Trekking the W-Trek in Torres del Paine

By the end of November we decided to do the W-Trek in Torres del Paine. It is the most advertised and popular hiking destination in southern Chile. To trek there one has to sleep at specific campsites and those need to be booked way ahead. The demand is high! Only a limited set of camping spots were left for our flexible visiting window in January. Some of the available booking options forced us to include meals as well. It was something like, no meal? no camping!

The booking involved two websites and a meticulous (where to sleep when and which campsite is available) tour building process. A helpful blog post how to do it is available here. All planning/booking was done backwards, starting with the Torres as goal. We read somewhere that waking up at 4am, hiking and watching the sunrise by the base of the Torres should be considered as the trekking highlight.

Getting to Paine Grande National Park

The western entry checkpoint of the Paine Grande National Park is easily reachable within a few hours long bus ride from Puerto Natales. The first campsite however is still a couple of hiking hours away. Some like to walk from the entry checkpoint, we booked a bus that drove us further, to the last stop by the ferry.

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Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales

After finishing the Dientes trekking circuit we decided to start the journey North with a direct flight from Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas. It was the fastest and cheapest way to get from the Island without heading trough Ushuaia again. Another way was to take the three day ferry to Punta Arenas. It supposed to be a beautiful cruise trough the glacial fiords and much cheaper, but it was sold out way ahead.

On the Dientes track made friends with Jorge and Catalina from Santiago de Chile. They invited us to stay at their rented Airbnb house in Punta Arenas for one night.

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Dientes de Navarino – 5 days remote trekking experience

Dientes de Navarino – Day 1

Two days after arriving in Puerto Williams we decided to start the dientes trek on January 14th. Clouds and rain in the morning weren’t the most motivating conditions to begin with. Cecilia from Camping El Padrino was providing all trekkers with a free shuttle service to the trail head around 10am. We mounted the rain covers over our prepacked 13kg backpacks and boarded the bus together with other starters.

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From Ushuaia to Puerto Williams

An inland flight brought us from Buenos Aires to the last Argentinian city Ushuaia. I spotted a happy tear in Joannas eye as the jet descended trough the clouds. The rocky, snowy hills of Tierra del Fuego became visible beneath our small window. While Jo was realizing that her dream had just become reality I was astonishing realizing how much flexibility an airplane wing needs to provide in order to fly in extreme windy environments. The plane jumped and shaked quickly in various directions, we held hands and felt the force of fuego winds for the first time. It got pretty scarry for a while!

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One week in Buenos Aires

After Barcelona we went to Buenos Aires and landed on January 4th after a partly bumpy 14 hour flight with the Iberia spinoff carrier Level. Although the crew was friendly, everything except water and the entertainment system was not included in the ticket price. If you ever consider to fly with them remember to bring your own food and drinks, otherwise you’ll pay extra extra.

Our Airbnb house was located in the San Telmo district. It is an older part of BA with cobblestone streets, walls painted with graffiti and a lot of antique thrift stores.

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