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Description

Discover the famous W Circuit, exploring its main points

The Classic W Circuit is the program for those who are lovers of trekking and camping in nature. You will complete the classic Torres del Paine National Park circuit in 5 days and 4 nights.

In this trekking circuit, you will pass through the main points of Torres del Paine Park, visiting its most famous attractions. You will get to know the three granite towers, the imposing Grey Glacier and the icebergs that float in the Grey Lake, as well as the beautiful French Valley.

Also, in the Classic W Circuit, you won’t have to worry about bringing a tent and a sleeping bag. Our circuit already includes the tent set up at the campsite, along with a sleeping bag and mat.

Get to know the base of the Towers, the Grey Glacier sector and the French Valley

The first day of the Classic W Circuit will be a quiet day. You will only take the bus from the city of Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine Park to spend your first night camping.

The next day you will do the best known trekking in the area. The Towers Base Trekking is a trail of approximately 20 km and of medium-high level of difficulty. However, even with the difficulty of a path with climbs, when you reach the viewpoint you will feel that your effort was rewarded.

You will meet the French Valley on the fourth day of the Classic W Circuit. You will walk through forests and moraines of an ancient glacier. Once at the British viewpoint, you will enjoy an incredible view of Paine Grande, Catedral, Aleta de Tiburón and Cuerno Norte.

The last day will be to get to know the Grey sector, departing from Paine Grande. You will be able to appreciate the view of the Grey Glacier and see the floating icebergs in the Lake Grey. We recommend you take the walk to the well-known suspension bridges.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Torres del Paine National Park – Trek to the Base of The Towers

After having breakfast at the hotel, you have to ask for your box lunch and then go to the bus terminal to take the 7:00 a.m. bus (we recommend being at least 10 minutes before departure) to go to Torres del Paine National Park. You will travel through beautiful landscapes until you reach the main entrance, Laguna Amarga, where you must register with CONAF (park rangers). Here you will transfer to “Las Torres” shuttle, who will take you to the Visitor’s Center. Check yourself in at the Cerro Paine Reserve and, after about a 5 minutes’ walk, you will arrive at Torre Central where you must check in, either in refuge or camping, before starting your trekking.

Today’s hike begins through the Ascencio Valley, enjoying its extensive forests. During the final ascent, you will traverse an immense field of giant rocks until you reach one of the most emblematic viewpoints in the world, the famous Base of the Towers lookout. At 900 m.a.s.l., you will be marvel with the 3 granite towers (north, central and south) and the bright turquoise glacial lake at its feet. Take beautiful photos and enjoy your box lunch before returning along the same path back to Torre Central. After a long day and enjoying the Towers, delight yourself with the dinner at the refuge.

Distance: 22 kms
Time: 8 – 10 hrs
Level of difficulty: High
Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Box lunch and dinner

Day 2: Trek to Los Cuernos or Francés

Enjoy breakfast and then request your box lunch to start the walk into the depths of the park to Los Cuernos or Francés. During this hike you will pass through beautiful crystal-clear streams, and you can admire the hanging snowdrifts of Almirante Nieto mount at 2.670 meters. You will be able to see the majestic condors gliding from the heights and go alongside the fascinating waters of the Nordenskjöld lake. Continue along the trail until you reach Los Cuernos refuge or Francés refuge, where you will unwind all night.

Distance: 12 or 15 kms, depending on the accommodation
Time: 4 – 5 hrs
Level of difficulty: Medium
Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Breakfast, box lunch and dinner

Day 3: Explore the French Valley (Valle del Francés)

We recommend to begin early! This hike will take you to the heart of Torres del Paine National Park. After breakfast, ask for your box lunch and get ready for a day of amazing Patagonian landscapes. After 2 hours walking, you will pass through the Francés campsite, and you will arrive at the entrance of the French Valley. You can leave your backpack at the Italiano camp, where there is a park rangers outpost, and start your journey up to the French Valley.

Climb through a massive boulder field and follow a tree-lined ridge until reaching the French plateau. Here, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Los Cuernos (the Horns), turquoise glacial lagoons and amazing blue hanging glaciers cascading down the east face of the Paine Grande Mountain (3,050 m.a.s.l.). If you are lucky, you can hear the thunderous noise of the glacier and the falling water, as well as it is very common to witness an avalanche. Take some photos, enjoy your box lunch and a well-deserved rest. Descend through the same path back to the Italiano camp (remember to grab your backpack).

From here walk to Paine Grande refuge (about 2.5 hrs). Take it easy as it is practically flat. In the evening you will enjoy a delicious dinner at the refuge.

Distance: Mirador Francés 17 kms
Time: 6 – 7 hrs
Level of difficulty: Medium – high
Accommodation: Paine Grande Camping
Meals: Breakfast, box lunch and dinner

Day 4: Grey (optional hike to the hanging bridges)

After breakfast, remember to ask for your box lunch and start today’s trekking. The hike begins through a narrow and winding valley that leads to Los Patos lagoon. As you continue, you will get glimpses of the immense Southern Ice Field, as well as the icebergs in the Grey lake. After passing the sometimes very windy viewpoint, the path descends through a mountainous forest until it reaches the Grey refuge. From here, you can continue your walk for about 10 minutes until you reach the Grey glacier lookout, where you will be facing the bluest glacier in the world. Dinner will be served in the refuge between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Distance: 11 kms
Time: 4 – 4.5 hrs
Level of difficulty: Medium
Accommodation: Grey Camping
Meals: Breakfast, box lunch and dinner

OPTIONAL
For an unforgettable panoramic view of Grey glacier, set off for an extra 3 – 4 hrs (round trip) past the refuge in the direction of the famous hanging bridges. It is by far the best viewpoint of the glacier. In addition to contemplating the impressive ice, you can see the depth of the ravine formed by the rivers and waterfalls that come from the Olguín Range. If luck is on your side, you may catch ice calving into the deep, freezing waters of Grey lake.

