Getting to Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine is one of the world's top trekking destinations, and obviously is pretty remote! Here you can check out the map to get your bearings or find out about getting there from the following towns:
Getting to Torres del Paine
To get to Torres del Paine you either need to fly to Punta Arenas (in Chile, via Santiago) or El Calafate (in Argentina, via Buenos Aires). Flights to Santiago go via Madrid and normally take around 16-24 hours. There's a direct flight from London to Buenos Aires with British Airways, taking 14 hours.
Buenos Aires and El Calafate
From Buenos Aires fly direct to the town of El Calafate in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina. There are several flights a day and the journey lasts 3.17 hours. From El Calafate you need to take a bus across the border to Puerto Natales, the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. This option is good if you plan to visit other parts of Argentina before or after doing Torres del Paine. Also, the Perito Moreno glacier is a wonderful introduction to the region and gentle first day for many people.
Santiago and Punta Arenas
From Santiago, take a flight either to Punta Arenas (the nearest big airport to Torres del Paine and 3 hours from Puerto Natales). There is also a small airport in Puerto Natales itself. It opens during certain summer months and flights are longer and less frequent but it is an option for some pople. Find out more about Puerto Natales Airport.
It's best to get your flights booked as soon as possible, and you may get return flights for approx £800 if you book in advance. If you're going to Torres del Paine in November for example, get your flights booked in August as the later you leave it the more expensive they get and you could end up paying as much as £1500 for flights in December.
Find out more about flights to Patagonia in our guide to Flights to Patagonia.
Home to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate is located in Argentinian Patagonia and is approximately 5 hours from Puerto Natales. You can take the bus from el Calafate to Puerto Natales every morning and afternoon with several bus companies in the centre of town. This bus journey is best organised through the operator of your trek.
The next day you'll be picked up by the operator organising your trip and spend 2.5 hours on your journey to the start of the circuit. Alternatively, you can take a public bus which stops at Cerro Castillo to pick up others on the way.
Operators usually include the journey from Puerto Natales into Torres del Paine in their trip itinerary. This journey takes about 2.5 hours and is primarily along a semi-paved road, so it's a bit bumpy. However, the stunning views of the park on the way in and optional stops for photos make this a spectacular journey.
If you are already in Puerto Natales and just want to get into the park it is possible to take an early morning bus with several companies located in the centre of the town.
If your flights don't coincide with buses, it is possible to take a private transfer (more comfortable and doesn't stop in Cerro Castillo like some buses do). A private transfer for two people isn't cheap, costing US$ 520 or approx £314 at November 2011.
If you fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas (a distance of nearly 2000 miles), you can choose either to stay the night in Punta Arenas before heading off to Puerto Natales the next day. Please click here for a range of Hotels in Punta Arenas with a best price guarantee.
Alternatively, after landing at Punta Arenas airport you get the bus straight to Puerto Natales (depending on when you land).
- From Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales go with Buses Fernandez. The journey takes 3 hours and tickets cost approx $4000 Chilean pesos each way (approx £6).
- From Punta Arenas airport we recommend Buses Pacheco, as they can pick you up from the airport.
We recommend that you ask your tour operator to book your transport for you to avoid any confusion or problems with reservations.
However, if you'd like to go directly from Punta Arenas to the park, Buses Pacheco run a service which takes you straight there. This is a daily service and leaves Punta Arenas at 07:30 & 14:30 and returns to Punta Arenas from the Park Administration at 13:00 & 18:15. Bear in mind that this journey takes roughly 5-6 hours to complete.
El Chalten is located inside Los Glaciares National Park in Argentinian Patagonia, which is roughly an 8/9 hour bus journey from Torres del Paine National Park itself. Unfortunately there is no direct bus from El Chalten to Torres del Paine, and the trip must be broken up into chunks.
Firstly, the bus from El Chalten to Calafate departs at peak season each morning and afternoon taking 3 hours. If you catch the bus early in the morning you can catch a late afternoon bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales which takes 5 hours.
Spend the night in Puerto Natales and take the first bus in the morning into the park, alternatively join your trekking group before taking a private transfer into Paine.
We have some great trips that start in Chalten, some visit the the Perito Moreno glacier and trek to the base of Mount Fitz Roy before proceeding on to Torres del Paine National Park. For more information see our Trekking Tours page.
Perhaps the most exciting way of getting from Ushuaia to Torres del Paine is by Adventure Cruise. Round Cape Horn, sail through the Strait of Magellan and visit penguins and glaciers on the way. It takes 4 days to complete the crossing and each day involves 1 or 2 excursions on Zodiac boats. This is certainly a fantastic way to begin your holiday in Torres del Paine and is a very practical way of getting from Argentinian Patagonia to Chile.
After arriving in Punta Arenas on Day 4, you simply take a bus or private transfer straight to Torres del Paine National Park or to Puerto Natales if you want to prepare for your trek in town before going into the park the following day.
An alterative might be to take the 4 hour bus trip across Tierra del Fuego.
Patagonia is a vast place and the distances from town to town are great.
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Info - Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine is one of the world's great trekking destinations
Read our guides to:
- Torres del Paine National Park
- about Trekking in Paine
- Trips on the W Circuit
- Trekking the Full Circuit
- Getting to Torres del Paine
- Visiting Paine in winter
- Torres del Paine Map
Also find out about:
Guide to Patagonia
Patagonia spans over 1,000 miles north to south and landscapes ranging from forests, to glaciers, to volcanoes and deserts. Read our Patagonia Guide to find out: how to get there, when to go, what to see and how to find the best trip. Or find out about:
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