Hiking Patagonia is the ultimate bucket list check-off for 99% of backpackers on Earth. The otherworldly landscape draws adventure tourists from every corner of the globe. But the huge region requires some major commitment – it takes at least 10 days to trek the loop that gives you the very best sights of the expansive national park. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Since the advent of mass tourism to the area, the park has changed its policies and you can’t just show up willy-nilly; you need to make reservations (sometimes months in advance) for your night’s stay in the campsites and refugios. You also need to provide information like how many people are in your party and how long you estimate you’ll be trekking.
Unfortunately, the two companies and one government system (similar to the national parks service in the USA) provide online booking systems solely in Español.
So we’ll break down the first major tip for trekking in Patagonia. Plan, plan, plan! Just like in real estate, location is everything, and the most desirable lodging in the park is going to be booked up in advance. In order to make sure you can create the trip of your dream, you need to start planning ASAP. Keep in mind that the peak season is from December to March, so if you go in off times (like November or April) you’ll have a less crowded experience in the park.
Does all of this seem like a bit too much to deal with? If so, there are professionals who can help. We recommend you thoroughly research which tour guides are reputable and especially important is their longevity. Cascada Expediciones has been the winner of the region, specializing in Torres Del Paine for over 25 years. They’ll even pick you up from Puerto Natales airport! Talk about the red carpet treatment.