So I don’t really like to take tours when I go hiking, mostly because I like to go my own pace and sometimes like to spend longer or shorter in a specific place than tours usually allow. For the W trek, I decided to try and do it on my own. Guys, it is SO easy and much cheaper to do everything on your own. Everything is super well-marked. Here is a step by step guide to creating your own W trek.
Step 1: Make reservations for the places you will be staying at in Torres Del Paine. Email email@example.com for the campsites/refugios on the west side of the park and firstname.lastname@example.org for the campsites/refugios on the east/center part of the park. Note that they will probably not respond after the first email, but they will probably respond by the second one. If you want to maximize your chance of making the reservation, include all information like dates of stay and if you want food and board. For Campamento Italiano, you can book it directly on the CONAF site. If you plan on staying in the refugios, I would recommend Refugio Grey, Domo Frances and Refugio Chileno. They are all extremely comfortable and the food is great (better at places run by Fantastico Sur than at places run by Vertice)! Note that if you get full board, you only need snacks for the first day, the packed lunches have a ridiculous amount of snacks and a giant sandwich.
Step 2: Get to Puerto Natales. Puerto Natales has no airport so you will likely have to take a bus from El Calafate or Punta Arenas. You can book your bus ticket online at recorrido.cl. If you haven’t done it and you are already in one of the two cities, have no fear. You can go to the bus terminal and book your ticket. While you’re at it, you can also buy round-trip tickets for the trip between Puerto Natales and Torres Del Paine. I would recommend taking Bus Sur. They had really nice buses and always seemed to depart slightly earlier than the other companies. For example, Bus Sur has a 7am bus from Puerto Natales and a 1pm bus from Torres del Paine while all the other buses leave at 7:20am and 2pm.
Step 3: Go to the Erratic Rock talk in Puerto Natales at 3pm. They are super nice and it is extremely informative. Like, I learned here that raincovers don’t work because of the wind in Torres del Paine and a better move for protecting your gear from the rain is to put a trash bag inside your backpack and waterproof from the inside.
Step 4: Get cash. You will have to pay the park entrance fee in cash so make sure you have enough CLP to cover it. Someone didn’t know that the park rangers didn’t take Argentine pesos and had to go back to Puerto Natales as a result. Do not be this person.
Step 5: Get a good night’s sleep and get ready to take the W trek!
See my next post for pictures from the W trek…