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Torres del Paine Patagonia Chile

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All You Need to Know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK
A TDP NATIONAL PARK

And What is So Special About Torres del Paine, Patagonia?

Welcome to the Torres del Paine National Park

The Park is located in southern Chile. Above all, it is a main trekking destination, and home to the iconic Torres del Paine W Trek and Circuit trek trails, as well as the stunning Grey Glacier, waterfalls, rivers and lakes.

The Torres del Paine National Park, is an area of immense, outstanding, natural beauty, but in the “raw” sense. Here there are no picturesque rolling hills, but there are dramatically carved rock formations, raging waterfalls, rivers, stunning blue-coloured lakes, glaciers and a multi-mix of wildlife.

The Stunning Raw Beauty of Torres del Paine National Park

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Introduction to the Patagonia Region

Patagonia is a vast area that straddles both southern Chile and Argentina. Among this area are known cities and destinations in Argentina such as: Bariloche, El Calafate, El Chalten and Ushuaia.

On the Chile side we have Chiloe Island (west of Chile); the Carretera Austral, Puerto Williams, Cape Horn, Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales and the famous Torres del Paine.

What we aim to do in this section is to give you as much relevant information as we can about Torres del Paine National Park, which is in the heart of Patagonia, and matters related to visiting the area.

Please just take a look at the photos on this page in order to get a little bit of an idea as to what waits in store if you are lucky enough to visit.

For those who need accommodation, itineraries, tours and / or the W Trek, you can have it all arranged with Experience Chile (that’s us), through this specialist web site for Torres del Paine.

If you’d like us to suggest or create an itinerary for you, please EMAIL US.

Please look at our menu options and send us an email: request@experiencechile.org and we will do the rest.

Arrivals & Transfers to and Around Torres del Paine

Transfers and Transport in and Around Torres del Paine

There are various ways to get to Torres del Paine and here we explain what these options are.

For more information, email us…

LINK TO OUR TRANSPORT SERVICES PAGE HERE

What are the principal entry points to Torres del Paine?

The main entry points into Torres del Paine are: Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales in Chile and EL Calafate in Argentina.

Flying In

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To PUNTA ARENAS

Most commercial flights will land at Punta Arenas some 3,000km south from Santiago. Note: There are NO commercial flights from Buenos Aires nor El Calafate to Punta Arenas. The direct flight from Santiago will take just under 4hrs, and the one that stops off at Puerto Montt en-route will take around 4.5hrs.

Landing at PUERTO NATALES

On certain days of the week there are direct flights Santiago to Puerto Natales, which is a lot closer to Torres del Paine.

Arriving to Puerto Natales by Ship

Navimag operates a commercial ferry ship, which also takes passengers, from Puerto Montt. This ship arrives to Puerto Natales and offers a good-value cruise that passes through the channels and fiords in the area en-route to Puerto Natales (the cruise is available from Puerto Natales too) and ExperienceChile.Org can arrange the reservations. From Puerto Natales you either take the regular bus to TDP, have a pre-arranged private transfer meet you, or organise a rent a car.

To EL CALAFATE

You need to fly to El Calafate in Argentina from Buenos Aires or Ushuaia. Here you can stay overnight with an option to go to El Chalten (3hrs away by road) and / or visit Perito Moreno glacier the following day and then the next day come over to TDP.

From El Calafate you can take the regular bus across the border (departs 08:00hrs) to Puerto Natales (arrives 13:00hrs approx) and change to the regular bus that then goes to TDP departing around 14:00hrs, or arrange a private transfer service or a car rental. Also from El Calafate ExperienceChile.Org can organise a direct bus transfer to TDP (Laguna Amarga) departing El Calafate at 05:30hrs, which takes 6hrs.

Transfer

From the airport you would then either be met by a private transfer service (if you have contracted one with ExperienceChile.Org), take the regular bus from Punta Arenas city centre to Puerto Natales and change to another bus to get to TDP, have asked ExperienceChile.Org to pre-arrange a regular bus pick-up at the airport, or have arranged for your own car rental. Note that a permit is required to take any car across the border in to Argentina.

NOTE: No fruit, raw meat, raw vegetables, seeds or cheese is allowed over the border in either direction. If you try to do so you WILL be fined. There is a cafeteria at the Chile border where you can buy snacks as well as at the mini-markets on the W-Trek in TDP.

What transport is there for Torres del Paine?

ExperienceChile.Org will include in the itinerary regular bus transfers and private local transfers. We can also arrange rent a car and private long-distance transfers.

For more information, email us…

What are the transfer routes for Torres del Paine? Options include regular buses and private transfers.

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  • El Calafate to Torres del Paine / Torres del Paine to El Calafate
  • From El Calafate to Torres del Paine / Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales
  • Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine / Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales
  • From Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine / Torres del Paine to El Calafate
  • Puerto Natales to el Calafate / El Calafate to Puerto Natales
  • Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales / Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas
  • Private Transfer – any route, when you want

For those with a higher budget, or for private groups travelling together, a private transfer between cities and / or in to and out of Torres del Paine is the way to go. A private transfer will go at the times you want and take you door to door.

Can I rent a car for Torres del Paine?

For those who wish to have total independence having your own car use is the ultimate winner. You can go where you want when you want. Remember that if you want to take the car across the border a permit is required and this requires about a week’s notice.

