Paine Circuit Chile

Paine Circuit, Chile

The Paine Circuit is widely acknowledged as being one of the premiere hikes in South America. It takes between 8 and 10 days, crossing a distance of 101km. The difficulty level is medium to hard. The route begins and ends at Hotel Las Torres (Magallanes 960, Punta Arenas).

Paine Circuit is the longest and wildest route in Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine. The route takes you along Rio Paine to Paso John Gardner. If you are pressed for time, you may wish to consider instead the W, a shorter five day trek that takes you past most of the highlights of the Paine Circuit.

Paine Circuit in South Chile

flickr image by Doug Scortegagna

If you are unsure of your conditioning, you may wish to start at Mountain Lodge Paine Grande. This will allow you to turn back before you reach the most remote areas of the park. Be aware that snow may fall suddenly at Paso John Gardner (1241m). You are required to join up with other hikers, as solo hikers are not permitted through this junction. Also, take care of the great swarms of mosquitos, and bring your mosquito repellent.

Most people choose to undertake Paine Circuit in a counter-clockwise direction. It is technically possible to complete Paine Circuit without a tent, since refugios exist and campgrounds offer rentals, but without a tent, you would have to accomplish the long hike through Paso John Gardner in one day.

Note that refugios tend to be full in January and February. Refugios should be reserved well in advance (ex. Fantastico Sur, Esmeralda 661, Puerto Natales). You can catch a bus from Hotel Las Torres to Guarderia Laguna Amarga, and/or take a catamaran from Mountain Lodge Paine Grande to Pudeto.

Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine lies 112km north of Puerto Natales. Its total area is 1814 sq-km. The park was created in 1959 from a former sheep estancia. Within Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine, you may see Cerro Paine Grande (3050m), as well as wildlife such as Chilean flamingo, flying steamer duck, upland goose, torrent duck, condors, and guanaco. The park sees widely variable precipitation. The peak hiking season is from December to March. Make sure to bring trekking poles, and camping equipment, such as tent, sleeping bag, stove, could be quite handy. Park entry requires an entry fee.

Accommodations in Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine:
Posada Rio Serrano, Puerto Natales
Mountain Lodge Paine Grande
Hotel Las Torres, Magallanes 960, Punta Arenas
Hosteria Lago Grey

Date posted: 21st June, 2016

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