Our alternative Torres del Paine Hiking W Trek adds wilderness walks and boat rides to Chile’s iconic attraction.

The Paine W takes centre stage, including the highlights of Glacier Grey, the French Valley, and the base of the Towers.

Our guided Paine W hike covers 49 miles / 78km over seven glorious days, moving west to east, mixing campsites, hotels, and eco camp domes.

We eschew the bus into the park and glide into Bernardo O’Higgins National Park on a beautiful boat ride from Last Hope Sound. First, we stop at Serrano and Balmaceda glaciers. Next, we walk to our camp in the wilderness.

On our second day, we hike to a remote area and enter Torres del Paine National Park. On the third day, we start of our W trek and include all the highlights of Torres del Paine’s famous W trek.

Remember, you carry only a day pack on multi-trekking days as your guide shows you around this stunning part of Patagonia. Our alternative Torres del Paine Hiking W Trek covers all the bases.

Alternative Torres del Paine Hiking W Trek

We save the granite towers that give Torres del Paine National Park its name until the last. Our journey to reach these iconic mountains is one of South America’s finest.

The icy glacier giants of Serrano and Balmaceda set the perfect tone. We stretch our legs through a stunning southern beech, or Nothofagus forest, replete with diverse fauna and flora. Our wilderness Lake Brush campsite delivers unbelievable panoramic views of Torres del Paine and the Tyndall glacier.

Another half-day walk takes us to Hotel Lago Grey, a spot of luxury after the wilds. The next day, once more, we board a boat to sail us up close to the calving Grey Glacier, an unforgettable experience. A gentle half-day walk to our campsite follows; the Torres del Paine W trek has begun.


Starting the Torres del Paine W Trek

The Torres del Paine W trek’s name comes from its route up three valleys, creating its W shape and appellation. These are the iconic valleys and highlights which form that W hike:

  • The Grey Glacier and the walk alongside the iceberg-flecked Lago Grey.
  • Valle Francés, The French Valley, is the central spur.
  • The base of the Towers of Paine lies at the end of the Ascencio Valley.

We head east along the shores of Lago Nordenskjöld, then up into the Paine Massif’s heart, the French Valley. The views are superb; hopefully, we’ll get the weather for a picnic. Heading back down the Valley, we continue east and rest sleep at the Francés campsite.

Another day brings another marvel: the Horns of Paine, Los Cuernos, dramatic guardians of Torres del Paine National Park. Tonight, we’ll enjoy the comfort of the famous eco camp Patagonia and its domes.


Trek to the Base of the Towers

Fully rested, a full day’s hike to the Torres del Paine towers is today’s crowning challenge. For many, the view from the base of the Towers is the highlight of their Torres del Paine W trek.

It’s a full-day trek with some steep pulls. Your rewards are the mountain ridge views, beech forests, and rivers that line the walk. Furthermore, the last hour involves clambering over moraine, boulders whose release created the Towers. Finally, your efforts are rewarded with the towers and its glacial lake, a perfect lunch spot.

We retrace our steps to the eco camp to celebrate completing Patagonia’s iconic Torres del Paine Hiking W Trek. Our final day is a travel one; choose to return to Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas, or take a public bus over the border to El Calafate, Argentina.

Trip Highlights

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  • Visit two of Chile’s beautiful national parks: Bernardo O'Higgins & Torres del Paine.

  • Hike the Torres del Paine W trek plus the remote western zone.

  • Walk the French Valley, Los Cuernos, and to the base of the Towers of Paine.

  • Boat ride to the Balmaceda Glacier.

  • Sail Lago Grey to Glacier Grey.

  • Stay at an award-winning eco camp.

  • Enjoy wilderness camping next to Lago Brush.

  • Walk through amazing Nothofagus (southern beech) forests.

The Paine W trek was truly memorable in every possible way and the Ecocamp deserves special mention, what a wonderful place.

C. Burley, Paine W


Full Itinerary

Day 1 (Fri): Sail Last Hope Sound | Walk to Lake Brush (L,D)

There are two Chile national parks to visit today: Bernardo O’Higgins & Torres del Paine National Parks.

We’re up with the larks for a 0700 transfer from your Puerto Natales hotel to the town’s port.

