Patagonia Big Circuit Torres del Paine

Trip:                 Big Circuit in Torres del Paine National Park
Altitude:           2850m / 9350ft
Route:             Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine National Park
Date:               Sept 2011 - April 2012
Duration:          11 Days - 10 Nights
Grade:             Moderate
Price:               From €1850pps


Trekking is an excellent way to discover the natural beauties of Patagonia from up close. Explore breathtaking mountains, turquoise-colored lakes and thousand year old glaciers that descend from the Patagonian ice fields into evergreen temperate rainforests; smell the scent of wild flowers, hear the thunder of a distant avalanche and feel the howling Patagonian wind. Guaranteed Departures - Don't jeopardize you holidays! Sign up now!


Overview


Trek the full Torres del Paine Circuit! The Circuit includes the 'W' the trail along the southern slopes of the Paine Massif, and adds the more remote northern part of Torres del Paine. Join us on this self-sustained trekking and camping tour -true trekker style- to explore the most spectacular landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park: windswept pampas, breathtaking mountains, beautiful lakes and massive glaciers that descend into evergreen temperate rainforests.

Without doubt, this trekking tour offers you the best you can get in your adventure to Patagonia! On this trekking tour, our small groups are limited to 8 trekking members maximum, making for a personalized experience so  join us for an unforgettable adventure at the End of the World!

Dates


Weekly Departure Dates in March and April 2011

Weekly Departure Dates Sept 2011 thru to April 2012

Itinerary


Day 1: Punta Arenas - Penguin Colony - Puerto Natales
Arrive in Punta Arenas and meet your local guide. Later, visit the penguin colony at Seno Otway, where during the Patagonian summer months thousands of Magellanic penguins hatch and bring up their offspring. In the afternoon, transfer by public bus to the picturesque town of Puerto Natales. This evening, we meet for a final gear check and last preparations for Torres del Paine. The travel time including the penguin colony is about 6 hours. Note All participants must arrive in Punta Arenas before noon
Day 2: Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine National Park
After a good breakfast, we transfer to Torres del Paine National Park. We begin our adventure at the southern end of the Park, near the park ranger's administration center. Hiking in from the administration center and adding this first leg to the Circuit actually makes for a "Q" rather then an "O". This part of the trek is as impressive as it can possibly get, in terms of an "introduction" to the Park: the whole Paine massif stretches in front of you like a dream as you are trekking towards it. The first night, we camp at a place known to the locals as Las Carretas. It's only two hours down the trail from the administration center, but makes for a great first camp - away from the crowds, getting some quiet and peace. Welcome to Torres del Paine! [B, L, D]
Day 3: Las Carretas - Italiano Camp
Today, we push on another five hours to Campamento Italiano. Italiano is a magnificent camp area and sits at the mouth of the spectacular Valle Francés, the French Valley. We camp next to a beautiful river, protected nicely by a forest of old Lenga trees. We have some free time on this day, so weather permitting, we head up into the valley for a sneak-peek [B, L, D]
Day 4: Italiano Camp - French Valley and Glacier - Los Cuernos
This morning, we leave everything behind and we only pack up our backpacks with some food, rain gear, camera, and just a few basics, and head up into Valle Francés light. It’s a steep hike, so going light is nice. The valley offers natural lookouts; ice falls, avalanches, amazing mountain formations... impressive! A true highlight of Torres del Paine National Park. And after a day exploring Valle Francés, we head down again and pack up our camp and progress another two hours to Los Cuernos Camp. A great camp site, located directly under the Cuernos and a stones throw from the beach. We retire to our tents that night for a well deserved night's sleep [B, L, D]
Day 5: Los Cuernos - Las Torres Base Camp
Today, after a big breakfast we take on our longest day yet. Our trek takes us around the base of Mount Almirante Nieto (8,753ft/ 2,668m), up into Asencio Valley, to our camp at Campamento Las Torres. This is a long day and we take many breaks for view points and photo stops. Here again, we make camp in a thick Lenga forest which protects us from the harsh Patagonian winds [B, L, D]
Day 6: Las Torres Base Camp - Torres del Paine lookout - Las Torres Campground
On this morning, we get up and ready before dawn. This is our big chance to see the three famous Paine Towers (9,350ft/ 2,850m) get hit by the first morning rays of sun, which can turn the towers bright red. We again leave our camp behind and only bring our packs loaded with our warm layers. We head up the steep trail for 1 hour to the Torres del Paine lookout "Base Las Torres", and some of the most amazing photos ever. We get warm, have some hot drinks at the base of the Towers and do this morning right! We pack up and head downhill to our next campsite next to Refugio Las Torres. It's been a long day. By now, you have already trekked The "W". We close the book on the first half of our trek, and take a long afternoon to repack, reassess and we call it a day [B, L, D]
Day 7: Las Torres campground - Dickson
Today, we start the back side of The Circuit, early and refreshed. And it’s a good thing, because we have an 8-10 hour trek to Dickson Camp before us. It seems like a real distance, but the terrain is milder then The "W" and you cover a lot of ground fast. This is a much different experience than The "W". We camp at Camping Dickson, at a beautiful spot right next to Lake Dickson [B, L, D]
Day 8: Dickson - Los Perros Camp
We progress easily to Los Perros Camp, in only about 4 hours. We are not in a hurry today, so we can enjoy a late sleep or an early morning hike. But our next camp, Los Perros, is a remote campsite, and although it seems like a short day, we only have enough time to make it to this next camp today. At Perros we call it camp for the day [B, L, D]
Day 9: Los Perros Camp - John Gardner Pass - Los Guardas Camp
This is the day of the famous John Gardner Pass. The biggest challenge about the Paso John Gardner is the wind. The terrain is manageable, and the view from the top of the pass is breathtaking. The view below of Grey Glacier (and the Patagonian Ice Field on a clear day) is one of the most amazing moments you’ll experience in Patagonia, hands down. We push on and make camp at Los Guardas Camp [B, L, D]
Day 10: Los Guardas Camp - Pehoé Lake - Puerto Natales
After a good breakfast we trek five hours to Paine Grande Lodge, right on the edge of the turquoise-colored Lago Pehoé. We cross Lago Pehoé by catamaran and head back to Puerto Natales. Congratulations, you did the Torres del Paine Circuit - and better yet: The "Q" [B, L]
Day 11: Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas - Farewell Patagonia
Take the public bus from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas (about 3h). You can also be dropped off directly at the airport according to your flight schedule to fly to Santiago de Chile and connect with your homeward-bound flight. Otherwise, simply enjoy this day in Patagonia at your leisure. [B]
Note If you want to fly out this same day, your flight must leave after 11:00 a.m.
Included Meals B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner

