The Torres del Paine was the HIGHLIGHT of our visit of the Chilean Patagonia! We were looking forward to it and we were absolutely not disappointed.
We first thought of doing the “circuit”, also known as “O” or “O circuit”, which would have been an 8-day trek around the entire Paine Mountain range. It would have meant 100 km and if the weather was particularly bad (a lot of rain, very strong winds, cold and even snow) it could have been really tough. So, after some thinking, we finally decided to do the “W” trek which covers half of the park and half of the distance on only 5 days.
For the night before the trek, we booked a comfortable room in a beautiful hotel located directly in the park with a promising view of the Paine range… We only saw clouds… My anxiety was growing as the weather was getting windier and rainier… in what was I getting myself into?!!!
Finally the day of the departure arrived and I just had to follow the organisation as it was planned trying not to listen to my anxiety.
We took a taxi to the hotel Grey from where a boat will transport us to the Refugio Grey we had booked for the night. The wind was so strong that this 1:30 hour cruise was not to make me confident in the fact that all this will be pleasure and relaxation!!
From the hotel Grey, we started with a short hike to reach the boat departure point which was situated on a pebble beach on the Lago Grey opposite to the glacier of the same name. The view was really beautiful and despite the strong winds and the clouds we could enjoy observing the imposing glacier located on the other end of the lake.
Hop! Seated in the boat, we started sailing towards the glacier and even though we had to brave imposant waves the cruise ending up being very pleasant and the scenery astonishing! We crossed the lake in its entire length and approached the western part of the glacier. We came so close that we could realize how imposant it was! The glacier is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. It is 28 km long and when it reaches the lake, it is 6 km wide and more than 30 meters high.
We passed near many icebergs detached from the glacier. Their blue color was beautiful. We even had the chance to see a large piece of ice come off and fall into the blue lake.
At the level of the water, the glacier splits into 3 parts. We approached each one before sailing back to another beach from where we walked to the Refugio Grey. After 10 min, we entered this absolutely amazing Refugio! It looked more like a trendy hotel than a refuge lost in the mountains in the far end of Patagonia! There was a bar where people were sipping wine and drinking beers in a jovial and musical atmosphere. The restaurant was all decorated for Christmas. We had booked 2 bunk beds, which I imagined crammed into a noisy 8 or 10-bed room, but the rooms contained only 4 beds made of good quality wood with white and soft bed linens. There were even warm showers! Ok, not the best ones ever, but in New Zealand we had only very cold running water to brush our teeth and that was all!
We had booked the full board option, so we had the pleasure of enjoying a 3-course hearty meal before resting, reading in a comfortable sofa with a breathtaking views of the mountains.
Our adventure had begun and it was absolutely amazing!