LOCATION DISTANCES

  • Punta Arenas to Laguna Amarga in Torres del Paine (TDP) – 370km (5hrs drive)
  • From Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales – 250km (3hrs drive)
  • Puerto Natales to TDP Laguna Amarga – 120km (2hrs to drive)
  • From Puerto Natales to TDP Rio Serrano (newest route via Milodon-Cave road) – 80km (1hr to drive)

Torres del Paine Places of Interest

Torres del Paine National Park Places of Interest

There are numerous activity excursions to choose from in and around Torres del Paine, perhaps too many to mention. For this reason, what follows are only some of the more typical places of interest and activities. That is to say, some excursions can be done by touring in a vehicle, but most are done on foot, and in some cases on horseback. Apart from the staggering visual scenery, Torres del Paine is also home to many varieties of bird species including the Condor, and rare types of flora and fauna such as the Puma and Guanaco.

Introduction

What follows is only “introductory” information. If you look through the site and go to the W Trek page, for example, you will find all that you need for information about the W and Circuit treks.

For more information, email us…

Location of the Administration Centre (Sede)

This is located in the sector near to Rio Serrano and is the base for CONAF (the park administration people), the Carabineros (the Police). Therefore, here there is an excellent exhibition display of the geographical history of TDP. Consequently this centre is well worth a visit for those who are interested to know how the amazing and spectacular geographic features of the areas were created.

Some of the Torres del Paine Trekking Trails

Ferrier Mirador

This is the look out at the end of the Ferrier Trek (near to Hotel Grey)

The start of this trek is located by the CONAF hut, at the entrance to Grey Beach, not too far from Hotel Grey. Above all, the return hike is about 7hrs with panoramic views over GreyLake, Pingo Glacier, Torres del Paine Massif and the Cuernos de Paine. However, the trek involves some difficult uphill stretches.

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Lake Sarmiento

From this lake is a great view to the Paine Massif and in the immediate area is the Nothofagus wood with Lenga and Nirres trees. Moreover, the trek will be around 4hrs and is not difficult.

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Laguna Azul

Located around the other side of the Park (going in an anti-clock wise rotation), this is a very blue-coloured lake from where there is a great view to the towers of Torres del Paine and also home to many types of flora and fauna, and especially good for bird watching. Also accessible by vehicle. Therefore, this is an easy place to get to and does not involve any difficulty.

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Salto Grande (Large Waterfall)

This is located about 1km up the track from Pudeto (from where the catamaran operates). Salto Grande means Large Waterfall. Most importantly, the viewing area is very close to the action and offers people the opportunity to see the power, and hear the mighty rumble of vast volumes of water cascading through a narrow gap and then thunder down to the drop some 30mts below. However, be alert because one can easily slip over the edge!

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El Sendero de los Lagos (The Lakes Footpath)

The start of this trek is from the Estancia (Hosteria) Mirador del Paine – which is technically outside the Park, and is moderate in difficulty. Hiking this trek takes about 8hrs and offers a great view of Lago Toro and a panoramic view of the TDP Massif, glaciers and other mountains. It ends in the Park not far from the Weber bridge. Therefore, you will need to be met at the end point.

W Trek Key Places of Interest

LINK TO OUR W TREK ALL YOU NEED TO NOW PAGE HERE

El Sendero de Ascensio (the Torres Base Trek)

This trek will take around 8hrs return and starts from the Hotel Las Torres area. It passes through the Ascencio Valley and Nothofagus Forest and ends up at the Mirador (view point) at 980mt altitude. Above all, from here there is a spectacular view of the three Towers of Paine and the Condor’s Nest. Moreover, there are some amazing rock formations. However, the trek is demanding although part of it can be done on horse back up to Refugio Chileno, which is half way up, from Hotel Las Torres.

It takes 2hrs to reach the Refugio Chileno on foot, from Hotel Las Torres. However, it is then another 2 hrs to reach the Torres base (the “Mirador”).

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French Valley

To get to the French Valley it is necessary to take the catamaran from Pudeto across the Lake Pehoe to Refugio Paine Grande, unless you are coming from Refugio Cuernos or Camping Frances. However, the trek From Refugio Paine Grande, or Refugio Cuernos to the entrance to the French Valley is about 2.5hrs. Whereupon, the trek to the end of the French Valley from the entrance is another 2.5hrs.

The actual valley offers stark and impressive views of Glacier Frances and the Cuernos del Paine. However, if you do this trek you need to consider the time for returning to either Refugio Paine Grande, Camping Frances, or Refugio Cuernos (and Cabins here too). Note that Camping Frances is only 1hr from the entrance to the French Valley.

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Glacier Grey

Access to Glacier Grey is either by boat from Hotel Lago Grey, or by trek from Refugio Paine Grande, followed by a boat trip from Refugio Grey. However, by boat from Hotel Lago Grey the excursion lasts about 3 hrs and offers a close-up view of the glacial face. During the navigation you will be offered the chance to drink samples of Whisky or Pisco with millennia-old ice! Most importantly, trekking to Grey from Paine Grande takes about 4hrs in order to meet the boat there (at Grey).

Trekking from Paine Grande to Grey

However, if you trek from Paine Grande to Grey it is then a further 1.5hrs to get to the land-based Glacier Grey viewpoint (mirador). If you do this please remember the return 1.5hrs back to Refugio Grey from the viewpoint. Most importantly, from Refugio Grey you will need to take the boat to Hotel Lago Grey, or trek back to Refugio Paine Grande to get the catamaran over to Pudeto, and then out from the Park.

The trek from Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey is moderately demanding.

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Welcome Centre

Where is the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre?