Prices


1 to 4 trip members: €2050 per person
5 to 8 trip members: €1850 per person

Prices are based on Double Occupancy in Puerto Natales and in Torres del Paine.

Single occupancy is available for €120 per person. In case you book single accommodation. Please keep in mind that this also means that you will carry a complete tent rather then "half", sharing the other half with one of your trekking companions

Trip members Minimum 1, maximum 8 persons

Tour Includes
* Transportation and Excursions according to the program*
* 2 Night in guest house in Puerto Natales (single and double rooms, private bathrooms)
* 8 nights camping in Torres del Paine (some without facilities)
* Meals specified in the program - Not included: additional alcoholic and/ or non-alcoholic beverages, which you can buy at some of the campgrounds
* We provide all necessary cooking and camping gear (except sleeping bags)
* Entrance fees to Torres del Paine National Park and the penguin colony
* Local, bilingual trekking guide (Spanish and English speaking)
* The penguin colony at Seno Otway is open from October 15, 2010 through March 31, 2011. Outside these dates, unfortunately, we can't visit the penguins
Excludes:
* Travel arrangements/ airfare to/ from Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile
* Sleeping bag (You must have a sleeping bag for the nights in Torres del Paine. If you prefer not to bring your own, you may rent one at a reasonable price.  Please let us know in advance to arrange this for you.)
* Additional Beverages, which you can buy at some of the campgrounds
* Optional tips to your trekking guide and/ or other people working for you

Grade


You will be active for between six to eight hours per day. You will cover steeper and more rugged terrain carrying your big backpack, including tent, sleeping bag, stove, cooking utensils and food. You need to be in excellent health and excellent physical condition to enjoy this trip. Camping is the preferred option on these trekking tours. The trails are well established and campgrounds may offer extra services, such as a little shop and/ or hot showers.

Gear



General wear on Trek: Cotton pants, T-shirts & Light Thermals

One pair of trekking boots for trek
Four pair of warm trekking stockings (Thorlo or similar)
Adjustable ski poles: these take a lot of pressure off the body and makes walking less tiring. Some use two spring loaded ones as it takes 36 ton of pressure off you knees per day as well as allowing you to have a crutch to lean on when you are tired.
Thermal under-wear heavy gauge: 2 Tops and 2 bottoms (Dryflo etc)
Fleece or Pile Jacket. Windproof is good
Wind and Waterproofs (Gortex or similar): Top jacket and bottoms
Sleeping bag range to - 15/20 degrees make sure it packs small
Thermarest (Can be supplied locally)
1 Water bottles with wide neck and one with narrow neck (Nalgene or similar) or one Platypus container, the platypus is ideal for trekking as you can stay hydrated by drinking from a tube as you walk
Gloves: 1pair of thermal and 1 pair over gloves or mitts, no harm in bringing spare sets
Headtorch, Petzl with spare batteries and bulbs. I cannot stress the importance of this to have in good working order (New LED versions are also lighter and smaller)
Peak hat for the lower regions to protect your head from the sun (Bandana or Neck Gaiter also)
70-100 liters rucksack or strong gear bag to carry your Gear
Optional for night up high for cold, a light down top or extra fleece
Personal first aid and medicine kit (All our guides will have these for emergencies only)
UV sunglasses – Cat. 3 or Cat. 4 recommeded if there is a lot of time in or near snow
2 x Earplugs pairs – If you have an inside pocket in sleeping bag, leave one there fulltime

Miscellaneous items:
Sun-block (very important and use it!!)
Backpacking towel and general toiletries
Insect repellent
Extra Clothes for travelling and/or socialising