During my stay in El Calafate, my hotel arranged a full-day tour to Torres del Paine for me. I was picked up by a tour operator at my front door, and escorted across the Chilean border into the beautiful national park.
The tour and the views was a highlight of my entire trip through Patagonia. I highly suggest making time for a full-day tour, or even an entire trek through the park. Your hotel or hostel will arrange everything for you, making it an effortless and wonderful experience!
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Torres Del Paine, Patagonia Chile
This picture does not even do the beauty of this area justice. It was simply breathtaking. My friend and I spent 4 days in the Park at an Eco Camp. It was such a once in a lifetime type experience. Hiking with no one around, animals everywhere, winds that could knock you over, warm sunshine all day, a glacier and we were lucky enough to not only see 1 of the elusive pumas in the park but 4!
Switzerland? Colorado? Meh. Patagonia, si! Holy cow are these ranges cool. Add 100 km/hr winds and lakes in 20 different shades of blue green and you've got one of the most stunning locations on earth...at the bottom of the Earth. This is the coolest place I've ever been.
Like something out of a Tolkien novel, the towers take your breath away from disbelief and beauty. Hiking "the W" in the opposite direction allowed us to enjoy the towers last. The hike wasn't easy, especially scrambling up rocks at the top, but the view is unmatched.
You can get all four seasons in a single day in Patagonia. And a constant wind through each of those seasons makes it even more fun. On this hike to The Horns in Torres del Paine National Park, we hit what our guide said were registering a near constant 75-100 mile an hour winds ....just like you see on CNN during hurricanes, but this was sunny, dry an absolutely beautiful.
You can almost lean horizontally right into it. And you have to crab-walk on the trail lest you lift off one foot and get completely swept off your feet -- which happened...a lot. What an amazing place. There is no bad weather, only proper clothing....