The Torres del Paine Welcome Centre is located in the Eastern sector of Torres del Paine about 1.5km from the entrance to Hotel Las Torres. Moreover, the centre is close to Refugios Central and Norte and a short distance from ECO Camp.

Most importantly, only if you are entering the Torres del Paine National Park at the Eastern end will you need to enter the Welcome Centre. As a result, you need to show that you have confirmed reservations for accommodation on the W trek, if you are staying over. Above all, you also need to present, or fill in a visitors form.

There are public WC’s here as well as information.

For more information, email us…

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Park Entry Points

Park Entry and Registration

There are three principal entry points into Torres del Paine National Park. At each entry visitors need to register at the park entrance they enter by and pay for their entry ticket there, in person. Ideally bring local, Chilean currency ie cash. Further below we explain where these entry points are.

Park Entrance Cost

Torres del Paine Park entrance cost in 2020 was Ch$25.000 or approx USD35 per person.

The National Park is administered by CONAF (“Corporacion Nacional Forestal”) and income is distributed throughout the organization. Consequently, the income generated from Torres del Paine visitors does not all go to the Park. The CONAF admin centre is located within the park at the northern end of Lago del Toro, or 11 km past the Explora hotel heading west towards the Rio Serrano end. Above all, here there is an information centre and exhibits the geographical make-up of the Park as well as information on the flora and fauna.

The Main Park Entrances

Most importantly, the official park entrances are at Laguna Amarga (eastern entrance), Largo Sarmiento (south-eastern entrance) and Serrano (western entrance).

Laguna Amarga

This is located on the Eastern side of the park 150km (2hrs drive) on Ruta 9 from Puerto Natales, which goes via the border village of Cerro Castillo. However, at this point the road becomes Ruta Y 150.

For more information, email us…

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Lago Sarmiento

The Sarmiento entrance is also located on the Eastern side of the park 150km (2hrs drive) on Ruta 9 from Puerto Natales. Consequently, to get here you will go via the border village of Cerro Castillo. However, as mentioned above, at this point the road becomes Ruta Y 150. Moreover, about one hour from Cerro Castillo there will be a fork in the road and a signs to Laguna Amarga and Sarmiento, here you need to follow the left fork instead of right (right goes to Laguna Amarga entrance). However, note that the Sarmiento entry is often CLOSED and not used that much.

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The Serrano Entrance

This is 80km (1hr drive), on Ruta 9, from Puerto Natales past the Milodon Cave. Therefore, plan in some extra time if you want to visit the cave, which is well worth the visit.

 

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Emergency Rescue

Torres del Paine Emergency Rescue

Trekking in Torres del Paine requires attention to safety, personal responsibility and commonsense. Moreover, you need to come with the right clothes, be very aware of changing weather conditions and also bring other items such as a torch, water and food for the period when you are out trekking. Consequently, if you are in need of serious emergency help it may well be VERY SLOW in arriving.

Helicopter Rescue

Moreover, often helicopters cannot get into the park because of high winds and the long distance from Punta Arenas.  For this reason, rescue from the remote sectors of the Park will mean transport by horseback, or being carried on a stretcher. Above all, such “extractions” from the Park will be over rough terrain to the nearest road vehicle, followed by drive for 3 hrs to Puerto Natales, or even longer to Punta Arenas. Therefore, it really would be a good idea to NOT fall down, twist and ankle or worse.

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Self Drive (Rent a Car) Information

Rent a Car

Having your own car can be liberating. You can go where you want, when you want. However, there are considerations too, some of which we have outlined below.

Self Drive Advantages

Some people like independence. Therefore, we offer rent a car as part of any itinerary we are creating for you, but not as a stand-alone service. For example, only if part of the rest of your itinerary. Moreover, the advantage to renting a car is that you have total independence to go where you want, when you want. Therefore, if you intend to drive around to the sights and not trek much a car may be a good option, especially if you are four, or more people together.

The Self Drive Disadvantages

However, the disadvantages of renting a car are that the driver will usually get tired, and miss a lot of the stunning scenery. Also, you will be paying for something when it is in the car park, as it may be for several days if you are trekking in Torres del Paine.

As a result, if you are trekking the W, for example, you will have to leave it in one place, but then need to get back to that place after the trek, which may require a private transfer to get you back to where the car is. On the other hand it also costs money with petrol (gas if you are from the United States), and there is a fee to pay to take it across the border to Argentina should you be doing that.

For more information, email us…

Link to our TRANSPORT PAGE HERE

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Distances Between Locations

  • Punta Arenas to Laguna Amarga in Torres del Paine (TDP) – 370km (5hrs drive)
  • From Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales – 250km (3hrs drive)
  • Puerto Natales to TDP Laguna Amarga – 120km (2hrs to drive)
  • From Puerto Natales to TDP Rio Serrano (newest route via Milodon-Cave road) – 80km (1hr to drive)

Things to Consider if Rentng a Car

If you feel a car is the way to go, remember that you will need one sufficiently large enough not only for you and your passengers, but also for all your bags.

We can offer rent a car with pick up from Punta Arenas airport, or city centre. Moreover, we can also arrange pick-up from Puerto Natales city centre. And, for other destinations in Patagonia we can also arrange for pick-up at El Calafate airport or city centre, Puerto Montt airport or city centre, and at Coyhaique, Balmaceda airport.

Please note that as yet there is NO option to collect, or drop off a rent a car in Torres del Paine National Park.

Border Crossing

To take a car over the border requires a special permit. Therefore we can arrange the permit for the border crossing, as well as to drop a car off at a different city location to the pick-up location. In this case of different drop off place to where the car was collected there will be a drop-off fee.

