Named the 5th most beautiful place in the world by National Geographic Magazine, Torres del Paine National Park is another phenomenal destination in Patagonia. In fact, this national park may be one of the most popular in all of Chile.
This destination has also received international fame as Chile has turned into one of the top travel destinations of recent years.
Bordering Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park to the north, this immense national park is just a few hours from Calafate, offering visitors traveling in Argentina another prime attraction in the Patagonia region. This means that it’s easy to combine both a visit to Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glaciar in Calafate, Argentina as well as Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
Meaning ´Towers of the Paine’ (Paine is the name of the mountain range), the Torres del Paine are the peaks of the mountain range and stand above the surrounding mountains to form an incredible sight.
Along with this spectacle, the Park is home to large glaciers, a number of lakes and various rivers and lagoons, which collectively make the park an extremely popular tourist destination, receiving an average of 150,000 visitors a year. With a large amount of hiking trails as well as refugios (places that offer overnight shelter to hikers), the park is an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor explorers.
If you are interested in making a stop at Torres del Paine, the best time of the year to do so is from late December to late February, as the southern summer months are usually accompanied by comfortable temperatures and increased hours of daylight.
However, no matter what time of the year you will be visiting, a trip to Torres del Paine is guaranteed to be a great experience. Below are a few suggestions of specific attractions in Torres del Paine National Park to check out while you are there.
Within Torres del Paine National Park, along the Paine River, is the waterfall of Salto Grande. One of the most popular attractions within the park, this waterfall offers gorgeous views and its vicinity is home to unique vegetation and wildlife species. Visitors can hike to Salto Grande and from there continue on hiking until reaching the Cuernos de Paine (Horns of Paine) point, which offers an incredible panoramic viewpoint of the falls.
This hike shows off the diversity of the park, while also constantly surprising your eyes with amazing views. It is one of those hikes that leaves you feeling breathless because you can’t believe such a place exists.
If you’re interested in getting a feel for Chile, outside of the National Park, the two main cities to visit are Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.
A few hours south of Torres del Paine National Park are the Chilean cities of Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas. Puerto Natales is a popular place for people to stay outside of Torres del Paine because it’s roughly a three hour drive away, while Punta Arenas can be around five hours from the park.
Once populated by European colonists, these coastal towns are on the banks of the Magellan Strait and are popular destinations for day trips among travelers visiting Torres del Paine. With a number of local bus companies offering daily routes from Torres del Paine, visitors should consider making a stop at these quaint settlements for a look into the culture of southern Patagonia.