Arrive at any time. If arriving into Punta Arenas in Chile, it is recommended to arrive prior to 14:00 to allow enough time to transfer to Puerto Natales for the welcome meeting. If arriving to El Calafate in Argentina, you will need to get there a day before and then take the bus to Puerto Natales today.
Embark on a 9-day excursion within Torres del Paine NP, hiking the full Torres del Paine circuit known as the O circuit. Start the 130km (80.7 mi) route by trekking to the base of Las Torres to see the dramatic three towers and turquoise lagoon below. Transfer by van to Torres del Paine NP. This two-hour journey through ranch country includes a stop in Cerro Castillo, the principal site of wool and meat exportation to Europe during the 1960s.
Trek to the base of the Torres themselves, a spectacular hike to view the three pink granite towers that make the park famous. Torre (Tower) Sur rises 2900m (9512 ft) above sea level, Torre Central is 2850m (9348 ft) high and Torre Norte measures 2600m (8528 ft). The Cuernos (Horns) del Paine, massive blocks of various rock layers visible from great distances, are as spectacular as the towers themselves.
Spend the next few days hiking and camping in this spectacular park, visiting the Towers, Grey Glacier and French Valley, before making your way back to Puerto Natales.
HIke on relatively flat terrain through towering mountains following the river to Camp Seron. Enjoy the surrounding grassy plains and keep an eye out for wildlife before arriving at camp in the mid afternoon. In the morning, meet our porters, load up the gear and head out across ancient glacial moraines around the Paine Massif toward Camp Seron. The trail takes us through Lenga forests where we often see Austral parakeets, several species of geese, and the occasional guanaco and fox.
Head out along the north side of the national park, leading closer to the mountains. Follow the river to Lake Dickson. In the evening, relax and walk along the pebble beach, admiring the crystal clear glacier water. Eat breakfast early, then hike to Lago Dickson, a glacial lake on the edge of the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap. Walk past bright red blooms of Notro bushes and cross a stream along the lake. Today's trek is an epic eleven-hour traverse. At the campsite, take a hot shower and buy a cold beer!
Continue along the north side of the park to an incredible lookout point of Lake Dickson and the surrounding valley. Follow the trail through the tall forest to reach another lookout for Perros Glacier, well worth the climb. Pack up and head out through pristine, old growth beech forest. Look and listen for the red-headed Magellanic woodpecker. Just before we arrive to camp, trek past the Perros glacier and enjoy fantastic close-up views of the ice and the lake. Spend the night camping at the base of Paso John Garner at Los Perros.
Today is the toughest day of the O trek, start with an uphill climb for 2-3 hours, passing over the highest point. Take in the first view of Grey Glacier and gaze into the distance to take in its 270km² (104 mi²) spread. Climb vertical ladders and pass a suspension bridge en route to Grey Camp. This is the biggest day yet as we climb over Paso John Garner and hike down through thick forest directly above the massive Grey Glacier. Once on the pass, look out over rugged, glaciated peaks and the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap – a view not to be missed! The glacier stretches out below like a giant white highway.
Enjoy the day exploring Grey Lake and Grey Glacier. The spectacular scenery is a highlight of the trek with the back drop of snow-capped mountains and floating pieces of piercing blue glacier.
Hike along Lake Grey to appreciate different view points of the glacier. Hike to join the famous W Trek and end at Lake Pehoe. Relax at Paine Grande Camp and share trekking stories with the other hikers. Cross a high plateau overlooking Grey Lake and see icebergs and views across Grey Glacier on the way to Lake Pehoe. Pehoe means "hidden lake" in the Tehuelche language. The afternoon is free to relax at Lodge Paine Grande and enjoy the area. At night, enjoy a pisco sour cocktail in the bar overlooking Paine Grande & Los Cuernos mountains.
Hike to the French Valley lookout to see the mountain range spread across the national park, take in the contrasting greens and greys of the landscape. Continue the trek to the French Valley. Surrounded by hanging glaciers and an amphitheater of granite walls and spires, this is the most beautiful valley in the park and one of the most unique in the world. After, trek out of the valley to the extraordinary turquoise Lake Nordenskjold. After six to eight hours, end the day at Cuernos Camp for dinner and sleep.
The concluding day of the O circuit continues along Lake Nordenskjoeld. Take in the final views of Torres del Paine, reflect on the last nine days and relish in the sense of accomplishment before heading back to Puerto Natales. Trek along Lake Nordenskjoeld and below the hanging glaciers of Mount Almirante Nieto, to the reach Hosteria Las Torres, where our van awaits us. Transfer to Puerto Natales.