Note: Passengers must spend the night before at a Puerto Natales hotel (not included). Travellers joining from El Calafate must take the public bus (ticket included) the day before the tour starts (Thursday) to be in place for the early morning transfer.

After boarding, we sail from Last Hope Sound through a scenic fjord to the impressive Serrano and Balmaceda glaciers. These icy giants of Patagonia offer a wonderful introduction to the region.

Next, it’s time for a leg stretch to prepare us for the Torres del Paine W trek. It’s an undulating walk through southern beech forests called Nothofagus forests. These enchanting woodlands abound with flora and fauna to keep us enthralled en route to Lago Brush.

The rustic campsite (no facilities) at Lago Brush brings you into close contact with the Patagonian spirit. Drink in the panoramic views of Tyndall Glacier and the Torres del Paine massif.

Camping at Lago Brush.

Approximate walking time:       4 hrs

Distance:                                       14 km / 9 miles

Meals included:                          Lunch, dinner.

Day 2: Hike to Villa Serrano and transfer to Hotel Lago Grey (B,L,D)

Perhaps you gazed at the stars, spotted horse riders, or found peace among the trees. However you spent your time at Lago Brush, we leave camp after breakfast to find our Patagonia trekking legs once more.

We walk about 8 miles/13km today, taking in the picturesque Lago del Jote and admiring the changing faces of the Río Serrano throughout. It takes around four or five hours to emerge from this stretch to Villa Serrano, a convenient pick-up point.

Here, a van awaits us and will whisk us along to the delightful Hotel Lago Grey for rooms and victuals for the night. Hotel Lago Grey lies at the confluence of Lago Grey and Río Serrano; once more, our accommodation serves up beautiful views.

We enjoy a night of comforts and recharging our energy before we set off on the Torres del Paine W trek in earnest.

Standard rooms with private bathrooms at Hotel Lago Grey.


Approximate walking time:       4-5 hrs

Distance:                                       13 km / 8 miles

Meals included:                           Breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner.

Day 3: Lago Grey Sailing & Hike to Paine Grande (B,L,D)

Following a relaxed breakfast, we must be ready to board the boat to Refugio Grey at 0900.

We’ll sail for around an hour in Lago Grey, always nearing the spectacular Glacier Grey. Radiantly blue icebergs bob around in the turquoise-grey waters of Lago Grey. Look up, and Paine Grande mountain and other snowy peaks line the horizon, wearing green skirts of native forests. With luck, calving glaciers may crash into the waters as we sail past.

We disembark at Refugio Grey and walk towards the Glacier Grey lookout point. After filling up on the views, we’ll turn on our heels and trek the rippling path alongside Lago Grey to Paine Grande Refugio, where we camp.

Note: Due to the temperamental weather of the region, boat trips across Lago Grey may occasionally be restricted or cancelled during the shoulder season of October and April. If so, we will offer you an alternative excursion within the park.

Dinner and camping at Refugio Paine Grande shared bathroom facilities.


Approximate walking time:       4 hrs

Distance:                                     11 km / 7 miles

Maximum Altitude:                  244 m / 800 ft

Meals included:                         Breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner.

Day 4: Lago Nordenskjöld and Valle Francés (French Valley) (B,L,D)

The Torres del Paine W trek gets serious today with a challenging, rewarding, and satisfying day among the park’s finest mountains. First up is the beautiful Lago Nordenskjöld, whose shores accompany us to the French Valley’s entrance.

We cross the hanging bridge that marks the start of a stiff pull into the heart of the Paine Massif. The trick is keeping your eyes on the ever-changing mountains flanking our ascent. The trees thin eventually, revealing the French Valley’s impressive geological formation.

The evocative names tell half the story of this breathtaking area. This is Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), and Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin). Many marvel at the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). We’ll enjoy a picnic in the Valley to gather our strength for the return from whence we came.

Upon seeing the hanging bridge again, we know our turn eastward approaches. Once more hugging Lago Nordenskjöld, our destination is an hour or two away; Los Cuernos (The Horns) or Francés (French Valley) campsite, where we will have dinner and spend the night. Los Cuernos is on the shore of the lake, while Francés offers views of the lake. Reservations are made in advance and depend on availability.

Los Cuernos or Francés campsite, shared bathroom facilities.


