Frequently Asked Questions
What is the entry requirements to Chile now?
Through the Ministry of Health, the Chilean government has confirmed that health requirements associated with COVID-19 will be eliminated during entry into our country. Great news for you and all travelers looking to explore our territory!
The “Plan Fronteras Protegidas” (Protected Borders Plan) ceased to apply since May 9th 2023. This means that the request for a PCR test and random testing on entry into Chile is eliminated.
In addition, you should know that a valid vaccination certificate will not be required at the time of entry into Chile.
With this change in Chile’s entry requirements, more than 3,500,000 foreign tourists are expected to arrive in 2023.
The Ministry of Health indicated that, although the COVID-19 epidemiological scenario is on the decline, the circulation of other respiratory viruses is accelerating as winter approaches.
The recommendation is to keep vaccinations up to date, both against COVID-19 and influenza, and to maintain the self-care measures acquired during the pandemic: frequent hand washing, ventilation of enclosed spaces, and the use of masks when showing respiratory symptoms.
Best way to get to Puerto Natales?
Puerto Natales is your local transit hub in going to Torres del Paine. Sky Airline is regularly flying to Puerto Natales all year. Jetsmart and Latam flies during the summer season. It is a 3 hours flight. If you can't get unto a plane directly to Puerto Natales, another alternative is to fly to Punta Arenas and then an airport bus (3 hours) going straight to Puerto Natales. No stops in between. We will be arranging your local transfers once you are in Puerto Natales.
Is ChileTour Patagonia a Local Operator?
Yes, we are a Top Rated Puerto Natales based travel company. We manage our own accomodation in Puerto Natales (Garden Domes) composed of cabins, domes and tiny houses. We also have our company vans and SUVs to support our guests needs. This aside from our very dedicated team of guides, drivers, camping logistics, kitchen and reception. We take pride in our 10 years of accumulated wisdom and experience running the W Trek. We also provide day tours through Paine Travel and we have a popular restaurant-bbq-pizzaria called El Brisket and and Ice-bar.
Is the West to East W trek itinerary the best way?
The popular online opinion is West to East. But it can be a complicated way of doing the W, because its success depends on connecting properly to the Lake Pehoe catamaran or ferry. The problem is, there is always a chance that you don't connect to the boat. No seats are guranteed as well, so even if you make it, you still might not be able to sail. We don’t have this problem on the East to West schedule. Furthermore, because of starting with the Base of the Towers trail, we were able to resolved numerous first day hiccups of participants which we never could have if they took the boat on the first day. Also, by doing the W Classic East to West, you get the change to do either ice-trekking or kayaking or a hike to the iconic second hanging bridge overlooking the Grey Glacier and the Southern Ice Field.
What happens if the Lake Pehoe boat does not sail?
We have timed the W trek in such a way that you will have enough time to exit using an alternative route out of the W. (We call this exit route the "Q trail." We will explain why we call it that letter when you arrive here to start the hike!)
Do you need a guide during the W Trek?
During the Winter season, we normally send a guide and a porter to accompany our W participants. Winter daylight is short, 5 hours only and the average hiker needs to do 7 to 8 hours of daily hike. A guide is a safety necessity during winter. During the summer months, especially November, December and January, the sun is up until 11 pm and starts to rise 4 am. Since the trails are properly marked, there is always enough time to reach one’s destination of the day. For this reason, we only provide the guide on the first day of the hike or upon special request.
Does the W trek gets cancelled because of the weather?
We never had an experience of the entire W trek getting cancelled because of the weather. The upper portion of the trail to the Base of the Tower or the British Lookout can be closed due to bad weather.
Are there dangerous animals in the park?
We don’t have snakes, bears or crocodiles in Patagonia. We have some pumas in the eastern portion of the park but we never had any experience of any tourist in the park attacked by the big cats.
Do we need to carry drinking water during the hike?
Having a 500 ml water bottle is enough. There are many glacier streams and rivers where you can refill your bottle. It is one of the freshest and cleanest water you can drink. We will be sending you more information about this. Including some tips on how to fetch water safely during the hike.