This weeklong itinerary highlights Torres del Paine National Park for a once-in-a-lifetime hiking trip in Patagonia. After a day to explore Chile's capital, fly south to experience the park's nearly 450,000 acres of glaciers, ice fields, forests, lakes, and rugged mountains that will get your heart racing. Your jumping on/off point will be Puerto Natales—a port city attracting trekkers from all over the world.

Highlights

  • Check out Santiago's hip eateries and bars in Barrio Bellavista
  • Get up close to the enormous Grey Glacier by boat
  • Take a four-hour hike between Grey Lake & Lake Pehoe
  • Learn about Patagonia's flora and fauna from an expert on a driving tour
  • Hike a portion of the first mountain ever summited in the park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Santiago de Chile Santiago
Day 2 Fly from Santiago to Puerto Arenas - Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 3 Transfer to Torres del Paine - Cruise on Grey Lake Torres del Paine
Day 4 Hike to Lake Pehoe Torres del Paine
Day 5 Catamaran Ride - Driving Tour of Torres del Paine Torres del Paine
Day 6 Hike Almirante Nieto - Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 7 Puerto Natales to Santiago - Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Santiago de Chile

Hike or take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal
Hike or take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal

Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at Santiago International Airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the day to explore the city at your leisure. 

Suggested activities include:

  • Hike to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, where you can get your bearings by surveying the area from a high vantage point. Pathways lead 2,788 feet (850 m) up this central hill to a series of lookouts that offer wraparound views of Santiago. If you aren't the hiking type, not to worry: catch a scenic gondola instead.

  • Stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista. On the north side of Santiago, you'll find this trendy enclave, at once fashionable and bohemian. Stroll past colorful houses adorned with graffiti art and choose between an eclectic array of eateries and bars—great for people watching. 

  • Visit the Plaza de Armas, a stone plaza located in Santiago's historic center dating to 1541. There's also the impressive Catedral Metropolitana, a neoclassical church dating to 1748 whose towering twin bell towers dominate the north side of the plaza.

  • Snap pics in front of the Palacio de la Moneda. Chile's opulent Presidential Palace (known simply as "La Moneda") is a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas. It was here in 1973 that Chile's armed forces, backed by the U.S. government, overthrew President Salvador Allende, kicking off a brutal right-wing military dictatorship that would last for 17 years. Visitors are welcome.

For dinner be sure to get out of the hotel and enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination. Chilean chefs are reinventing traditional dishes like empanadas, cazuelas (stews), and seafood with ingredients harvested all the way from the northern deserts and southern Patagonian regions. You can find great restaurants and wine bars not only in the Bellavista neighborhood but also in the revitalized historic barrios of Yungay and Italia.

Day 2: Fly from Santiago to Puerto Arenas - Transfer to Puerto Natales

Aerial view of Punta Arenas
Aerial view of Punta Arenas

After breakfast, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport, at which time you'll catch a flight to the city of Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, you'll hop a bus for a three-hour trip north to Puerto Natales. When you arrive, you'll transfer to your hotel and have the rest of the evening to relax and explore the town. 

This small port city is the main base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. It's far less touristic than many other Patagonian hubs and thus retains its air of small-town tranquility. Puerto Natales offers simple pleasures like strolling its waterfront promenade, which sits on the Ultima Esperanza Sound. Facing north from here, you'll see the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro, and the view at sunset is phenomenal.

Day 3: Transfer to Torres del Paine - Cruise on Grey Lake

Boat past floating icebergs on your way to Grey Glacier
Boat past floating icebergs on your way to Grey Glacier

This morning starts with an early departure, via bus, from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park. The trip to the entrance at Laguna Amarga takes approximately two hours, and your group will register with the park before continuing any further.

From here, jump on a park shuttle to Hotel Lago Grey where you will board the Grey III for an unforgettable boat ride along Grey Lake, passing luminous icebergs as you make your way to the immense glacial wall of the same name: Grey Glacier. Later, disembark at Refugio Grey, an alpine mountain hut where you will have dinner and spend the night.

Once settled, there will be time for an afternoon hike where you can snag great views of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field—the largest temperate ice sheet in the Southern Hemisphere.

Day 4: Hike to Lake Pehoe

Lake Pehoe offers a range of hues depending on the weather, like bright turquoise
Lake Pehoe offers a range of hues depending on the weather, like bright turquoise

After a restful night's sleep and an energizing breakfast at Refugio Grey, you should feel ready to hit the trail again. Today's objective is accomplishing a four-hour trail along Grey Lake, which then continues through a small forest. Bring weatherproof layers, as this area of the park tends to be windy due to the openness established by the lake, Glacier Grey, and the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. 

After completing the 6.8-mile (11 km) route, you will arrive at Camping Paine Grande on the shores of beautiful Lake Pehoe. There will be some time in the afternoon to relax, wander the grounds, and take photos before dinner is served.

Day 5: Catamaran Ride - Driving Tour of Torres del Paine

Catamaran ride across Lake Pehoe
Catamaran ride across Lake Pehoe

After a hearty breakfast at camp, get ready for a fun catamaran ride across Lake Pehoe for more spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Once you reach the other side, transportation will be waiting to take you on an all-day driving tour of Torres del Paine.

Your guide will explain the park's in-depth flora, fauna, and interesting geology along the way. You'll also stop for photos and several short hikes to gain views not seen from the main trails in the park. At the end of the day, you'll be returned to camp in time for dinner.

Day 6: Hike Almirante Nieto - Transfer to Puerto Natales

Almirante Nieto with fall colors
Almirante Nieto with fall colors

Today is your last day in the park, so enjoy it as you please! Those who still have energy can take a day-hike up Almirante Nieto—a mountain with incredible views of Lake Nordenskjold and the Asencio Valley, which sits adjacent to the famous Towers of Paine. For a little history, this was the park's first mountain ever climbed thanks to the brave German climbers Hans Teufel and Stefan Zuck. The whole mountain rises 8,661 feet (2,640 m) and it takes about seven days to ascend—alas, you'll only cover a section on today's route. 

Once you have hiked as far as you want to go, whilst bidding farewell to the stunning views, you will descend for a shuttle to the park entrance where you'll connect to a bus back to Puerto Natales for the night.

Day 7: Puerto Natales to Santiago - Departure

Farewell, Chile!
Farewell, Chile!

Today, you’ll transfer from Puerto Natales to the airport in Punta Arenas. You'll then hop on a domestic flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago where you'll transfer to the international terminal for your flight back home. ¡Buen viaje!

Map

Map of Multi-Day Hiking in Torres del Paine - 7 Days
Map of Multi-Day Hiking in Torres del Paine - 7 Days