About Torres del Paine
Located in the famous Patagonia region, Torres del Paine National Park is internationally renowned as being one of the most beautifully unspoiled and remote places on earth. With spectacular glaciers, cascades, mirrored lakes, rivers, sharp peaks, and the famous Patagonia ice field, Torres del Paine draws travelers from all over the world wanting to discover the natural beauty and adventure this park has to offer. Whether it is mountaineering, backpacking, kayaking, or ecology, one can find it here in Torres del Paine.
While it is certainly the Torres del Paine National Park that is the main attraction for this region, the tiny town of Puerto Natales, besides being a mandatory port of entry into Torres, is also something to discover. Founded in 1911 as a residential center and export port for local sheep ranches, it is now the capital of the Ultima Esperanza Sound province.
Wool is no longer the staple of the economy since UNESCO declared Torres del Paines a biosphere reserve in 1978, the move essentially replacing wool with tourism.
The town has a small center and many rows of weathered houses, all of whom enjoy views of glacier-topped mountains and a grassy peninsula from the picturesque location. Glacier Grey is perhaps the most awe-inspiring of the glaciers in the park.
Easily accessible, this monster marks the southern extreme of the Patagonia ice field.
As it constantly melts, feeding the Lago Grey, one is treated to the awesome spectacle of crashing ice and the brilliant blues and greens of the falling icebergs. Depending on the amount of icebergs afloat in the Lago Grey, boat tours are available to see this awesome iceberg up close. The glacier can also be reached by a short hour and a half hike.
Other glaciers one should be sure not to miss are Serrano and Balmaceda. Arrangements for a boat trip can be made starting in Puerto Natales. These trips pass through areas rife with sea lions and bird species such as the cormorant on the way to see these spectacular glaciers up close. Other sites worthy of a visit are Nordenskjold Lake, Pehoe Lake, and the Salto Grande waterfall.
For the adventurer seeking to experience the beauty of Torres on foot, there are trails throughout the park, most of which are safe and easy, made for the intermediate trekker. Torres is well kept for camping, as one can choose to camp out under the stars or in one of the "refugios", small hostel-like cabins that provide full board and have a few dorms. More extreme activities include climbing, kayaking, rafting, and glacier crossing.
Although Torres del Paine is best visited during the summer months (November through March), autumn is also incredibly beautiful, with crisp weather and the changing colors of the leaves. Winter can also be a very peacefully beautiful time to visit, as there are usually few tourists and the weather is actually more stable than in the summer months. During the summer be sure to bring wind and rain gear, as the weather tends to change quickly and unpredictably.
This is part of the Patagonia that is in the territory of the country of Chile.
A large portion of this text was written by Traveler - Writer Craig Milroy.