Approximate walking time:       10 hrs

Distance:                                     26 km / 16 miles

Maximum Altitude:                  686 m / 2,250 ft

Meals included:                         Breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner.

Day 5: Los Cuernos Trek to Eco camp Patagonia (B,L,D)

Our good friend Lago Nordenskjöld once more guides us through the wilds of Patagonia. Stop to admire the varied flora and fauna today, plus views of Los Cuernos, or the horns, that sit atop the grey granite of the Paine mountains.

These majestic black horn-like peaks are slate and look like crowns upon the granite beneath.

There’s plenty of Andean up and down on today’s hike. The reward is the famous eco camp Patagonia which awaits, nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park.

The eco camp has front-seat views of the majestic Torres del Paine. Summer months see sunsets around 11 pm, affording plenty of daylight to admire the surrounding Patagonian steppe of treeless grasslands, guanacos, and snow-peaked mountains on the horizon.

Accommodation at eco camp.


Approximate walking time:       4-5hrs

Distance:                                     12 km / 7.5 miles

Maximum Altitude:                  244 m / 800 ft

Meals included:                    Breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner.

Day 6: Trek to the Base of the Towers (B,L,D)

Our final objective is the most famous hike in Torres del Paine National Park. That’s the trek to the base of the Towers of Paine.

We leave the eco camp and turn into Asencio Valley. Today’s walk occurs among beech forests, rivers, and mountain ridges.

Ascent is steady most of the way until we reach the steep moraine that seems to protect the Towers. It may take an hour or so to pick our way through the boulders that lead to the cherished view of the three gigantic and iconic monoliths that gave the park its name.

The Towers rise majestically before us eventually, with its beautiful glacial lake visible below. Lunch? Why not, in this mountain paradise? We return down the same trail through the Ascencio Valley to the eco camp for a well-deserved dinner.

Dinner and accommodation at the eco camp.


Approximate walking time:        9 hrs

Distance:                                     22 km / 14 miles

Maximum Altitude:                   914 m / 3,000 ft

Meals included:                          Breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner.

Day 7: Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales / Punta Arenas / El Calafate (B,L)

It’s the end of our Torres del Paine Hiking W Trek. Board an early morning vehicle and head to one of four final destinations:

  • Punta Arenas Airport (fixed arrival time at 1.30 pm)
  • Punta Arenas (arriving 2 pm), Australis cruise at 3 pm.
  • Puerto Natales (arriving 1030am approx.), airport, hotel, Navimag, or Skorpios
  • El Calafate (Argentina): Private transfer (5.30 am approx.) to Cerro Castillo to catch the AM public bus to El Calafate, arriving at 3 pm approx. Bus and transfer included in tour price).


Meals included:                 Breakfast and packed lunch.

Prices From $1,446 / £1,226 per person

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What's Included?

All ground transport – private and domestic – as indicated in the itinerary, public bus tickets from El Calafate to Puerto Natales and/or Puerto Natales to El Calafate (if starting or finishing in El Calafate), one-way boat trip to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers, ground Transport from Villa Serrano to Hotel Lago Grey, one night camping on the shores of Brush Lake, one night at Hotel Lago Grey, Camping Paine Grande, Cuernos or Francés Campsite (depending on availability), and two nights at eco camp Patagonia, boat crossing on Lago Grey, one expert English-speaking trekking guide, sleeping bag and mat for refugios, transportation for your luggage within the Park: you will carry just your daypack while trekking, six breakfasts, seven lunches/box lunches, and six dinners, as indicated.

What's Not Included?

International and domestic flights, insurance, personal items, tips, personal items, alcoholic or soft drinks.


Mixture of eco camp and refugios/camping.


Lago Brush Campsite (night 1)

Brush Lake offers an authentic rustic camping experience in an idyllic setting, a quiet place away from the crowds. Lago Brush is a charming lake near Rio Serrano, just inside Torres del Paine National Park.

Moreover, there are no showers, flush toilets, or cooking facilities. Your support team will provide tonight’s meal and tomorrow’s breakfast.


Lago Grey Hotel (night 2)

The Lago Grey Hotel lies a few steps away from the majestic Lago Grey. Enjoy panoramic views from this privileged location. We use a standard room with a private bathroom, a TV, large windows, and access to Wi-Fi (not included, slow satellite connection). We take dinner and a buffet breakfast here.