Distance: 4 kms
Time: 3 – 4 hrs (round trip)
Level of difficulty: Medium

Day 5: Trek to Paine Grande – Catamaran – Return to Puerto Natales

In case you did not have the chance to visit the hanging bridges the day before, you can use the morning to explore the spectacular panoramic views of the Grey glacier. Then, continue the same path back to Paine Grande to take the catamaran at 6:00 p.m. to Pudeto, where you will take the bus back to Puerto Natales at 6:30 p.m. The estimated time of arrival to Natales is 9:30 p.m.

Distance: 11 kms
Time: 4 – 4.5 hrs
Level of difficulty: Medium
Meals: Breakfast and box lunch

Detail

Included
Transfers:
– Roundtrip transportation by regular bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park
– Connection transportation by bus from Portería Laguna Amarga to Las Torres sector
– Connection transportation by catamaran from Pehoé sector to Pudeto
Accommodation in camping, private double tents (includes site, armed tent, sleeping bag and insulation)
Meals:
– Breakfast (coffee, tea, milk, bread, eggs, jam, juice and fruits)
– Box lunch (cold sandwich, cereal bar, chocolate bar, nuts and fruit)
– Dinner (menu of the day, with starter, main course, dessert and water)
Entrance ticket to Torres del Paine National Park

Not included
Flights to/from Puerto Natales
Tips
Health insurance
Medical assistance in case of accident
Assistance in evacuation due to climatic causes
Travel insurance that covers accidents and cancellations due to force majeure

FAQ

How far in advance should I book the Classic W Circuit?

This circuit has a high demand and there are dates on which quotas are sold out months in advance. Therefore, we recommend that you book as far in advance as possible as places are limited.

What is the difference between the W Circuit with refuge accommodation or camping accommodation?

The program with shelters will sleep in a shared room with bunk beds and a shared bathroom. On the other hand, in camping accommodation you will sleep in a private double tent already set up with a sleeping bag and insulation with a shared bathroom.

What differences are there between the Classic W Circuit and the Express W Circuit?

The difference between both circuits is that the Classi W Circuit covers a distance of 75.5 km, to reach the second viewpoint of the Grey Glacier, closer to the glacier. On the other hand, the 72.5 km Express W Circuit reaches the first viewpoint of the Grey Glacier, further from the glacier.

What is the difference between a guided program and a self-guided program?

In the guided circuit you will go with a professional guide, who will accompany you throughout the walk, in addition to giving you information about the places you will visit during the circuit. On the other hand, doing it autonomously is possible because the park’s trails are duly marked. In addition to receiving an explanatory talk at the beginning of the circuit, where you will be given a map with all the details.

From what age can they do the W Circuit?

The minimum age is 14 years old, it must be considered that it is a trek of several days, with medium-high physical demand, which is not advisable for minors.

Is it necessary to bring water?

It is not necessary to carry water since there are drinking water sources available along the way, either in the refuges and camps or natural water sources, during the walks.

Is there WiFi and plugs?

Yes, there is WiFi service in the shelters but it is not included in the price, it is paid directly in each refuge. The price may vary according to time and speed. You can use the sockets available in the common areas of the refuges. However, we recommend that you carry charged external batteries.

Can I leave part of my luggage in some of the refuges while I do the circuit?

If you can leave your large backpack in the Chilean and Italian camps, and pick it up on the way back.

What are the transportation options to get to Puerto Natales from Punta Arenas and El Calafate?

The companies Bus-Sur, Buses Pacheco and Buses Fernández offer the regular bus transportation service from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, while the companies Bus-Sur, Turismo Zaahj and Cootra provide the regular bus transportation service from El Calafate to Puerto Natales. To know prices, availability and frequency of these services you should review the information published on the websites of the indicated companies.

What to bring?

  • 40 liter backpack to carry all things and 25 liter backpack for day hikes to Towers Base and French Valley
  • Waterproof jacket and pants, fleece-type outerwear, thermal clothing (first layer), short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts
  • Trekking shoes, slippers and sandals for showers and rest
  • Hat and gloves for the cold, hat for the sun, sunscreen, sunglasses, earplugs, towel
  • Rechargeable battery for the mobile, flashlight, padlock, bags to store your garbage, trekking poles, travel insurance that covers accidents, insurance for cancellations due to force majeure

Conditions

Check the contracting terms of the Classic W Circuit (camping – self-guided).

Classic W Circuit (camping - self-guided)

from

$812

From Puerto Natales Bus Terminal
5 days / 4 nights
Start 06:45 a.m. (first day) – End 10:00 p.m. (last day)

Rates table
1 passenger: CLP$580,000
2 passengers: CLP$1,160,000
3 passengers: CLP$1,740,000
4 passengers: CLP$2,320,000
5 passengers: CLP$2,900,000
6 passengers: CLP$3,480,000

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