How do I get to Torres del Paine From...
Perhaps the most exciting way of getting from Ushuaia to Torres del Paine is by Adventure Cruise. Land at Cape Horn, sail through the Straits of Magellan and visit penguins and glaciers on the way. It takes 4 days to complete the crossing and each day involves 1 or 2 excursions on Zodiac boats. This is certainly a fantastic way to begin your holiday in Torres del Paine and is a very practical way of getting from Argentinian Patagonia to Chile.
After arriving in Punta Arenas on Day 4, you simply take a bus or private transfer straight to Torres del Paine National Park, or to Puerto Natales if you want to prepare for your trek in town before going to the park the following day. Read our blog post to find out more about travelling to Punta Arenas from Ushuaia.
An alternative might be to take the 4 hour bus trip across Tierra del Fuego.
From Buenos Aires, fly direct to the town of El Calafate in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina. There are several flights a day and the journey lasts around 3 and a quarter hours. From El Calafate you need to take a bus across the border to Puerto Natales, the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. This option is good if you plan to visit other parts of Argentina before or after Torres del Paine.
Buenos Aires has two airports, one predominately for international flights and one for domestic flights, and we've put together some advice on how you might travel between the airports.
From Santiago, take a flight to Punta Arenas, the nearest big airport to Torres del Paine and 3 hours from Puerto Natales.
Find out about flights to Patagonia.
If you fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas (a distance of nearly 2000 miles), you can choose to stay the night in Punta Arenas before heading off to Puerto Natales the next day.
Alternatively, after landing at Punta Arenas airport you can get the bus straight to Puerto Natales (depending on when you land).
- From Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales go with Buses Fernandez. The journey takes 3 hours and tickets cost approx. $4000 Chilean pesos each way (approx. USD $7).
- From Punta Arenas airport we recommend Buses Pacheco, as they can pick you up from the airport.
We recommend that you ask your tour operator to book your transport for you to avoid any confusion or problems with reservations.
However, if you'd like to go directly from Punta Arenas to the park, Buses Pacheco run a service which takes you straight there. This is a daily service and leaves Punta Arenas at 07:30 & 14:30 and returns to Punta Arenas from the Park Administration at 13:00 & 18:15. Bear in mind that this journey takes roughly 5-6 hours to complete.
You'll most likely come via Calafate to reach Torres del Paine if: you want to see the Perito Moreno Glacier or if your long-haul flight takes you into Buenos Aires (rather than Santiago), or you are travelling elsewhere in Argentina.
If you're travelling from Calafate to reach Torres del Paine then there are a few options for crossing the border:
- Bus to Puerto Natales: this is by far the most popular way to do things. The journey takes around 5 hours (or 6 if the border crossing is slow) and is on paved roads all the way. The price is approx $55 USD each way depending on exchange rates. The big limitation of this option is that the buses only run at 7am and 8am. So you'd need to be staying in El Calafate the night before. (Once you're in Puerto Natales it's relatively easy to get to the park, with most guided trips starting from here, and public buses into the park through the day for independent travellers)
- Private Transfer: (either to Puerto Natales or directly into the national park). This normally costs in the region of $750 USD each way depending on the time of year, drop off and pick points as well as the size of your vehicle. So it only really makes sense if you're a larger group. The big benefit is that you can set off from Calafate later in the day and, of course, get dropped straight to your hotel, take the short route directly into the national park (total journey time around 7 hours).
- Some of the luxury lodges include this transfer as part of their fully inclusive programmes and other hotels in Torres del Paine might charge around $300 USD per person for the transfer
- Very occasionally it's possible to meet your trekking group and guide at the border / Cerro Castillo to save you going all the way into Puerto Natales and all the way out again.
If you are planning to visit Torres del Paine from Argentina and want some help putting it all together then please do get in touch and we'd be delighted to answer your questions.
See El Calafate to Torres del Paine for more details
El Chalten is located inside Los Glaciares National Park in Argentinian Patagonia, which is roughly an 8/9 hour bus journey from Torres del Paine National Park itself. Unfortunately, there is no direct bus from El Chalten to Torres del Paine, and the trip must be broken up into chunks.
Firstly, the bus from El Chalten to Calafate departs at peak season each morning and afternoon, taking 3 hours. If you catch the bus early in the morning you can catch a late afternoon bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales which takes 5 hours.
Spend the night in Puerto Natales and take the first bus in the morning into the park, or alternatively, join your trekking group before taking a private transfer into Paine.
We have some great trips that start in Chalten, some visit the Perito Moreno glacier and trek to the base of Mount Fitz Roy before proceeding on to Torres del Paine National Park.
Puerto Natales is the nearest town to Torres del Paine and as such is the gateway to the national park.
Operators usually include the journey from Puerto Natales into Torres del Paine in their trip itinerary. This journey takes about 2.5 hours and primarily along a semi-paved road, so it's a bit bumpy. However, the stunning views of the park on the way in and the optional stops for photos make this a spectacular journey.
If you are already in Puerto Natales and just want to get into the park it is possible to take an early morning bus with several companies located in the centre of the town.
If your flights don't coincide with buses, it is possible to take a private transfer (more comfortable and doesn't stop in Cerro Castillo like some buses do), although this option isn't cheap.
For those with a thirst for adventure there's also the option to take a boat from Puerto Natales up the Last Hope Sound and then ride up the Rio Serrano to get into Torres del Paine National Park.
I came in on a three day ferry, which isn't the quickest but does give you a chance to take in the scenery of the fjords. The most dramatic way is zipping upriver into the park on a Zodiac dinghy.
Harriet Pike Swoop Expert
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