Blanco Encalada 754, Puerto Natales, Chile
More about Puerto Natales
Grey Glacier Beach
A ship-wreck stuck along the Chilean fjords
PN Bernardo O'Higgins - fuchsia
Torres del Paine: dense bush
We're planning a trip to Puerto Natales/Torres del Paine area. Can you recommend a reasonable 3 star hotel that charges between $90-150 for a double room for 2 people?
Re: Hotel Recommendations
If you are looking for a smaller hotel with a friendly, familiar and informal atmosphere I can recommend Hotel Cerro Castillo.
See for more info: http://members.virtualtourist.com/vt/tfr/1/17c9ec/3/183c8f/
Otherwise, take a look at the VT Travel Guide about Puerto Natales.
Travel Tips for Puerto Natales
If you are travelling in the South and are headed to Torres del Paine, Puerto Natales is a great place to prepare for the trip and to relax afterwards.
I stayed at Patagonia Adventure hostal (61/441028), it was an excellent hostal and the owners where extremely helpful. (located on the plaza)
A great place to eat in Puerto Natales is El Maritimo which is right on the waterfront.
TORRES DEL PAINE : SUGGESTED ROUTE A / DAY 1
Below is the suggested day-to-day ROUTE A for the 'W' Circuit.
DAY 1 : The minibus will transport hikers to the first camp-site CAMP LAS TORRES. Set up your tent and leave your main backpack there.
After crossing the bridge, there is a rocky path on the right upslope. It takes from 1.5 to 2 hours steadily up an exposed slope which can become very windy to reach CAMP CHILENO. Have a rest and a quick lunch there.
Then, it is another 1 to 1.5 hours through forests and certain exposed areas. At the exposed areas, it can get very chilly.
Finally, you see a sign that reads '45 minutes to Las Torres'. How can you turn back now? This last scramble, 45 minutes to 1 hour, is up a rocky slope with huge boulders. The wind is very vicious here. You cannot rock-hop as you do not know when the savage wind will come and slam you against the boulders! Best to crawl up slowly, with your arms out-stretched in front, for cushioning effect.
When you finally reach the top, you will surely gasp at the sight that unfolds before you - LAS TORRES. It was pure poetry.
Some people do the 'W' circuit the other way, saving the BEST for LAST. But if you are unsure whether you will make through the hike alive, it is better to save the BEST for FIRST.
After savouring LAS TORRES, it is the same 4-hour route back to CAMP LAS TORRES.
Bring a bottle. Water can be obtained as you pass a few streams. Always refill the bottle when you pass a stream. As you are only carrying your day-pack, the going is moderate today.
Total hiking time = about 8-9 hours.
After entering the National Park the road follows more or less Lago Sarmiento at the left and the rugged mountains of the Torres at the right hand side. Everywhere small lakes, guanaco´s along the road, Chilean fire bush, a hilly and winding road and almost no other people or traffic. We stopped at the 'Mirador del Nordenskjöld' and had a view of this beautiful lake with the mountains rising above the turquoise water and grey foxes strolling around. Really impressive.
Coming down a hill we suddenly reached Lago Pehoe and I think we never saw such a breathtaking mountain scenery. The yellow broom, the coloured water with the waves and the impressive Cuernos. We just walked around and enjoyed this view a long long time.
A little bit further is the Salto Chico (Small Fall), which we found with some help of a Chilean. Left of Hotel Explora starts a walking path to a viewing point for this waterfall; use the car park of the hotel.
CRUISE ALONG THE CHILEAN FJORDS
To be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed with this trip because I had had huge expectations for it.
The thing is, the area is indeed pretty, with stunning mountains and green islands all around you as you cruise down the channels for 4 days and 3 nights. The scenery is NOT of the dramatic, plunging fjords I had imagined.
However, the trip was dogged by rains and howling winds (hey, it’s Patagonia!) that made it difficult for one to be standing on the deck and enjoying the view. Around the Golfo de Penas, there is a VERY ROUGH crossing as the ferry sails around the peninsula, across the gulf. The route can take from 12 to 20 (like what happened to ours) hours.
During this period, if you look at the window, at one moment, you see the entire SKY, then, the next, you see the entire SEA. If you have sea-sickness, you will feel HORRIBLE. If you do not, like me, you will perhaps find the day mildly amusing as everything seemed to be happening in slow-motion around you.
The hike to Glacier Grey is beautiful, and the glacier is huge and amazing. From Refugio Pehoe to Refugio Grey it is about a 3 hour hike.
This is usually the end of the W hike, you can take a boat across lago grey and leave the park (I think it costs about $30) or you walk back to Pehoe and take a boat from there (its cheaper around $10)
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