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Our Rent a Car Partner

We work with one particular, reliable, rent a car provider for the Patagonia area. As a result, here below are the car options we can offer. However, please note that to get a cost we need to know the full details of pick-up time, drop off time, location of pick up and drop off.

In the meantime please mention in your enquiry the type of car you want, time of pick-up, where and time and place of drop off.

ExperienceChile.Org can arrange rent a car from Punta Arenas, El Calafate and Puerto Natales. What follows are some of the typical types of car available in the Torres del Paine zone.

The images of vehicles below is not up-to-date, but merely to give you an idea of the types of cars we can arrange, as well as other models not shown below.

 

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Distances & Fuel Filling Stations

Fuel Stops

If you have your own car please be aware that distances within the park can be quite long between refugios, hosterias and campsites. Therefore, it is imperative that you have a full tank of petrol (gas) prior to setting off from Puerto Natales. However, at Cerro Castillo, about half way between Puerto Natales and the Torres del Paine Park entrances, sometimes there is petrol (gas) there, but can also be sold out.

Moreover, there is an emergency supply of petrol in the park near the CONAF centre close to Posada Rio Serrano, but again, this should not be relied upon.

Distances Between Main Cities and Places in Torres del Paine

  • Punta Arenas to Laguna Amarga in Torres del Paine (TDP) – 370km (5hrs drive)
  • From Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales – 250km (3hrs drive)
  • Puerto Natales to TDP Laguna Amarga – 120km (2hrs to drive)
  • From Puerto Natales to TDP Rio Serrano (newest route via Milodon-Cave road) – 80km (1hr to drive)

Catamaran Service Between Pudeto and Paine Grande

The Catamaran Operates Between Pudeto and Refugio Paine Grande

This service is subject to local weather conditions, and can be delayed or cancelled. Most importantly, reservations are NOT taken in advance.  Therefore, you need to organise your crossing directly at Pudeto or Refugio Paine Grande, for the 25 minute navigation. At Pudeto there is a cafe where you can have a drink and buy snacks whilst you wait and, of course, at Refugio Paine Grande there is a restaurant that serves drinks and snacks too.

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Payment

You need to pay in cash in Chilean Pesos even though prices below are shown in USD, but in high season they accept other currencies too (established hard currencies like Euro and USD).

Prices for Season 2022 – 2023
The One way fare is approx USD40 per person / Return fare is less than two singles

One backpack is included, but USD10 per an extra backpack up to 50Kg)

Torres del Paine Flora and Fauna Information

The Flora and Fauna of Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine is a haven for different varieties of Patagonia vegetation as well as birds and mammals.

Here we do our best to list what you may see whilst you explore the Park.

FLORA

With regard to vegetation Torres del Paine can be divided into four different zones that relate to the different environments and conditions in the area.

These zones are:

Patagonian Steppe.
Pre-Andean Shrub land.
Magellan Deciduous Forest and Andean Desert.

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Among the varied types of vegetation are these principal verities:

MATORRAL PREANDINO

This is a herb that has adapted to the cold and dry conditions found growing principally in the areas around Lago Sarmiento, the Salto Grande and Mirador Nordenskjöld.

BOSQUE MAGALLANICO

These are woods comprising native trees such as Lenga and Coigue found in the areas around Lago Grey,Valle Pingo, close to Glacier Grey, Valle Frances and Valle Los Perros.

TUNDRA MAGALLANICO

A type of grass that grows principally in humid conditions.

CALAFATE

The Calafate (the Argentine town El Calafate has its name derived from this plant) is a plant that produces a small, black fruit and yellow flower.

NOTRO

A very small tree that produces a red flower.

CAPACHITO

This is a floral herb with orange-coloured flowers.

ARMENERIA

A medicinal herb that produces a rose-coloured flower.

ARVEJILLA

Often confused with lavender because of its move-coloured flowering, which is is not.

FAUNA

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There are 25 species of mammal including:

Pumas.
Cougars.
Grey Foxes.
Culpeos Foxes.
Patagonian Foxes.
Skunks.
The Chilean Huemul and many Guanacos.

For more information, email us…

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There are also 105 species of bird including fifteen birds of prey species.

Among the birds of prey are:

The Andean Condor.
Eagle.
Black-Chested Buzzard Eagle.
Rufous-Tailed Hawk.
Cinereous Harrier.
Chimango Caracara.
Magellanic Owl and Austral Pygmy Owl.

Other species include:

Rheas.
Black-Neck Swans.
Parrots.
Flamingos.

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Raguas.
Ducks.
Caiquenes.
Escurridzos.
Nandues.
Striped Woodpecker.
Black Woodpecker.
Fish Martin.

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Magellan Woodpecker.
Magellan Goose.
Buff-Necked Ibis.

Clothes to Pack for Torres del Paine and Patagonia

Pack the Right Clothes when Coming to Patagonia

What we aim to do here is advise you on what to pack in you suitcase and bring with you when coming to any part of Patagonia, be it land or sea. The weather here has one constant, which is change! It is often windy and it can rain or offer beautiful sunshine within the space of an hour. Therefore, please bring the right clothing to keep yourself dry and warm. Further below there is a graphic detailing what you should, ideally, bring with you.

Layered Clothing is the Answer

Try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. Cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.

