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Hiking in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Vineetha Rao Suravajjala
Remote and untouched, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile's Patagonia, in recent times, has been numbered among the top spots around the world for hikers and adventure-seekers.

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From one day treks to multiple-day hikes, the Torres del Paine boasts of a number of popular and pleasant hikes, even for complete amateurs. The two popular hikes here are: the "W" trek and the "O" Circuit.

The "W" Trek

A great first-time hiking experience in Patagonia, the "W" trek is generally considered a moderate level trek, covering a total distance of 100 kms.
Offering gorgeous views the best of what nature has to offer, the "W" trek starts and ends at different spots, and one can go from either end to the other. The more popular is the walk starting at Paine Grande though.
Independent Tours: With well-marked trails, great facilities and being cheaper than guided tours, the only damper in your independent tour might be your heavy backpack.
Guided Tours: These have become popular as they offer the convenience of the tour company making the arrangements and walking without the heavy camping gear!

Pro Tip

Make sure you book a campsite in advance and carry a printed confirmation, even as you go camping.

The "O" Circuit

A 120 km circular trek; generally takes 6-8 days, is a longer and slightly harder trek than the "W" trek.
It is generally considered a “real hiking adventure”, to explore the more remote areas of the Torres del Paine National Park.
Independent Trek: A cheaper, yet more adventurous option of the two, independent treks are well marked and quite populated during the tourist season!
Guided Tours: An easier experience, with less luggage and stress, guided tours are getting more and more popular in recent years. However, the downside is, the adventure gets diluted in the process.

Pro Tip

Since this is a multiple day trip, don’t forget to purchase a travel insurance!
So, what are you waiting for? Pack that backpack right now!