Places of Interest and Activities from Puerto Natales, Patagonia

Puerto Natales is the ideal place to stay pre, and post, your visit to Torres del Paine, or to be based all the time in Puerto Natales at a lower-cost hotel than staying in Torres del Paine itself, yet visit the Park every day.

Here, we explain about some of the places to visit in and around Puerto Natales, including in Torres del Paine as well some activities to participate in.

Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine (TDP) is only one hour from Puerto Natales via the estern, Serrano entrance and two hours via the eastern, Laguna Amarga entrance. Depending on your destination, it the distance from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine can be shorter and quicker than going from one place to another within the Park.

Consequently, we say to may of our clients: consider staying in Puerto Natales all of your time and avoid the high cost of hotels within the Park.

On the basis of daily access to TDP we can suggest and include in your itinerary some, or all, of the Torres del Paine activities and places of interest below.

The Miradores (the viewpoints) Torres del Paine

On a typical day tour of Torres del Paine a number of viewpoints will be stopped at whereupon you can marvel at the view and take pictures. The main viewpoints are:

Mirador Cuernos

This involves a short, hour trek up from the Salto Grande (see below) to a point where there is a direct view of the massive Cuernos del Paine (the horns of Torres del Paine).

Mirador Condor

This is an area located about 100mts up the side of one of the hills near the Hosteria Pehoe (the hotel on a small island on Pehoe lake). From here there are wonderful views of the Torres del Paine massif and, if you are fortunate, condors often glide in the sky in this area.

Mirador Salto Grande

The word “salto” in Spanish means jump, and when applied to water coming from one hight and dropping down to a lower height, it means waterfall. Therefore the “Salto Grande” refers to “big waterfall”. It is called the Big Waterfall because of the powerful amount of water that crashes through a narrow gorge from the higher lake Nordenskjold into the lower Pehoe lake. The viewpoint is just above where all the action is taking place.

Mirador Cascada Paine

The Cascada Paine is another waterfall located in the eastern part of Torres del Paine. The arc of the waterfall is wider than of the Salto Grande and offers a pretty and impressive sight when lots of river water pours over the rock face and drops down to a lower level. As with the Salto Grande, the viewpoint is close to the action and on a clear there is the added scene of the Torres del Paine towers in the background.

Day Treks in TDP from Puerto Natales

The Torres Trek

The Trek up to the Torres is one of the classic arms of the iconic “W” Trek in Torres del Paine. It is the leg located in the eastern sector and starts at the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre. The trek requires a lot of effort in parts and is more or less a constant uphill path right up to the base of the towers. It will take a good 4hrs up and a good 4hrs down, plus time to rest at the top, so more like a 9hr trek for the day. The transport time will be 2hrs in and 2hrs out, so it will be a long day.

The French Valley Trek

The French Valley is the trek in the middle of the famous “W” trek in Torres del Paine. This requires a start at Pudeto, roughly in the middle of TDP, in order to take the catamaran across Pehoe Lake to the hostel called Refugio Paine Grande. This navigation takes 25 minutes.

From Refugio Paine Grande the walk to Camping Italiano takes about 2.5hrs. From here the trek starts in earnest into the French Valley. Depending on where you want to get to the trek will take from here 2.5hrs to get to the end, then 2.5hrs back. The trek involves uphill sectors.

Once you return back to Camping Italiano it will be 2.5hrs back to the Refugio Paine Grande, plus the catamaran trip back to Pudeto. Therefore, the trek time will be around 10hrs (can be less of course if you do not go to the end), plus the catamaran, 1hr total time and getting in to TDP2hr and back out to Natales 2hrs. Total time 15hrs, so a very long day, but many people do this and love it.

The trek time is the same if you are inside the Park or not and getting back to your hotel in the Park can, also, take an hour. The only exception is if you are staying at the hostels along the W Trek trail and in this case you would send the night there and not require the catamaran or transport back to Natales or a hotel in Torres del Paine.

Activities in Torres del Paine

Navigation Grey Torres del Paine

This is a boat trip from Hotel Grey in the western end of the Park, on the southern beach of Grey Lake to get close to the Glacier Grey. It will be a full day excursion. Travel time to Hotel Grey will be 2hrs from Puerto Natales.

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