Ideally clothes such as:

Over your body skin: an under vest (long sleeved if possible) made, ideally, from synthetic fibres so it dries quickly. If very cold weather (ie early spring, winter months or autumn) then thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres. The reason for synthetic fibres is because when you are walking several hours you will build up a sweat and your under garments will get wet, this then gets cold when you stop and will make you cold unless the wet material dries quickly. Cotton does not dry quickly, whereas synthetic material will dry more quickly.

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Descriptions of Individual Clothing and Items

Top of Body

On your head: a warm hat (not a jockey cap),

Face: sunglasses and sun-protection cream, and a headband to keep your ears warm when not using the hat.

Over your under vest: a breathable top such as a fleece.

On top of your fleece: a waterproof windbreaker over jacket.

For your Legs

Trekking pants, resistant to rain and wind, but made from a breathable material otherwise you will sweat. Jeans are NOT good as they can get wet and not dry.

Over your trekking pants: waterproof shell pants to go over your trekking pants in the event of heavy rain.

For your Feet

Wool or synthetic socks. Waterproof trekking boots with ankle support and none-slip sole. If new make sure you break them in prior to using them on a trek.

Hands

To keep hands warm, especially close to glaciers it can be very cold: Gloves.

Hiking Bag

Bag for your personal use: a back pack for food, water and clothes.

For your Safety

Take a battery-operated torch for when power is out or if you are arriving to a refugio in the dark. Also carry with you during the trek extra water and snacks. Prepare for all weather conditions and dress for the outdoors.

Do NOT go off the trail because if you have the slightest incident such as twisting an ankle, you may not be found.

Average Temperatures in TDP during the year
Summer (Dec – Jan – Feb) Max + 23.5°c / Min + 0.8°c.

Torres del Paine Map with Hotel and Refugio Locations Clearly Marked

Map of Torres del Paine Showing Hotels and Refugio Locations

Our map shows, clearly, the W Trek and Circuit trek route, as well as where the refugios and hotels are located on the trail, inside the park and near to the park.

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Raw Patagonia

Patagonia is beautifully harsh, offering some of the starkest views of South America. The spectacular scenery is the product of intense winds and tectonic collisions millions of years ago, dotting the land with ice fields, fjords and the jagged tips of the Andes. As a result, it is a place like no other on Earth and just waiting to be explored, and experienced.

Opportunity

Chilean Patagonia provides unique opportunities for adventure. Above all, it is a world unto itself, defined by vast lake districts and breathtaking wildlife, such as the condor and the puma. For these reasons, whether you enjoy trekking, biking or kayaking, Torres Del Paine National Park is a must-see destination. Therefore, if you would like more information on ways to explore this Andean region for yourself, get in touch with our team of travel experts today.

If you’d like us to suggest or create an itinerary for you, please EMAIL US.

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Torres del Paine FAQ’s

How Large is the Area of Torres del Paine National Park?

Torres del Paine National Park

The Park covers 182,000 sq hectares and is the jewel in Chile’s tourist crown. Above all, it is in the heart of Chilean Patagonia, an massive area of invigorating, raw nature.

In order to get to Torres del Paine, it will involve a flight of 4hrs from Santiago to Punta Arenas, followed by a 5hr road transfer to Torres del Paine. However, on certain days of the week there are flights from Santiago to Puerto Natales, which is only a 2hr transfer from Torres del Paine.

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Long Way

However, there is no doubt about it, the journey to Torres del Paine, for many, is a long way to come. The question that one should ask is “what is so special about this place to make the long journey?”. In order to answer the question one has to get here and then it then becomes apparent what is so special about this place.

For example, when you stand and stare in amazement at the unbelievable sight of this monumental cluster of mountain peaks that appear to stand all on their own in the middle of an otherwise flat plateau. Looking at the Torres del Paine central massif is one of those sights that makes the observer stand in awe and amazement of how stunningly beautiful and impressive nature can be.

What is considered to be the Most Popular Time to Come to Torres del Paine?

The Most Popular Time to Visit Torres del Paine

As with most places that are not winter destinations, the most popular time to come to Torres del Paine is during the Chilean summer.

The Summer period in Chile is: December, January and February.

These three months are popular because of the warmer, sunny weather in the Park, as well as the fact that people are escaping the cold winter of the northern hemisphere. However, during these same months it can be very windy too.

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Is There a Best Time to Come to Torres del Paine?

The Best Time to Come to Torres del Paine National Park

The best time to visit Torres del Paine is NOT, in our opinion, the most popular time. In other words, these two periods are very different. For example, the most popular time is just that, as in it is the period when most people come at the same time. However, the best time to visit reflects a period when not so many other people are around.

Consequently, October and November as well as March and April are, in our view, the best months in which to visit to Torres del Paine.

April

However, out of those four months, we say that April is the best month to come. During April the weather is usually good, with less wind, sunny days and, above all, not so many people.

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When is The Best Month to Come to Torres del Paine?

What is the Best Month to Come to Torres del Paine?

In the previous question we mentioned that April is, in our opinion, the best month in which to come and visit Torres del Paine National Park. Moreover, the reason we say this is because it is approaching the end of the season. The “crowds” will have gone. Also, the wind has died down and often there are sunny days.

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What are the Torres del Paine W Trek and Circuit Trek Trails?

The Two Iconic Torres del Paine Treks

LINK THROUGH HERE TO OUR W AND CIRCUIT TREK PAGE WITH ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

The W Trek Trail

Arguably, the best known, and most popular trekking trail in Torres del Paine is called the W Trek. The reason the trail has been given this name is because when viewed from above it forms the shape of the letter “W”. For this reason the name of the trail is the “W”. Picture below is of the base of the towers, one of the iconic sectors of the W Trek.