Campsites at Paine Grande & Cuernos/Francés Refugios (nights 3 & 4)

Campsites at these locations are next to refugios; mountain lodge-type shared accommodation.

All tents, sleeping bags, and mats are included and already set up for your arrival.

We take meals in the refugios. The refugios are heated and have a very comfortable dining area where plentiful meals are served.

Facilities at campsites are shared with those staying at the refugios. There are shared bathrooms with toilets and hot showers, shampoo, soap, Wi-Fi, a shop/kiosk, a restaurant and a bar.


Eco camp

Eco camp Patagonia is located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, with a unique view of the majestic granite towers. The region’s first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon and the first of its kind in the Patagonian wilderness, Eco camp offers upscale camping in geodesic domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants.

Eco camp standard domes were the world’s first Geodesic Dome hotel room. At 3.6m/12ft in diameter and 2.4m/8ft in height, they allow two people to sleep and stand comfortably inside. 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 at the stars. Eco camp’s standard domes offer shared bathrooms, which aid our environmental initiative by collecting waste in a central heated composting chamber and allowing more control of water consumption and heating.

Superior Domes at the eco camp are 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. Guests can fall asleep looking up at the star-lit sky from their cozy bed and wonder at nature’s immensity as they hear the wind hurtling outside. Each Superior Dome has comfortable queen-size or twin beds, a propane heater and a private bathroom with a sophisticated composting toilet.

Suite Domes at Eco-Camp are comfortable Geodesic domes (28m2 / 300ft2)built in the same shape as the ancient Kaweskar tribe dwellings. Their structure produces minimal environmental impact while providing an efficient thermal and wind resistant unit, with great exposure to nature in the most magnificent Patagonian setting. Guests can gaze at the stars through the ceiling windows while falling asleep each night, after enjoying a spectacular sunset from their private terrace.

Each Suite Dome has comfortable double or twin beds, a private bathroom with a state of the art composting toilet and a modern low-emission wood stove. Electricity is very limited inside the domes, meaning hairdryers are not permitted, but laptops and cameras can be charged. Inside Suite Domes, open terrace to read, relax and admire the view.

Enclosed porch to hang wet clothing; Comfortable King-size or twin beds; Low-emission wood stove; Patagonian decoration; Propane heater in bathroom; Private fully-equipped bathroom; State of the art composting toilet.


Note: If eco camp / refugios are full, we offer camping.



The tents arranged for this program are typical mountain tents with enough room for 2 people overnight in comfortable conditions. We provide all the camping gear but you have to bring your own mat and sleeping bag (please ask us for mats and bags rental rates).

Our team will be responsible for setting up the tents in the camping site. There will also be a big and comfortable dining tent for enjoying dinners and breakfasts. Additionally, the camping sites along the trek will have mountain bathroom facilities in good condition.

Tour Staff

Guides are English-speaking trekking experts with many years’ experience of trekking in Paine.

The eco camp staff and porters are all locals.


We can cater for almost all dietary requirements – please enquire for more.

While trekking, you usually wake early, around 07.00. Your support team cooks for you under the Patagonia skies at the first camp, Lago Brush, on stoves; there are no facilities at this remote campsite. At refugios, meals are eaten in a communal dining hall or served to you in a dining tent, and will be a mix of hot drinks, cereals, fruits and toast with jams.

After breakfast, packs are prepared and your guide will explain the day’s walk, and you typically walk 3-4 hours in the morning before lunch, with a short or break or two en route.

Each trip will have its own menu depending on the local food and typical dishes prepared in the area and on many trips meals are enjoyed in restaurants providing a wide array of local cuisine.

A lot of effort has been put into developing a menu of fresh hearty meals using locally-sourced ingredients at the eco camp. In general, meals at mountain huts on trekking routes are simple but plentiful.

Activity Level

This Torres del Paine Hiking W Trek is for energetic people who like to be active, have a positive attitude and spirit of adventure. It is essential to be in shape before you arrive to enjoy this trek. 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.

Remember that the Patagonian weather can also play its part. Strong winds can make walking more challenging.

