Trekking Torres del Paine 5D Tour – Ecocamp

EcoCamp Patagonia is located in the heart of Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. The region’s first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon and the first of its kind in the Patagonian wilderness, EcoCamp offers upscale camping in geodesic domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants. Enjoy trekking through scenic landscapes by day, past rivers, mountains and Patagonian wildlife, and relax in EcoCamp‘s domes at night with delicious food and wine.

• Trek Valle Frances
• Catamaran cross Lake Pehoe
• Sail to Grey Glacier
• Enjoy EcoCamp Patagonia
• Conquer Paine Towers
• Terrific Views of Los Cuernos
• Visit Milodon Cave
• Beautiful Flora and fauna
• Start at Calafate, Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales

EcoCamp inside Torres del Paine National Park is the most sustainable way to visit this world famous destination. They use 100% renewable energy and electricity is very limited. Services are full board, with amazing views of the famous towers and you’ll be able to conquer Paine Towers, cross Lake Pehoe on a Catamaran, sail on Grey Glacier and trek on French Valley. If you need help buying local flights, let us know.

The tour departs every Sunday on regular dates, from October to April – Contact us for a private departure with friends or family.

Starting / Finishing Points

The trip starts on Sunday’s morning in Punta Arenas. Pick up times are between 10:15 and 15:30 hrs at the airport. The trip finishes on Thursday at Punta Arenas Airport at 15:00 hrs or later depending on the group flight schedule. For domestic flights you have to be at the airport 1 hour before the flight leaves. You can also either start or finish in El Calafate city, Argentina, regular tickets included, check last section.

Day 01

Sunday, heading to Torres Del Paine National Park and sustainable EcoCamp

Punta Arenas – Torres del Paine NP, Chile
The trip begins with you being picked up from your hotel in Punta Arenas or Punta Arenas airport in the morning and driven to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. En route we make a couple of stops – First in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of “Seno de Ultima Esperanza”, where we enjoy a hearty local lunch, and second at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890’s. The whole journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes to be seen.

The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of the park with a view of the Torres. During summer the sun sets around 11pm, so upon arrival there’s plenty of light to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.

– Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales: 254 km / 158 miles / 3 hrs driving.
– From Natales to Torres Del Paine C. Torres: 147 km / 91 miles / 2.5 hrs driving.
/ Lunch / Dinner /

Day 02

Monday, Stepping into the Paine Massif’s Heart: Valle Frances

Torres Del Paine NP, Chile
After breakfast, we start our day driving towards Pudeto dock, located by the shores of Pehoe Lake. Once there we board the catamaran that takes us to the northern west sector of the Lake from where we’ll start the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How deep we go depends on our groups’ rhythm. An active walk leads us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif. From this point there is a truly wonderful view. Then we continue up the trail until reaching the upper section of the valley. The entire group of geological formations of the high valley can be admired here: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). It’s time to have a picnic and recover from the walk. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is available as well. Next, we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest until reaching the Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. Here we organize our luggage and enjoy a replenishing dinner.

Lodging at Paine >Grande – These are typical mountain huts, open to the public visiting Torres del Paine. They have rooms for 4-6 people and shared bathrooms.

*The excursion to French Valley varies throughout the season depending on the catamaran connecting Pudeto and Refugio Pehoe: From October 1st to November 15th and from March 16th through April the navigation operates only once a day, therefore the hike will be limited and only reach Italian campsite. (From November 16th to March 15th the excursion operates on a regular basis)

Lake Pehoe Navigation: 30 min
French Valley Trail – Approximate walking time: 8 hrs.
Distance: 25 km / 15 miles
/ Breakfast / Box Lunch / Dinner /

Day 03

Tuesday, Torres Del Paine’s Big Daddy is on the Way: Glacier Grey!

Torres Del Paine NP, Chile
Today we hike from Paine Grande Refugio along the shores of Lake Pehoe to the northern end of glacial Lake Grey. We enjoy a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails to the blue face of Glacier Grey. There’s lots of time to marvel at this calving glacier during the boat ride across this lake, with its floating pieces of ice. From Lake Grey’s southern end we transfer to EcoCamp.

Occasionally the weather may not permit us to sail across the lake, or during Shoulder Season (October and April) the sailing might be cancelled if the required minimum of 10 passengers isn’t reached. In this case we will get up early and trek about two hours along the Grey trail until reaching a sightseeing point offering a spectacular view of the Glacier. Then we return to Paine Grande and take a catamaran to Pudeto’s dock, from where we’re driven back to EcoCamp.

Grey Trail – Approximate walking time 4 hours
Distance: 14 km / 9 miles
Altitude: low altitude trails, no need to worry
Navigation time: 40 minutes
/ Breakfast / Box Lunch / Dinner /

Day 04

Wednesday, the Great Challenge: The Mighty Torres Del Paine

Torres del Paine NP, Chile
Time for a big breakfast and lots of enthusiasm – Our goal today is to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine NP! We walk from the camp site towards Hostería Las Torres and join the uphill path to Ascencio Valley on the Tower’s eastern face. Dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes as we climb the steep moraine, a mass of boulders leading us towards one of the world’s most famous views overlooking the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consists of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill slog, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp.

*During Shoulder Season (October and April) the Towers Trek excursion might be cancelled because of weather conditions and safety considerations.

The Tower’s Trail – Approximate walking time: 9 to 10 hrs round trip.
Distance: 21 km /13 miles round trip.
Altitude: low altitude trails, no need to worry.
/ Breakfast / Box Lunch / Dinner /

Day 05

Thursday, Adios Torres Del Paine!

Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile

We board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight.

/ Breakfast / Box Lunch /

Trekking Torres del Paine

• All ground transport as indicated in the itinerary.
• One expert English/Spanish speaking trekking guide.
• Cueva Del Milodon and Torres del Paine NP park fees.
• 3 nights accommodation at EcoCamp standard domes (shared basis)
• 1 night accommodation at Refugio Paine Grande* (shared basis).
• Boat crossing over Lake Pehoe** and Lake Grey**.
• Sleeping bag for the mountain refuges if needed.
• Luggage transport: while trekking you will carry just your daypack.
• Regular bus tickets Calafate – Natales if starting / finishing in Calafate
• B: breakfast, BL: box lunch, L: lunch, D: dinner.

* Either in refugio or refugio’s camping area
** Lake Pehoe – The excursion to French Valley varies throughout the season depending on the catamaran connecting Pudeto and Refugio Pehoe:
From October 1st to November 15th and from March 16th through April the navigation operates only once a day, therefore the hike will be limited and only reach Italian campsite. (From November 16th to March 15th the excursion operates on a regular basis)
*** During Shoulder Season (October and April) the boat trip to Glacier Grey may be cancelled as the boat requires a minimum of 8 passengers to sail, which might not be reached in some cases. If this is the case we will plan an alternative excursion in the Park.
Note: During Shoulder Season (September, October and April) the Towers Trek excursion might be cancelled because of weather conditions and safety considerations.

– Flight tickets (we can help you buy local flights if needed)
– Insurance (it is mandatory you purchase appropriate insurance for this trip).
– Voluntary tipping to guides and staff.
– Soft drinks or snacks not served with the meals included at the EcoCamp or refuges. Bringing US$ in cash for buying extra drinks/snacks or souvenirs in Torres Del Paine NP is suggested.
– Items of personal nature.

All Sundays from October to mid April.

Group Size & Guiding Staff
9 travelers is the most typical group size, plus guiding staff. Maximum 12 clients.
Guide to passenger ratio: 1:6

In Torres del Paine and throughout Patagonia transport is in minivans that normally seat from 8 to 14 people. Pick up / Drop off times shown in the Weekly Transfer Board are approximate and will be confirmed locally by our operations team. An exclusive toll-free emergency number will be available for anyone needing additional support while they are in Chile.

The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. In addition, the strong marine influence and the affect of the Southern Patagonia Ice field make the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rain and even snow. Even in summer (December to March) you should come prepared to find strong cold winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfall. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºCmax, 2ºC min). However, just as quickly as the weather turns nasty, it can become lovely and sunny. So come prepared for all types of weather!

Physical Demands
This is the right trip for energetic people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. To enjoy this trek it is essential to be in shape before you arrive. It is not wise to regard this trek as a means of getting into shape or losing excess weight.
Start a program of conditioning well before departure.

• Youngsters who are 14 years of age or older are welcome and are considered adults.
• Children between 12 and 13 might be accepted in this program if their legal guardian sends a formal letter stating that the child is prepared for such an intense trekking trip and authorizes us to hire a private guide in case the child cannot perform well during the trek.
• Children under 12 years of age cannot participate in this trip.
• This trip doesn’t offer a special discount for children.
What you need to bring
Passengers need to be prepared for summer and winter all at once. Essential equipment includes a one day backpack (30 liters – to carry camera, glasses, rain coat, etc), trekking or hiking boots, extra shoes for evenings or in case others get wet, waterproof jacket, two pairs of woolen socks, fleece jacket or sweater, shorts or comfortable loose pants, sun protection (glasses, hat, lip balm and screen) and optional capilene underwear for the upper and lower body.
US$ in cash for buying extra drinks/snacks or souvenirs in Torres del Paine NP.

Itinerary Modifications
The weather in Patagonia can be difficult to deal with at times. We reserve the right to change the order of the days in any itinerary at the discretion of the trip guide and based on operational considerations. The trip guide can modify, change or eliminate part of the itinerary based on safety/weather considerations.

Located in the heart of Torres del Paine, the EcoCamp consists of tented igloo-type domes built to minimize the environmental impact while providing a comfortable setting and maximum exposure to nature. There is electricity available for charging just camera batteries (voltage: 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, two round pins plug). Food at the EcoCamp has the same quality as the one you will have on a family dinner at your home, this means it is plenty and delicious!

Standard Domes at EcoCamp (Shared bathroom, 10m²/108ft²)
EcoCamp Standard domes were the world’s first geodesic dome hotel room. They are resistant to the strongest Patagonian winds, rains, and snow and come equipped with two single beds (doubles on request), very cozy fleece blankets, feather quilts and organic elements for decoration. There are round windows in the ceiling to look up at the stars. Standard domes have shared bathrooms which are large, comfortable and gender divided.

Superior Domes at EcoCamp (Upgrade) (Heating & Private bathroom, 23m²/250ft²)
Spacious, comfortable and equipped with private bathrooms, Superior Domes are the optimum choice for trekkers wanting that bit more space and comfort at the end of a long day’s walk. Each Superior Dome has comfortable queen-size or twin beds, a propane heater, skylight windows and a private bathroom with a sophisticated composting toilet.

These are typical mountain huts, open to the public visiting Torres del Paine. They have rooms for 4-6 people. The beds are single bunks and we will provide you with a sleeping bag and a polar fleece liner (you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag!). The bathrooms are also shared and they have hot water. The refugios are heated and have a very comfortable dining area where plentiful meals are served. If refugios are unavailable, alternative accommodation will be provided in tents with prior notice.