If you’re planning a trip to Torres del Paine, you’ll most likely be needing somewhere to rest your head at night. There are several options, based on what you’re carrying with you and how much cash you’re willing to drop.
For the real outdoorsy hiker types, you'll probably be carrying your own tent and gear. This will prove to be a huge advantage, as you can camp much closer to some of the best sights.
If you bring your own camping gear, you’ll have two options for where to set up camp. The first option is at a refugio-run campground, where you will find showers and bathrooms, and have the option of purchasing meals. Of course, if you choose to stay at one of these places, you have to pay a small fee to use the campgrounds, but it is usually reasonable (around $10 USD). The other option is to camp in the non-refugio-run campgrounds, which have no facilities or guides available. These sites are usually excellently located, so if you don’t need a shower or breakfast, this is your best bet. They’re also free!
If you do choose to carry your own equipment, be sure to spend a night at Campamento Torres – it gives you the best access to the lookout point for the massive granite towers and makes it a whole lot easier to get up to the top for the beautiful sunrise view (a must-see!).
If you want to camp but don’t have the gear, fear not. Most of the refugios have an adjacent camping area, where they will rent you a tent, mat, and sleeping bag for a reasonable price. This is a great option for people who don’t have gear or don’t want to carry it with them for the duration of their trek. The fee for camping includes showers and bathrooms, and is a much better deal than staying inside the actual refugio.
You can also rent camping gear in the town of Puerto Natales, in which case you will carry it with you for the extent of your trek. If you choose this, refer back to the Bring-Your-Own Camping section.
If you have a decent amount of money to spend and aren’t that into camping, refugios are the way to go. Of course, they will lower your bragging rights a bit, but a real bed and shower might be worth it to you. There are several refugios in the park, giving you plenty of options depending on what path you choose to take.
Most refugios are relatively pricey, running fromm $40 to $75 USD a night, depending on if you want sheets, a sleeping bag, breakfast, lunch, etc. All of them include a shower and a bed. During high season it’s usually recommended to reserve your spot ahead of time so you don’t end up bedless -- many allow you to reserve online, or you can go directly to the company offices in Puerto Natales. Fantástico Sur owns the refugios on the east side of the park near Sector Las Torres, whereas Vertice Patagonia owns those on the west side within the park.
If you are hiking the W or the Circuit, you may want to spend a night in a refugio somewhere along the way to reboot and reenergize. But if not, more power to ya.
Hotels & Hosterías
If you’re really not into the idea of “roughing it” but you want to stay in the park, there are various hotels and hosterías. They will, however, cost you a pretty penny. Rates can be anywhere from $150 to $250 USD a night, and we’re talking pretty basic accommodations here. Still, it’s a good option for those who physically can’t camp and have the cash to drop on a nicer bed.
No matter what your timeline and preferred accommodations may be, spending at least one night in the park is definitely recommended, as there’s nothing more beautiful than the mountains at sunrise. Trust us, you won’t regret that 4am wakeup call!