Hike one of the world’s great treks with the company that knows it best
Millions of years ago, in the wilds of southern Chile, glaciers receded from the granite rock of the Cordillera Paine, leaving a wall of craggy peaks protruding a near-vertical 6,000 to 8,000 feet from the surrounding grasslands. This remarkable uplift, now preserved as Torres del Paine National Park, is one of the greatest scenic wonders of the world, equal to the combined splendor of Yosemite and the Grand Tetons. It’s a place to which all serious mountain-lovers must make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
Mountain Travel Sobek is one of the few U.S. tour companies to operate the full Paine Circuit trek, and only a few hundred people pass this way each year. We’ve been exploring Patagonia since the 1970s and pioneered this trekking route for commercial purposes in the mid-1980s. With a staff on-site year round, we continue to explore every nook and cranny of the region, and have designed a comprehensive itinerary that makes the most of your time and showcases the best there is to see. Our exceptional trip leaders, including folks like Sergio Fitch-Watkins, Sergio Bahamondez, and Andre Labarca, are some of the best we’ve ever met, and they never fail to get rave reviews. They all have years of international guiding experience, including backgrounds in mountaineering (some have even written books about the area), so you can rest assured you’ll be in the most capable of hands. Though the trek itself is challenging, you’ll have full support, including porters to carry your gear—something other tour operators can’t offer.
Our challenging nine-day circuit of the Paine massif—including the famous “W” route—takes us into the solitude of the park's interior where few hikers venture, and through the kind of rugged terrain you’d expect to find at the ends of the earth. We’ll hike through golden grasslands bright with wildflowers, past glacier-fed lakes of incredibly deep hues, through primeval forests of southern beech, and along the enormous Grey Glacier—more than five miles across and ten miles in length—that flows from the Patagonia Ice Cap. Side hikes take us to the breathtaking rock spires of the Torres del Paine (after which the park is named) and into the glacial cirque of the French Valley. Along the way we’ll see special Patagonian wildlife, including guanacos (in the alpaca family) and an avian parade featuring parakeets, upland geese, torrent ducks, black-necked swans, eagles, and Andean condors. This is a demanding—but infinitely exhilarating—adventure with many long-lasting rewards. It’s best suited for very physically fit hikers who enjoy camping and hiking in a remote environment.
7 days moderate to strenuous trekking
- Make a complete circuit of the Paine massif—one of the "Great Treks" of the world—including the famous "W" route, with its scenic highlights of the southern side of the circuit!
- Trek with the company that first pioneered this route in the 1980s
- Go where other hikers seldom venture—MTS is one of the few U. S. companies to operate the full circuit, and no one else does it with our level of experience and complete support
- Hike along the enormous Grey Glacier, more than five miles across and ten miles in length!
- Sip "glacier" cocktails made with thousand-year-old ice
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Punta Arenas End Location: Punta ArenasDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Punta Arenas
Arrive in Punta Arenas on the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan.
Day 2 : Paine National Park
Drive to Torres del Paine National Park and take in the first spectacular views of the Paine range.
Day 3 : Torres del Paine
Hike through beech forests and open grasslands of Patagonia and past beautiful glacier-fed lakes to arrive at the awesome granite needles of Torres del Paine.
Day 4 : Hike to Campamento Seron
Walk through beech forest, enjoy impressive views of Paine Chico and the peak of Almirante Nieto. Overnight at Serón camp.
Day 5 : Lago Dickson
Hike westward, skirting Lago Paine, and on to our next camp at Lago Dickson.
Day 6 : Lago de los Perros
Today we enter into primeval beech forests and hike up the Río de los Perros, reaching Lago de los Perros and the glacier in the mid-afternoon. Continue hiking for a half-hour to reach the Perros campsite, located in a peaceful old-growth forest.
Day 7 : Cross the Paine Pass
Hike to the top of Paine Pass, descending to the Grey Glacier and finally arriving at our camp near Lago Grey.
Day 8 : Grey Glacier – Lago Pehoe
Spend the day either by visiting the Grey Glacier and finish the day with a hike to our next camp on the shores of Lago Pehoe.
Day 9 : French Valley
Hike into the French Valley, where we'll walk below the glaciers that descend from Paine Grande, enjoying fantastic views along the way!
Day 10 : End Trek
Cross Lago Pehoe by catamaran, and transfer by vehicle to Puerto Natales.
Day 11 : Punta Arenas – Depart
Drive to Punta Arenas and depart.
DATES: Best time to go: January - February, December Departures: Jan 12 - 22, 2015 Jan 26, 2015 - Feb 5, 2015 Feb 9 - 19, 2015
The atmosphere of the Hotel CostAustralis' rooms has been created to put guests even more at ease than they would be at home. The staff work daily to surpass our guest's expectations and provide pleasant and memorable experiences.
To achieve this, the hotel's 110 rooms have been designed to provide complete comfort and rest. They are decorated in a sober but elegant fashion, employing the region's most beautiful woods. Every room has a full private bath, strongbox, cable TV, domestic and international direct dialling, thermo-acoustic windows, independent heating and wireless internet access.
Hotel CostAustralis prides itself on providing everything that you need for a restful night so that you will wake up each day with energy to continue enjoying your marvelous Patagonian adventure to its fullest.
Hotel Las TorresPaine National Park
Surrounded by towering mountains, this hostería sits in a grassy field at a considerable distance from nearby towns. Simple, comfortable rooms come equipped with all the welcome essentials but in elegant harmony with the awe-inspiring surroundings.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Sergio "TC" Bahamondez
Sergio was born in Puntarenas, Chile, and grew up in Tierra del Fuego, where he developed his love for the outdoors. He studied psychology at La Plata University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has a degree in Patagonia Biodiversity from Magallanes University. Sergio has more than 10 years of experience as a tour leader, and his explorer’s spirit has taken him to nearly every continent. He is an excellent ambassador of his country and its culture—his enthusiasm and sense of adventure are absolutely contagious! Sergio is best known in Patagonia by his nickname, “TC,” and we know you’ll be captivated by his engaging smile.
André Labarca, a mountaineering and scuba instructor, fell in love with Patagonia at first sight and has made it his home for the last 10 years. He has participated in more than ten mountain expeditions in the region, accomplishing many first ascents, including the summits of the North and South Towers of the Torres del Paine. André has a great interest in the development of sustainable tourism and is always looking for other regions to explore within Patagonia. A very enthusiastic guide, André’s love for nature and respect for the mountains is infectious to all who travel with him.