What is a refugio?
Refugios offer comfortable, dorm-style rooms where you can relax and unwind after a long day on the trails. Shared toilets and bathrooms/showers are accessible for all hikers. The accommodation is basic and clean but well located on the main trails. Most refugios also have campsites with separate facilities if you choose to camp.
Why use refugios?
- No need to carry heavy camping equipment, bedding or food (although it is advisable to carry your own sleeping bag)
- Enjoy the camaraderie of sharing stories with fellow walkers at the end of the day
- Stay well fed and clean whilst hiking
- Stay warm and sheltered when the weather deteriorates
- Refugios provide you with dinner, breakfast and give you a packed lunch
- Each refugio has a small shop selling snacks and a bar with beer, wine and not forgetting Pisco Sours, Patagonia's favourite cocktail.
Refugios in Torres del Paine
Torre Central is a large refugio situated near to the trailhead of the Base of the Towers trek and comprising of 60 bunkbeds split between 10 mixed dormitory rooms. It features a large communal area, male and female showers, a dining room, a bar and a shop. Central heating makes it a cosy overnight stop.
The smaller sister of Torre Central, Torre Norte is located only 100 metres away. It also has 60 bunkbeds with wood burners for heating. It's a slightly more basic version of Torre Central but still a convenient option.
Refugio Chileno is located in the Ascencio Valley, approximately an hour and a half's hike from the base of the towers. It has 32 bunkbeds split into four dorms of eight, and features shared bathrooms, a restaurant and a shop. This is a great base for those wanting to a catch a sunrise over the towers.
Set at the heart of the W Trek with wonderful views of the Cuernos and Nordenskjold Lake, this 36-bunk refugio is divided into four dormitories and has a restaurant, shop, wood heating and shared bathrooms. It also has a selection of private cabins if you would prefer some solitude.
Nestled amongst the bushes close to Los Cuernos refugio, these eight private cabins can sleep two people each. They have shared bathrooms (exclusively used by cabin guests) and meals are served in the refugio.
A unique stop off with amazing views of Nordenskjold Lake, the Cuernos and Paine Grande, the French Domes are approximately an hour's trek west of Refugio Los Cuernos. There are three domes which sleep eight and each dome has its own private bathroom.
Refugio Paine Grande is based on the northern shore of Pehoe Lake, right next to the catamaran dock, and is the largest of all the refugios with enough beds for 100 hikers in dormitories of six, and four people. This is arguably the most comfortable refugio in Torres del Paine with well-built bunkbeds, segregated showers, a mini-market, a bar and a large canteen-style restaurant that serves good meals. It is also one of the busiest places with day hikers dropping in on their way to Lake Grey and the French Valley, as well as campers staying at their large campsite.
One of the newest refugios, Refugio Grey is a traditional hiker's hut and is nestled amongst the trees on the shores of Lake Grey, a short walk from the Glacier Grey lookout point. It has 60 beds in dormitories, with up to eight beds each. Rooms are small and basic, but certainly do the job in providing a warm and friendly sanctuary.
Hidden away on the O Circuit trail, this refugio has the best location and views of all the refugios. It has 27 bunkbeds, segregated showers and an inviting main hut which serves as a dining room, bar and communal area.
The refugios have a fun, social atmosphere which make them the perfect place to come together in the evening with your fellow hikers. Put your feet up and share tales of the day's hiking over a beer or hot chocolate.
Stay at refugios with these trips
Refugio Torre, Paine Grande and Grey have all grown in size over the years. Refugio Chileno, Dickson and Cuernos still retain their charm and feel like traditional mountain lodges.
Tom Ludwig Swoop Expert
FAQs about refugios in Torres del Paine
The meals are basic but filling. Breakfast usually consists of cereal, toast, fruit and yoghurt. Your packed lunch comprises a sandwich, fruit, trail mix and chocolate. For dinner, it is usually a pasta-based dish, a stew or chicken with rice. Soup and pudding are also included with your main meal.
Both vegetarian and gluten-free diets can be catered for. Please enquire about accommodating vegan diets.
There are plugs in the communal areas, but not in all rooms. Wi-Fi can be purchased at the refugios but the signal is weak/intermittent at best.
The showers are hot and the toilets are cleaned regularly. Be sure to shower after dinner to ensure there is enough hot water, and bring your own towel as these aren't provided.
You can upgrade to private cabins at Refugio Cuernos for around $80 per cabin. You can also upgrade to stay at Hotel Las Torres at the start of your W Trek. For other accommodation options please enquire.
There are snack shops at all of the refugios where you can buy basic foods and camping gear e.g. spare pegs and gas. At some of the refugios there are bars that serve wines, spirits and beer on draught. At the other refguios you can buy local Chilean canned beer.
The refugios, particularly those dotted along the W Trek, are in very high demand, which means that availability tends to be limited and we recommend booking early in the year. Please bear in mind that even if you book ahead, places cannot always be guaranteed. However, if there is no availability in the refugio, you will be provided with a tent and bedding in the campsite next door, with all equipment set up and ready for you when you arrive.
Other ways to explore Torres del Paine
Hiking in Torres del Paine
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Kayaking in Torres del Paine
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Horse Riding in Torres del Paine
Day rides or longer treks that explore the pampas with the gauchos, head up to glaciers or follow trails through the Cordillera Paine with its mile-high granite peaks.
Multi-Sport in Torres del Paine
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Torres del Paine Hotels
Torres del Paine National Park has a large range of accommodation to choose from. Stay at a refugios or campsites for a fun and traditional trek experience. Escape to a luxury lodge for tranquillity and incredible views across the park or gaze up at the stars from your yurt/dome.