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The Circuit Trek Trail

However, the other trail, which encompasses the W Trek, is called the Circuit trek. This trail is called the Circuit because it starts in one place, then goes around in a circle, anticlockwise, to arrive back at the start, thus forming an “O”, or circuit. Therefore, the Torres del Paine Circuit trail takes in the back country of the Park and then loops in to follow the W trail. The picture below shows Refugio Dickson in the background and Glacier Dickson, this is the back country part of the Circuit Trek.

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Refugios

On both trails there are refugios, or hostels, with dorm rooms and bunk beds, placed in strategic areas that allow for a nights sleep after many hours of trekking. Also, adjacent to the refugios are serviced camp sites.  Moreover, here at ExperienceChile.Org we can arrange accommodation in refugios or camp sites.

All you need to do is EMAIL US here

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How can I book Accommodation on the W Trek?

Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Accommodation

LINK TO OUR TORRES DEL PAINE ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS PAGE HERE

Along both the W Trek and Circuit trek trails are a number of refugios and serviced camp sites. The refugios are hostels offering dorm rooms, bunk beds and communal shower and WC rooms, as well as communal dining areas.

However, at the place called Refugio Cuernos, there are also some private, small A-framed Cabins. Moreover, all the refugios, serviced camp sites and hotels can be booked through ExperienceChile.Org. Please just email us HERE

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Should I Stay Within Torres del Paine or Outside?

Where Should I Stay in Torres del Paine?

Most people want to stay “within” Torres del Paine. They feel that unless they are “within” the official Park boundaries that they will be missing out. Well, let’s stop you right there. Please read on and discover the realities of where you can stay to fully enjoy the experience of visiting Torres del Paine National Park.

A Common Mistake Many People Make

As mentioned in our introduction, many people believe, mistakenly, that the only place where they should book accommodation is at hotels, lodges and high-end camp sites within the official boundary of Torres del Paine National Park. However, this is a fallacy and leads to often-rushed decisions, and disappointment if one cannot get into a hotel “within” the park.

To illustrate our point please consider that the Torres del Paine central massif (specifically the “Cuernos” of Paine”) can be seen, on a clear day, from a point near to Puerto Natales, which is about 80km away, such is the immense scale of the mountainous formation. Therefore, it is NOT at all necessary to be in a hotel “within” the official park lines. For this reason, we have created a zone, within which you will be perfectly located for any activity in Torres del Paine.

Below is a picture of The Singular hotel in Puerto Natales – possible the best hotel in Patagonia.

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The Torres del Paine Zone

We have created a new description for the Torres del Paine area, which is the Torres del Paine Zone. For example, the Torres del Paine Zone is the area that encompasses Puerto Natales. Therefore, anyone staying in Puerto Natales is perfectly located for day trips into the Park, including trekking the W.

From Puerto Natales, our fictitious line, runs east to Cerro Castillo (the border village with Argentina).

We then go north from Cerro Castillo to Estancia Cerro Guido.

Then from Cerro Guido the imaginary line continues north until it hits the Argentine border, then goes west to Glacier Grey.

Once at Glacier Grey, our line heads south to incorporate all of Grey Lake and down to Serrano Village.

From Serrano Village we then head south and back to Puerto Natales.

Travel time from any of the points within the zone described above can be 2hrs from one place to the other, depending on where you start and end. More on that below.

The Official Park Boundary

Within the official park boundary is takes a good 2hrs to drive from the western end to the eastern end of Torres del Paine. In other words, from Lago Grey (Grey Lake) to Laguna Azul. Moreover, this is the same time it takes to drive from Puerto Natales to Grey Lake, or Puerto Natales to the park entrance at Laguna Amarga (near Laguna Azul). Therefore, it does not matter if you have accommodation inside the official boundary of the Park, or if you are staying in Puerto Natales, or somewhere in-between.

Below is a picture of the Remota Hotel in Puerto Natales, which is another fine alternative to staying inside Torres del Paine.

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Puerto Natales

One of the great advantages to staying in Puerto Natales is that there are a number of nice restaurants and a populated village with some “life”. It is also located in a pretty location next to the water with mountains in the distance. In addition, during your holiday, should you want a rest day, then Puerto Natales is a good option, especially if we book one of the hotels with a spa and pool.

Below is a picture of a matrimonial room in the Altiplanico Hotel in Puerto Natales.

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Serrano Village

If you stay at Serrano village, you will get fine views to the Torres del Paine Massif. However, if you stay at Patagonia Camp, located 15km before the entrance to the Torres del Paine Serrano entrance, you will get superb views over Lake Toro and to the Torres del Paine massif. Moreover, should you stay at the Estancia Cerro Guido, over to the east, you will get direct views to the Towers of Torres del Paine, and if you stay at Tierra Patagonia or Awasi (both luxury-level lodges) you will also have great views of the Torres of Torres del Paine.

From the Serrano area (officially outside the boundary of Torres del Paine) you get this view below.

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Conclusion

Therefore, please, do not worry if you cannot get into one of the hotels within the official Park boundary. Moreover, daily tours from any hotel within the Torres del Paine boundary, as well as from Puerto Natales, will involve from between 1hr to 2hrs travel in a vehicle. The only exception to this is if you are trekking the W trek or the Circuit trek, and for these two trails you will benefit from staying over at one of the refugios, ECO Camp, Hotel Las Torres and / or Hotel Grey.

