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Torres del Paine National ParkFast Facts
- Location: Magallanes Region, Chile
- Attraction Type: National Park
- Significance: National Park, Mountain Climbing, Hiking, Exploration, Wildlife
- Best time to visit: October to April
- How to Reach: Direct flight to Punta Arenas is the best way to approach the national park. However, you can also land at Santiago and then take a flight from there to Punta Arenas airport or to Puerto Natales. Punta Arenas is 226 km. from Puerto Natales. You can also take a bus ride from Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales (a distance of about 2300 km). The trip takes more than a day but it is an exciting journey. There are no direct regular scheduled bus tours from Santiago. If you really want to know about the Chilean Patagonia in detail, sail from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales through the Southern channels. Vessels leave only on Mondays and arrive at Puerto Natales on Thursdays.
- Nearest Airport: Punta Arenas Airport
There can be ones with more wildlife concentration, there can be ones with more diversified flora and fauna, but there are few natural parks that are more beautiful than the Torres Del Paine. Reclining in grand dimensions below the picturesque Paine Massif, the Torres Del Paine is one of the chief attractions of Chile. The natural park is popular among tourists with an eye for wildlife, and a penchant for exploration. Many hiking and adventure tours can be undertaken in this natural park along well-defined paths. Remember, though that veering away from the designated paths and camping outside places clearly marked for the purpose are illegal and should be avoided.
Torres del Paine Attractions
Torres del Paine is located about 2500 km from the Chilean capital city of Santiago. It is remote but is still widely visited, because of the many attractions that it has. Some of the major attractions of the Torres del Paine are:
Spectacular Mountain Range: The spectacular and stark beauty of the Torres del Paine is the first thing to catch your eye when you visit it. The landscape is dominated by the grand Paine Massif, and its most representative group of peaks, the 'Cuernos del Paine'. However, the highest peak of the massif is Paine Grande, standing at 3050 meters. The granite spires are extremely challenging for climbers.
Walking and Hiking Tours: You need not be an experienced and expert climber to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the Torres del Paine. The southern side of the park has a large number of natural beauties that are equally beautiful and can be explored through hiking and trekking tours. Natural treasures include lakes, lagoons and rivers, as well as glaciers. Pingo, Dickson and Grey are the rivers that crisscross the park, and have three wonderful waterfalls called Salto Grande, Paine and Salto Chico. Do not forget to check out Sarmiento, Nordenskjold and Pehoe with their remarkable blue green waters.
Flora and Fauna: The flora of Torres del Paine can be divided into four different parts, ranging from pre-Andean scrubland to high altitude vegetation. The bent over bushes, which are characteristic of the Magallanes type of vegetation are found in large numbers in this forest. Birds are found in abundance including the grand Andean Condor, the black chested Buzzard Eagle and the Chilean Flamingo. Among the mammals, pumas are the greatest attractions. Other animals include Guemal, Guananco, Culpeo fox, skunks and Chilla Fox.
Accommodation in Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine, despite its remoteness from the capital city, is widely visited. It is one of the top tourist draws for Chile and thus has an excellent infrastructure. You can easily find accommodation in the cities of Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales that will definitely fall on you way as you head for Torres del Paine from Santiago. Even if you want to spend time in the forest itself, accommodation should not be a problem. There are three hostels in the forest region, Hosteria Pehoe, Hosteria Torres and Hosteria Lago Grey being some of the most popular ones. If luxury is what you are looking for, then Hotel Explora must be your choice.
There are many campsites within the campground. However, you must be sure not to camp outside the designated campgrounds, it may be a hazard for the environmental balance of the forest area.