Children aged over 14 are welcome and considered adults. Children aged 10-13 can complete the trek (no discount applicable) if:

  • Their legal guardian sends a formal letter stating that the named child is prepared for this intense trek; and
  • Authorises us to hire a private guide in case the child cannot complete the trek or struggles at any point.

We cannot accept children under ten years old on this trek.


Luggage on the Alternative Paine W trek

On day 1, you carry clothing and personal belongings for days 1 and 2. The rest of your luggage is packed into a duffel bag or your suitcase and transported to Hotel Lago Grey.

On day 2, you arrive at Hotel Lago Grey and are reuntied with your main luggage.

On day 3, you carry clothing and personal belongings for the next three days (days 3-5). The rest of your luggage is packed into a duffel bag or your suitcase and transported to Eco-camp Patagonia.

On day 5, you arrive at Eco-camp Patagonia and are reunited with your main luggage.

Porters carry any communal kit required throughout the W trek. Tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping mats are all provided and set up at the camps when you arrive; there’s no need to carry them around the trek.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Patagonia

For most people, Patagonia evokes a vast, windblown plateau, jagged mountains and the life of the gauchos.

The steppe that occupies much of southern South America is only one aspect of a magical region, jam-packed with amazing and contrasting landscapes.

Patagonia (latitudes 40°-55°, approximately) embraces a vast portion of southern Chile and Argentina, from the Rio Colorado in the north, to Tierra del Fuego in the south.

For convenience, we have divided the region into three zones: the Lakes District of northern Patagonian, central Patagonia and southern Patagonia.

Geography of Patagonia

Southern Patagonia (latitudes 49° to 55°), encompassing the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina plus Tierra del Fuego, has an altogether more vertical aspect than the rest of Patagonia.

As the continent tapers towards its southern point, the Andes take on new characteristics and offer some truly impressive panoramas.

Much of southern Patagonia is characterized by virgin landscapes where man’s hand has either not been present or, because of the scale of the landscapes, goes almost unnoticed. To the west of the semi-arid Patagonian plateau, mile-high granite spires – e.g. Cerro Torre and Fitzroy in Argentina and the Torres and Cuernos del Paine in Chile – rise abruptly from the Andean foothills, while vast blue glaciers, fringed by southern beech forest, gouge out thevalleys below.

At the heart of these magnificent landscapes lies the South Patagonian Ice Field, an utterly remote icy wilderness spanning hundreds of kilometers, whose glaciers – including the Perito Moreno and Upsala – are tens of kilometres long by severalkilometers wide.

Also characteristic of the southern Patagonian Andes are its turquoise, iceberg-filled lakes. To the west lies the southern portion of the Chilean Archipelago, comprising snow-capped islands and fjords.

Across the Magellan Straits from mainland Patagonia lies Tierra del Fuego which, like the rest of Patagonia, is divided between Argentina and Chile.

The north and east of Tierra del Fuego is flat, but flanking the Beagle Channel in the south, the tail end of the Andes provide very dramatic mountain scenery.


The Lake District (latitudes 40° to 45°) or the Araucania, is a region of dramatic conical volcanoes, evergreen, high-canopy forests and, of course, lakes.

It straddles the Chile-Argentine border, and also takes in Chiloe island, in the extreme north of the Chilean Archipelago. This region stretches from Temuco in the north to Chiloe in the south.


Central Patagonia (latitudes 45 to 49) is one of South America’s best-kept secrets. The vast wilderness area can be divided in two:

  • The dry band of Andean foothills and wind-blown plateau lying on the Argentine side of the Andes. This remote area is traversed north to south by a gravel highway known as the Ruta Cuarenta (Highway 40).
  • The Chilean portion to the west of the Andean watershed, often referred to as the Careterra Austral (after the little-used gravel highway that crosses it from north to south).

This huge region, embracing the sparsely-inhabited southern Araucaria and Aisén Region, features temperate rainforests, snow-peaks (often extinct volcanoes), lakes and, to the west, the Chilean Archipelago: a labyrinth of fjords and mountain-islands. This, the Chilean portion of central Patagonia, boasts the northernmost of Patagonia’s many giant, sea-level glaciers.

The San Raphael Glacier, probably this region’s most famous landmark, is an immense hanging glacier whose seracs calve into an iceberg-filled lagoon.


