You want to do the W-Trek or the O-Trek in Torres del Paine National Park, but the whole transport situation seems a bit overwhelming. Is it though? We get a lot of similar questions about flights, buses, and catamarans and therefore decided to wrap it all together in a blog post. Vamos!
Where is Torres del Paine National Park?
Torres del Paine National Park is located in Chilean Patagonia. It was established in 1595 and it attracts as much as 250.000 visitors a year. These visitors mainly make find their way there through the small town of Puerto Natales, about 2 hours south of the Torres del Paine. Puerto Natales is about 3 hours from Punto Arenas, the closest airport.
How to get to Torres del Paine by air?
You can get to Punta Arenas (IATA code PUQ), the nearest commercial airport to the gates of Torres del Paine, from Santiago de Chile. There are several daily flights that take 3.5 to 4 hours. The most frequent flights are offered by LATAM and Sky Airline.
If you come from Argentina, you will not be able to catch a direct flight to Punta Arenas. From Buenos Aires, it is best to fly to El Calafate and from here move on via bus to Puerto Natales. However, if you by any chance have to possibility to find your way to Torres del Paine via the Chilean way, then this is recommended. The border crossing between Argentina and Chile can suck up a lot of time and money.
You can also fly straight to Puerto Natales, but as the number flights are limited, this is not a very common way of travel.
How to get to Puerto Natales by bus?
The best way to get to Torres del Paine is by bus. In recent years bus transportation has come a long way and buses are comfortable. The views underway are a great warming-up for what you are about to see once you have arrived for your trekking.
Coming from Punta Arenas you can easily take a bus to Puerto Natales. Easy, because this is the route most people take on their way to Torres del Paine.
You can take either Bus-Sur or Buses Fernandez. Expect to pay an amount of 7.000 to 8.000 pesos (12 USD) for a one-way ticket.
Map with Bus Routes Torres del Paine
Approximate bus times:
Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales
8:00 9:00 11:00 13:00 14:30 16:00 17:00 18:30 19:15 20:00 21:00
Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas
7:00 7:15 9:00 11:00 13:00 14:30 17:00 18:30 19:15 20:00 21:00
Your trekking company assists you with the arrangements of your bus tickets. As availability always plays a role, it is recommended to take care of this well in advance of your travels.
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Bus from Argentina to Torres del Paine
You can also catch a bus from El Calafate. Depending on how easy it will be to cross the border, this journey can take up to 5 hours. As buses leave early in the morning, you will need to spend the night in El Calafate.
How to get to Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales?
Regardless of whether you have booked a guided or a self-guided O-Trek or W-Trek tour via Bookatrekking.com, it will include a transfer from Puerto Natales to the starting point of your trek. Hence, you do not need to organize any transport from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine.
If you have not booked a tour via Bookatrekking.com, you can explore the different options that Buses Fernandez and Bus Sur offer. Alternatively, you can organize a private transfer. This is, however, usually a costly matter. It is recommended to book a tour that has a transfer included.
Catamaran from Pudeto to Refugio Paine Grande
Most trekking itineraries, both guided and self-guided, for Torres del Paine include an exciting boat ride by a catamaran crossing Lake Pehoe. If it is included, the fare will be taken care of. If you have not booked a tour which includes transportation, expect to pay about 40 USD for a ticket. Mind that this needs to be paid in Chilean Pesos.
The crossing takes about 25 minutes and has by default the following departure times:
|From Pudeto||From Paine Grande |
|01-09 to 31-10||11:00|
|01-11 to 30-11||09:00|
|01-12 to 28-02||09:00|
|01-03 to 31-03||09:00|
|01-04 to 30-04||11:00|
|01-05 to 31-08||12:00||12:35|
Return to Puerto Natales after Catamaran Crossing
Presuming you are enjoying the catamaran at the end of your trek, you will need to calculate some time for your bus back to Puerto Natales. That is, if you have not booked your tour through a trekking company listed on Bookatrekking.com. In Pudeto you can catch a bus back to Puerto Natales. Regardless of what catamaran and the time you arrive in Pudeto, there will be a means of transport to help you back on your way to Puerto Natales. Buses Maria Jose is a good option for the traveler without a pre-booked itinerary.
If you have booked your W-Trek or O-Trek through Bookatrekking.com, you can rest assured that you have tickets for the bus from Pudeto to Puerto Natales.
Do you have any more questions about transportation in Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia? Do not hesitate to get in touch with us! Here you can have a look at our offers for Patagonia.
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