We crossed the border of Chile on May 14th after one month spent in Argentina, we arrived in Puerto Natales, an old fishermen’s town. The good weather did not travel with us and we found ourselves in the cold cold southern Chile.
Puerto Natales is a good location to visit Torres del Paine. The National Park is very well know for trekking, especially the famous “W” 4 days trek. In high season, many travellers take the 4 days adventure, sleeping on the way in tents, campsites or mountain refuges.
Low season starts on the 1st of May and the options are a little more restricted. The 4 days trek is still possible (should you be resistant to cold nights) but with the obligation of going with a guide. Many campsites and refuges are closed and the few hotels still open in the park are rather expensive.
Day tours are possible, organised from Puerto Natales however we decided to rent a car for 2 days and make ourselves the luxury of staying one night in a nice hotel inside the park.
On the first day, we drove around and the ride itself was beautiful. We stopped at Lago Grey and walked to the mirador to see the glacier Grey, we stopped at Salto Chico, Lago Pehoé and past by cerro Torro (mountains in the shape of bull horns).
Our hotel was located on the lake Pehoé, on a small island. It was very enjoyable to be in a nice, warm hotel. A little break from dorms and backpackers. To compensate the rather pricy night and avoid increasing our expenses with a dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, we asked for hot water to cook our 2 minutes noodle soup that we eat in the reception by the fireplace… wonderful! (though we suspect the asian tourists in hotel to have made fun of us).
The next day, we were ready to hike to the Torres, the most famous high point of the park that overlooks 4 tower shaped mountains. The day started with crossing 3 pumas on the road (luckily we were in the car), that only made our day! We kicked off at sunrise in the cold but sunny weather but the closer we got to the top the more cloudy it became. The last hour up hill was quite steep, we hiked through the snow and ice and finally made it to the top, feet and hands frozen but worth the view! The wind eventually cleared up the fog over the Torres for 10 minutes, enough to take a few pictures before making our way down by daylight, and make it back on time to Puerto Natales to board the ferry that would take us through the fiords of Chile.