Alternative Accommodation

Having said that, we can arrange from most of the hotels that are further away, a section of the W trek each day. Therefore, you can stay in comfort and walk a part of the W trek every day, and after four days you will have completed the W trek. In addition, there are also options to do the iconic Torres Base trek in one day from Puerto Natales.

Experience Chile is a distinguished partner with all the accommodation options mentioned in our web site. Therefore, please let us know which type of accommodation you would like to include within the itinerary we create for you.

Accommodation in and around Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine Types of Accommodation in and Near the Park

LINK TO OUR TORRES DEL PAINE ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS PAGE RIGHT HERE

You can enjoy the stunning scenery, fresh air, witness moving glaciers, walk through woods, challenge yourself with adventurous trekking and be in the heart of nature during the day in Torres del Paine. But at night you have the following types of accommodation where you can relax and get your sleep:

Serviced Camping Sites

OUR ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS PAGE IS AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS LINK

The serviced camp sites offer tents with bedding and ground mats, and food taken inside the adjacent refugio or small dining hut where there is no refugio.

Below is a picture of a typical serviced camping set up.

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Serviced Camp Sites on the W trek & Circuit Trek trails: Central, Serron, Perros, Grey, Paine Grande, Cuernos and Chileno.

Domos, Cabins and Refugios

INFORMATION ON TORRES DEL PAINE REFUGIOS IS HERE AT THIS LINK

Refugio – basically a hostel with dorm rooms and bunk beds, 6 people to a room, communal “canteen style “dining room. These are located on the W Trek and the Circuit Trek.

There are Refugios Located At: Dickson (Circuit Trek), and on the W Trek – Chileno, Cuernos, Paine Grande and Grey.

Picture below is of Refugio Central.

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Cabins are Located at: Cuernos (W Trek).

Below is a picture of the interior of Cabins Cuernos, which are slightly uphill from Refugio Cuernos. Use of an outdoor, communal hot tub comes with a Cabin Cuernos stay..

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Domos Located At: Frances (W Trek)

Picture below is of Domos Frances exterior.

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Mid-level Hotels

FOR INFORMATION ON ALL HOTEL ACCOMMODATION IN AND AORUND TORRES DEL PAINE CLICK HERE

For us a “mid-level” hotel has private rooms and en-suite bathroom or shower rooms, restaurant, decent food and wine selection. However, these hotels do not “stand out” as a particularly “special” place. They are practical and do the job of a hotel. They are not luxury and do not have other high-end attributes.

These are located in different areas within the Torres del Paine zone and, of course, at Puerto Natales.

The Mid-Level Hotels are: Hotel Las Torres, Hosteria Pehoe, Hotel Lago Grey, Hotel Rio Serrano, Hotel del Paine as well as in Puerto Natales – Hotel If, Hotel Altiplanico Sur and Weskar Lodge.

The picture below shows Hotel las Torres.

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Luxury Hotels & Lodges

IN ORDER TO SEE MORE INFORMATION ON OUR LUXURY LEVEL HOTELS AND LODGES PLEASE CLICK HERE

We define luxury as being a World-Class hotel, or lodge with luxury-level private rooms; en-suite, well-equipped bathrooms, plus spa and pool facilities, quality food and wines. Such hotel lodges are in the Torres del Paine zone as well as in Puerto Natales we offer The Singular and Remota Hotels.

Our Luxury Hotels & Lodges are: Explora Salto Chico, Tierra Patagonia, Awasi, Singular (Puerto Natales) and Remota (Puerto Natales). NOTE: For Explora Salto Chico, Tierra Patagonia, The Singular and Hotel Remota we have an offer – please see our Featured Hotels AND CLICK HERE.

The picture below shows the Tierra Patagonia Hotel with the Torres del Paine Central Massif in the background.

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Estancia Hotel

An Estancia Hotel is the name for a Patagonian farm house. The “stand out” Estancia Hotel that we offer is in the Patagonian country-style, offering large, private rooms with spacious en-suite bathrooms. There is also a great restaurant, good food and wines. Here, you can experience life in Patagonia and also sense and feel the history of the past 100 years. There is only one such place and it is located in the Torres del Paine zone.

PLEASE CLICK THROUGH HERE TO SEE MORE ABOUT CERRO GUIDO

The Main Estancia Hotel is: Estancia Cerro Guido

The picture below shows a superior bedroom at Estancia Cerro Guido.

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“Glamping”

This is a British term to describe top-end, luxury camping.

In Torres del Paine there are currently two places that meet this description. One offers luxury, kitted-out Yurts and the other supplies luxury-level Domes. Each located in a different part of the Torres del Paine zone. One has communal bar and dining area with wine, and in the other has more of an up-market restaurant with good wines.

FOR FULL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH OF THESE OPTIONS PLEASE CLICK HERE

The Glamping Places are: Patagonia Camp and ECO Domes

The picture below shows the interior of a Patagonia Camp Yurt tent.

 

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Where is the Hotel Accommodation Located in Torres del Paine?

Hotel Accommodation Locations for Torres del Paine

Hotel Locations Within the Park

FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT WHERE THE HOTEL ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS ARE LOCATED CLICK THROUGH HERE

There are, in total, four hotels and one up-market camp (glamping) that are within the official boundary lines of Torres del Paine National Park (TDP). Therefore, there are various alternatives to choose from.

For example, these are the Hotel Las Torres, Explora Salto Chico Lodge, Hotel Lago Grey, Hotel (Hosteria) Pehoe and the ECO Camp (glamping).

