How to get to Torres del Paine to do the W Trek
How to Arrive to Puerto Natales from Santiago.
It is not so complicated to get to Torres del Paine and do the W Trek, below are the practical information you need to connect properly to your W trek adventure in Patagonia.
1. Santiago to Puerto Natales - Direct.
Three airlines are servicing this route depending on the month:
2. Santiago to Puerto Natales through Punta Arenas.
Also from Santiago you can fly to Punta Arenas, this is an option if not possible or economically viable to fly direct to Natales. Once you arrive at Punta Arenas Regular Public Buses going to Natales passes by the front door of the airport terminal.
During summer time, the buses run like a dozen times each day, 7:00 am is the earliest and 9:00 pm is the latest. You just need to wait at the airport lobby and it stops just directly outside. If you have a reservation, which you can do online, you must be attentive because it stops for just 5 minutes. Duration of travel from Punta Arenas airport to Puerto Natales is 2 hours and 40 minutes.
3. Santiago to Puerto Montt then to Puerto Natales.
Option 1 - Puerto Monnt to Puerto Natales by Ferry
*From Santiago you can fly to Puerto Montt using the airlines mentioned above, you can spend a few days visiting Chiloe Island and Puerto Varas then take the Navimag Ferry to Puerto Natales.
Option 2 - Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales through Carretera Austral - by bus & ferry.
(main stops: Puerto Montt - Chaiten - Coyhaique - Cochrane - Caleta Tortel - Puerto Natales)
If you have plenty of time to spend, one of the most exciting road trip you can do is crossing to Puerto Natales through the Southern-most Highway or Carrretera Austral. This route is home to some of the most impressive sights in the Southern Hemisphere. No matter its beauty, it is always a mystery to connect! Below however I have listed all the main connections and availability to make life easy for those you wants to discover this place before doing the famous W Trek:
*Puerto Montt to Chaiten (10 hours) - 7:00 am daily Kemel Bus
*Chaiten - Cohaique (10 hours) - Wednesday only 11:30 am Buses Becker
*Cochrane to Caleta Tortel - Daily Schedules
*Caleta Tortel - Puerto Natales Saturdays only 11:00 pm Reservation
Tabsa Ferry Schedules (please note that boat is coming from Puerto Yungay before passing by Caleta Tortel to Natales)
ETA Puerto Natales Mondays 4:00 pm
Alternative route - When you reach Coyhaique, you can also just take the Bus direct to Puerto Natales, route is via Argentina passing by El Calafate. Trips for the summer season will start September 30, 2017 until April 2018. Trips from Coyhaique to Puerto Natales is every tuesday 11:30am (cost: $60,000 Clp)
How to Arrive to Torres del Paine to Start the W Trek (from Puerto Natales).
Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine, W Trek East to West.
*For those that are participating in the W Trek programs of ChileTour, we have our own private transfer and guide to bring our participants from our Garden Domes hotel in Puerto Natales to the trail head of the W.
*For those that are doing it on their own:
There are several bus companies that travel to Punta Arenas. Reserve the bus at your hostel or as soon as you arrive in Puerto Natales. Buses leave Puerto Natales 07:00 or 07:30 hrs and will arrive around 9:30 hrs at the Laguna Amargana entrance, where you will need to present you park ticket QR code to the the Conaf Office (Entrance Ticket Prices). From there you will have to look for a Hotel Las Torres Bus or Van that will bring you the Welcome Center or Centro de Bienvenida where they will check your W Trek reservations before you can enter the trail to the Base of the Paine Towers.
There is also a 14:30 hrs bus service that you can take but there is not enough time to do the trek to the base of the towers, you can do it the next day.
You can simplify the process in option 1 by taking a private day tour to the base of the towers, and you will be picked-up from your hotel and will be driven directly to the Welcome Center after paying the entrance ticket.
Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine, W Trek West to East.
It is the same procedure in option 1, until after you get your entrance ticket where you will need to go back to the same bus and travel almost an hour more until Pudeto. There you will need to take the Ferry 11:00 hrs to Paine Grande. This service is available September to March. You dont need advance reservation, you only need to pay when on-board.
If you want to reserve in advance your bus ticket and catamaran, contact us. And for more ideas about the W hike, get in touch with us.
NEVER check-in your hiking shoes and gears. Either wear them or have it hand carried. One of the most stressful experience we have here is when guests arrive with no gears. And even if you can buy new shoes for the trek, you will be uncomfortable hiking with blisters for several days.