The alpine wonderland of Patagonia is without a doubt one of the most stunning mountainous regions in the whole world. Patagonia is most famous in Argentina and is a total must-visit destination for anyone who likes exploring and immersing oneself in the grand outdoors. But Patagonia straddles the Argentine border and is also located in the long coastal and mountainous country that forms Chile.

Torres del Paine National Park in the Chilean Patagonia and has sights that will make the most traveled of tourist's eyes water. The "torres" or towers are the three highly distinctive granite peaks atop the Paine mountain range.

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About The National Park

The centerpiece of this magnificent park is the Cordillera del Paine. The park as a whole is located in the transition from the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes. This park is easily one of Chile's greatest natural attractions and pulls tourists from all around the world.

  • Name: "Torres" Is Spanish For "towers" While "Paine" (pronounced "PIE-nay") Is From The Native Tehuelche Word Meaning "Blue"
  • Forests: Forests Cover 51% Of The Region

This rugged and majestic landscape inspires many. To properly explore this wilderness wonderland one needs to drive, hike, ride horses, and boat on the rivers and lakes. Sounds like an outdoor adventure paradise! The sunsets, glaciers, lagoons, and panoramic vistas are without parallel (or maybe they are on the Argentine side).

When To Go

The most conformable weather to explore the Torres del Pain National Park is from October to April. This is when the weather is the warmest but still, temperatures rarely go past 68°F or 20°C. The weather in this region can be extremely windy and wet. If hiking in this park, even in the height of summer, one much be fully prepared for the worst of weather. Don't go hiking in cotton clothes (cold and wet cotton kills), wear woolen and synthetic clothes. Jackets must be rain and windproof and the weather must be respected. The weather is brooding, moody, changeable, and frequently harsh here.

Related: Travel Argentina Vs Chile: 20 Photos (Taken By Real Tourists) To Help You Choose

  • Best Months: October To April
  • Köppen Climate Classification: Temperate Climate Of Cold Rain Without A Dry Season
  • Park Entrance Fees: $28 (18,000 Chilean Pesos) In The High Season And $16 (10,000 Chilean Pesos) In The Low Season

What To Do

These jaw-dropping, eye-widening landscapes are part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. In the height of summer, daylight lasts for 17 hours, and the towers of Torres del Paine glow purple and red.

One fun and adventurous activity is to paddle a kayak on Lake Grey where a massive glacier flows into and "calves". Here one can paddle one's kayak around these colossal white and blue lake-borne icebergs.

  • Number of Visitors Per Year: 252,000
  • Reservations: Since 2016 It Has Been Mandatory To Have Reservations In Order To Spend The Night In Parts Of The Park (These Are Controlled At Access Points To The Mountain Trails And Camps)

One of the main activities here is hiking. There are plenty of clearly marked paths and many cabins/shelters on these paths called "refugios". There are selections of day hikes or multiday hikes.

  • "W" Route: Typically Takes Three to Five Days To Hike
  • "O" Route: Typically Takes Seven To Nine Days To Hike
  • Hotels: There Are Several Hotels In And Around The Park
  • Straying From The Path: Hikers Are Prohibited From Straying From The Paths
  • Guides: There Are Plenty Of Certified Guides For Hire, To Access Some Parts Of The Park, Guides Are Required

Wildlife In The Park

The Park is home to a variety of South American wildlife - some of which are endangered. Animals include Guanacos (one of the most common animals at home in the park), foxes, elusive pumas, Chilean Huemul, 15 birds of prey (including the Andean condor), Chilean flamingo, Darwin's rhea, swans, and more. See here for American wildlife.

Related: Chile Voted World's Best Adventure Tourism Destination For Third Straight Year

Tour Companies

Three of the tour companies include:

  • Patagonia - Concept: This is a trip agency and offers guided trekking tours in the park, kayaking in the Serrano River and the La Olla, as well as climbing the Tenerife hill.
  • Glaciar Grey Navigation: This company offers 3-hour cruises on the Gray III catamaran with a capacity for 90 passengers. The cruise navigates to the Gray Glacier where tourists can see massive floating icebergs that the catamaran will not make the same mistake as the Titantic with. The views are luscious with lush vegetation and dramatic mountains.
  • Explora Patagonia: They offer uniquely flavored expeditions. They try to include emotions, physical activity, and senses to understand the natural world. Their expeditions are all over the national park and offer a selection of modes of travel including by foot, horseback, or sit back and enjoy the surroundings from a comfy van.

Next: If You're Visiting Chile For Its Landscape, This Is The Best Time To Go (And Why)