W-Trek Day 1 – Arrive in the Torres del Paine park
There are basically 3 common ways to get in the park
- Bus from Natales to Lagoon Armaga (20 EUR) + hike or mini-bus (4 EUR) to Las Torres / Central camp (7km)
- Bus from Natales to Lago Pehoe / Pudeto (20 EUR) + ferry to Paine Grande camp (25 EUR)
- Bus from Natales to Administration office (20 EUR) + hike to Paine Grande camp (18km)
There is an additional option with a ferry going to the Glacier Grey camp, but it seems less common due to the extra costs. Also the ferries don’t always go 100% depending on conditions of weather and boats.
According to our planned hiking route of the W-Trek we went with option 1 to arrive in the park.
The bus ticket can be purchased at the main bus terminal in Puerto Natales. There are several operators all offering the same price, so pre-bookings of the ticket are not necessary. It is only slightly cheaper if you also buy the return ticket at the same time and some operators seem to have the price for mini-bus (4 EUR) within the park included. Buses go in the morning (7:30) and in high season in the afternoon (14:30), there is no later bus to the park. The drive takes approximately 2 hours and as mentioned for option 1 it takes you to the Lagoon Armaga. At the entrance you need to register, pay the entrance fee and watch a short safety video. And then, fiiiinally the adventure can begin.
We decided for the 7km hike, which took us 1,5 hours next to the “street” to our first stop, the campsite “Central”. The hike was nothing too special, more or less a flat walk, but it was a good practice as it was at least my first time with a fully packed 10kg backpack on my shoulders. We could already get a very nice view on the impressive type of landscape that was expecting us for the following 5 days.
We arrived at the campsite at about 7pm and basically used the rest of the day to finally “arrive” at our adventure by setting up our tent, cooking delicious spaghetti and going “to bed” early. After all it was a very stressful day as we arrived in Natales past midnight and had to get all our hike preps done in effectively 2 hours. But that was all forgotten as soon as we headed to the beautiful Torres del Paine park, full with excitement and curiosity. We were not to be disappointed, as day 2 already brought us the the famous “three towers” with a weather forecast that was almost too good to be true 🙂