of water, is possible to recharged the bottles in natural watersheds within the Park.
  • The W Circuit can be done without a guide as the Park has clearly marked trails and signs everywhere.
  • It is not obligatory to contract an excursion to make the W trek, you can book your space in different campings or refuges on the Park website, this one is only in Spanish and it is recommended to do this with, at least, 6 months of anticipation.
  • If you do this activity on your own, make sure to book roundtrip transport and to pay the entrance to the National Park upon arrival.
  • If you don’t want to carry a lot of weight to do the W Circuit, hiring an excursion is highly recommended since it will be the company the one in charge of loading the camping equipment and preparing your meals daily. In this case, you should only carry your daypack with basic personal items that you may need during the day. You can also hire a porter to carry your belongings for you.

In case that you need more info or alternative activities, do not hesitate to contact us!

We look forward to receiving you in South America!!


Virginia Crivelli
Travel Specialist, Trips SouthAmerica.
vcrivelli@trips-southamerica.com

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Torres del Paine National Park, W Circuit vs. Traditional Visit
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