TORRES DEL PAINE HOTEL LOCATION MAP IS AVAILABLE HERE THROUGH THIS LINK

Hotels To the West

Literally just over the “boundary line” of TDP on the other side of the Rio Serrano are these hotels: Hotel Rio Serrano and Hotel Paine, with a few others such as Pampa Lodge, Lago Tyndal and Nash lodge nearby. Consequently, you need to pay the entrance fee into Torres del Paine when you enter, but this lasts for a number of days.

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Over on the East

We have Tierra Patagonia, Awasi Patagonia and Estancia Cerro Guido. Therefore, most of the very best properties are not within the “official” park boundary.

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To the South

The luxury camping called Patagonia Camp. Most importantly, this place has fine views over the lake and on to the Torres del Paine Massif.

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Please see our Torres del Paine Map to identify where the above hotels are located. Hotel Location MAP is available HERE

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Where is the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre?

The Torres del Paine Welcome Centre

The Welcome Centre is located in the Eastern sector of Torres del Paine about 1.5km from the entrance to Hotel Las Torres. Therefore, it is also close to Refugios Central and Norte and a short distance from ECO Camp.

Only if you are entering the park at the Eastern end will you need to come to the Welcome Centre. However, here you need to show that you have confirmed reservations for accommodation on the W trek, if you are staying over. Consequently, also need to present, or fill in a visitors form. Most importantly, there are public WC´s here as well as information.

Below is a picture of the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre – only for people entering at the Eastern end, as in Hotel Las Torres, The W Trek Torres Base Trek, ECO camp, Refugios Central and Torre Norte as well as camping in this area.

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How long does it take to drive from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine?

Driving Times from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine

Driving from Puerto Natales to the western, Serrano entrance of Torres del Paine will take 1hr.

Coming from Puerto Natales to the eastern, Laguna Amarga entrance to Torres del Paine will take 2hrs.

The picture below is the road from Puerto Natales that passes the Milodon Cave on the way to the western side of Torres del Paine.

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How Long Does it Take to Drive From Puerto Natales to Hotel Lago Grey, or Grey Beach?

Driving from Puerto Natales to Hotel Lago Grey

The drive from Puerto Natales, past the Milodon cave, and on to the Torres del Paine Serrano entrance is very picturesque, and should be enjoyed as part of your Torres del Paine experience. Therefore, if you are driving from Puerto Natales to Hotel Lago Grey, or to Grey beach you need to allow 2hrs.

The picture below shows Grey beach with icebergs and Glacier Grey in the background.

 

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Today & Five Day Forecast (C°)
Torres del Paine National Park

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What Activities are there in the Torres del Paine Area?

Apart from the stunning, geographic scenery in and around the Torres del Paine National Park, there are also some fabulous activities to enjoy. These range from walking on top of Glacier Grey (ice hiking), to paddling a kayak on Grey Lake and in front of the glacier, to taking a trip on a boat that then navigates Grey Lake and passes in front of the Glacier. In addition, there is the option to ride a fast-speed zodiac up or down the Serrano River in order to get into, or out of Torres del Paine.

Naturally, there is also the hiking on the iconic W Trek and Circuit Trek trails as well as horse riding.

Please click through from the links below to be led directly to all the the activity options that we can include on your Torres del Paine itinerary.

Navigation Grey

Grey Ice Hike

Kayak Grey

Where to Sleep in the Torres del Paine Area

Within Torres del Paine, as well as on the periphery, and, including the village of Puerto Natales, there are numerous accommodation options. These range from simple hostels (called refugios, which are on the W Trek and Circuit Trek trails), to Glamping (luxury camping), mid-rage hotels to top end luxury lodges.

Please click through from the links below to be led directly to all the accommodation details and descriptions you will need.

 

Torres del Paine Refugios

Torres del Paine Hotels

Puerto Natales Options

Puerto Natales: Patagonia (Closest village to Torres del Paine)

Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales

 

Alternative to Torres del Paine

Many of the hotels in Torres del Paine become drowded during the high season. Consequently, they increase their room rates, some to silly levels. However, Puerto Natales as the closest city south of Torres Del Paine National Park, is the ideal alternative place to stay. In other words, Natales is an ideal location to start and finish your adventure.

Advantage to Puerto Natales

Apart from, mostly, hotel room rates costing less than inside Torres del Paine, if you stay in a real village such as Puerto Natales there is “life”. For example, you have a choice of restaurants to eat out at each night; there are bars to meet people at and have a chat with, as well as some quirky art galleries and boutique shops. Moreover, the travelling time from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine trail heads can be the same as the travel time from some of the hotels closer to Torres del Paine to places of interest and trail heads in the Park.

As a result, Puerto Natales has become a major hub for hikers from around the globe. Therefore, Puerto Natales is the perfect place to meet like-minded people setting off on the W Trek, or over to El Calafate and El Chalten, or even heading as far south as Antarctica.

Because many of our guests choose to at least spend one night in Puerto Natales, we feature some of the most popular hotels in the area so you can continue to tailor your stay even further.

If you would like for us to arrange your accommodation in Patagonia, please send us your enquiry…

Send Us Your Enquiry

Please supply us with as much information as you can about where you want to go, what you want to do, what you want to experience and how much money you want to spend (or do not want to spend!).  How many people, what type of beds (matrimonial, twin, single etc.)

VIP – if you are a VIP in any of the fields such as celebrity and/or political and/or business, and you need “special attention” such as privacy and/or security for your trip please use an alias in the enquiry, but mention that you are VIP and one of the directors will handle your request and keep your real name and details confidential.

Remember, our speciality is to create a travel itinerary custom-built to your needs.

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