Find out more about Patagonia with our blog about its wildlife.

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

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When planning for the varied climatic conditions encountered in Paine, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.  It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.

To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers. Layers should have the following qualities:


  1. Breathability (able to wick away the humidity produced by sweat):
  2. Isolation (able to keep in the warm air our body produces); and
  3. Impermeability (able to impede the passing of wind and water).


First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.

Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.

Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

We also carry an extensive first aid kit on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only.


Trek with a small backpack only

Your main suitcase/large rucksack stays at the Eco camp (which is near Torres Refugio) and where you arrive on Day 1.

Through the trip, you carry a daypack (about 30 litres) for camera, coat, lunch, water, etc, on a daily basis.

You will given a small duffel bag at the first eco-camp, within which you put clean clothes, books etc. Porters carry this duffel for you, so that it is awaiting for you on arrival at each refugio.

Below is a more detailed kit list.


Detailed kit list

  • 2 pairs synthetic inner socks (e.g. polypropylene, thermastat, coolmax) and 2 pairs thick loop-stitch/wool socks for cold.
  • Trekking boots – should be well broken-in, waterproof and provide good ankle support.
  • Trainers/sandals for city-wear, evenings at lower camps & river crossings.
  • Base layer leggings (1 pair).
  • Thick fleece leggings (or salopettes) (1 pair).
  • Goretex-type over-trousers (or salopettes) (1 pair).
  • Trekking trousers (2 pairs).
  • Shorts – wear sparingly in early stages at altitude, as sun burns.
  • Thermal base layer shirts (2).
  • Microfleece mid-layer shirt (1).
  • Shirt/t-shirt 1 or 2 for lower altitudes. Long-sleeved, collared shirt protects against sun
  • Fleece jacket or similar (1).
  • Warm jacket (down or synthetic). For camp and upper slopes.
  • Waterproof Goretex-type jacket.
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Warm hat, fleece or wool. (N.B. Up to 30% of body heat can be lost through the head).
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Light inner gloves
  • Warm gloves, e.g. fleece, and outer waterproof gloves or mittens (1 pair)
  • Mittens allow you to keep the fingers together, and better conserve heat (though they also make it difficult to perform certain tasks).
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Large rucksack or suitcase.
  • Pair of telescopic trekking poles.
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Toilet paper (1)
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other to help pass the time,
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

All non-personal trekking camping gear e.g. tents, cutlery etc is provided.


Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life.

Vaccinations for Patagonia

We strongly suggest that everyone planning to travel to Patagonia visits their local doctor/travel clinic prior to departure for the latest vaccination information.


Recommended vaccinations

  • Up-to-date diphtheria and polio.
  • Tetanus or tetanus booster. (These three are effective for ten years.)
  • ‘Havrix’ for Hepatitis A. The course of two injections protects you for ten years. Gamma globulin is cheaper butless effective.
  • Typhoid vaccine is recommended by some doctors although it will not provide total protection and being careful about what you eat and drink is your best defence. It is given in two shots, four weeks apart and lasts for three years. Unless at exceptional risk, people over the age of 35 who have received four or more courses of typhoid immunisation need no more.
  • A pre-exposure rabies vaccination is worth considering if you are going to be in contact with animals or morethan 24 hours away from a reliable source of vaccine. Hikers are at some risk from rural dogs, certain of which carry rabies, and those visiting coastal or rainforest areas could be exposed to rabid bats.
  • Malaria is not a risk in Patagonia.

Quick facts about Patagonia


Official name: Republic of Chile

Country population: 17,000,000

Capital city: Santiago (6 million)

Largest cities: Santiago, Concepcion, Valparaiso

Languages: Spanish (official)

Official currency: Chilean Peso

Major industries: Copper mining, agriculture, fish

Time zone: GMT-5 in winter (Mar-Sep) and GMT-4 in summer (Sep-Mar)



Official name: Argentine Republic Country

Population: 40,000,000

Capital city: Buenos Aires (11 million)

Largest cities: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario

Languages: Spanish (official)

Official currency: Argentine Peso

Major industries: Agriculture (Soy), motor vehicles, chemicals

Argentina: GMT-3

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.


What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.


Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.


I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

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