The Torres del Paine National Park is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful wild spots in the world, and the number one touristic destination in the Patagonia. Being an outdoor paradise for adventure seekers, Torres del Paine is known for the magnificent granite peaks, its rich flora and fauna, breathtaking geography, and the retreating glaciers that you need to see before it`s too late.
The Chilean Patagonia, the most extensive and less populated region of Chile, has a strong and unique identity, shaped by the natives that originally populated the area, and later by the adventurous explorers that came to colonize the southernmost tip of the world.
To get there, Lan flies from Santiago to the city of Punta Arenas. A lot of the hotels offer shuttle service from the airport. Otherwise, you can take the bus to the city of Puerto Natales, gateway of the Torres del Paine National Park.
To visit the park, you have three options: stay in one of the hotels inside, camp in the park, or stay in Puerto Natales and visit for the day. The hospitality offer is amazing, with options for every taste and budget. It all depends on the type of experience you are looking for: not everything is fishing, trekking, and horse-back riding at the End of the world. Keep in mind that a lot of hotels offer an all-inclusive experience, that includes a wide range of expeditions, all of the meals, and transportation.
Here my favorites:
Do some of the trekking circuits to see the magnificent Picos del Paine and the Cuernos del Paine. Now is the time to go see the pristine Grey Glacier at the Campos de Hielo Sur. The sight views are from another planet, and the way the ice is rapidly melting is startling, and sad at the same time.
Another must is the unique endemic dishes from the Chilean Patagonia: Asado de Cordero al Palo (a whole lamb on a stick, roasted on a wood fire outside), Curanto en hoyo (steamed seafood, potatoes, and meats prepared inside a hole in the ground) and Maqui Sour (a cocktail made out of pisco and maqui, a native berry).
For the foodie:
Photo: The Singular Patagonia Hotel
Eat at The Singular Hotel, a former meat packing plant from 1915 near Puerto Natales, for an upscale Patagonian gastronomic experience. El Asador is a gastronomic space with a rustic chic décor, where you can taste the typical dishes of the area, with an amazing view to the Última Esperanza Fiord.
For the romantic:
Photo: Tierra Patagonia Hotel
Watch the sunrise with a view to the Torres del Paine, at Hotel Tierra Patagonia. The award-winning building, that looks like a boat aground by Lake Sarmiento, has a striking view to the lake, and to the National Park. You can watch the sun rising, sitting by the fireplace with your feet on sheepskin rugs, and covered in a wool handmade throw.
Photo: Indigo Patagonia Hotel
Take a deep tissue massage at the upper level Spa of the Hotel Índigo. The perfect cure after a whole day trekking. From the Jacuzzi of the Spa you can enjoy the best views of the Última Esperanza Fiord.
For living the Gaucho experience:
Photo: Estancia La Península
Spend a day at the Estancia La Península, a 18,000 acres’ cattle ranch, and sustainable tourism family project, only accessible by boat. Ride white criollo horses, herding sheep across a river, enjoy an authentic Cordero al palo, and watch a sheep get sheared. If you are lucky you´ll be able to see some condors up close.
For the adventurer:
Photo: Big Foot Patagonia
Ice hike the Grey glacier. On this one day excursion, the guide of Big Foot, takes you on a zodiac through the Grey lake, to the edge of the Grey ventisquero. With crampons, arneses, and piolets you are guided through the west face of the ventisquero. They also offer kayak expeditions to the Grey glacier.
For the Eco friendly:
Photo: Eco Camp Hotel
Stay in an Eco dome in the heart of the Torres del Paine. The EcoCamp Patagonia is the first sustainable Geodesic hotel in the world, with all of its spaces in domes. They also have a Yoga dome, where they offer daily Kundalini sessions, and a Wildlife Safari, to experience up close the diverse flora and fauna of one of the most beautiful places in the world.
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