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One week in TDP in February

Nelson Bay...
Level Contributor
107 posts
6 reviews
One week in TDP in February

It's been a few months but I've finally got around to writing my trip report. I had so much help in planning this trip, that I'd like to provide some help to those planning to travel to TDP. In February this year, we hired a 4x4 ute from Europcar in Punta Arenas, through LYS car rental in Santiago, and had a great experience. We were disappointed to find out that the penguin colony at Seno Otway is no longer open so we drove on to Puerto Natales and stayed at Hostal Andes Patagonicos. The staff there were friendly and helpful and we were able to check in early. From there it was about a 5 minute walk up to the main square. We had a really nice dinner at El Bote and set off for TDP early the next morning. I hadn't seen on TA before that the supermarkets open late, if at all, on a Sunday, so we weren't as stocked up as we would have liked for our next few days in TDP. Also, none of the bread shops in Puerto Natales were open at all on a Sunday.

We couldn't believe just how beautiful the scenery is in the Rio Serrano area - we were blown away by it. We stayed at the cabanas at Hotel Lago Tyndall, but I could not recommend it. There are plenty of other cabins in the area which look so much better. The staff at Cabanas Lago Tyndall were not helpful and the cabanas themselves are literally falling apart. The next morning we bought a 3-day pass at the ranger station for USD34 and were told that, after 3 days, if we wanted to re-enter the park, we would have to pay for the full pass again. We drove to Guarderia Grey and did the Mirador Ferrier hike after registering at the Guardaria. It took us two and a quarter hours to hike up the steep hill. We found it a hard hike, but the views at the top are fantastic. It was really windy though so we didn't linger too long and had to crouch to get back over the summit. When we got back down to the Guardaria they told us that they had closed the hike because of the strong winds, so we were lucky we went up early. After 2 nights at Hosteria Lago Tyndall we thankfully left and headed for Hosteria Pehoe where we received a much warmer welcome. We were allowed to check in early as it was raining and we had decided to not hike any more that day. We must heartedly disagree with the negative reviews of Hosteria Pehoe. We found our room was clean and comfortable, the staff were fantastic and helpful, and the location is incredible. We really enjoyed the meals there, which we thought were reasonably priced. The only negative comment I would make is that if you are there at lunchtime (which most people aren't because they're out hiking) you will be inundated by bus loads of people having lunch there during their tour. The weather was not kind when we there but one fantastic short hike we did during a break in the rain was to the Mirador Cuernos, past Salto Grande. What an amazing view!

We then drove to Hotel las Torres in the north of the park. It was twice the price of Hosteria Pehoe, for the accommodation and the meals and drinks. The rooms were nicer but the staff were very unfriendly. We noticed while at reception and in the bar area that Spanish speakers seemed to be given preference when being served and received much more assistance than those of us who were not native Spanish speakers, even though the staff spoke perfect English. This was unfortunate and spoiled the atmosphere for us in what was the ideal location to do some great hikes. We paid for a guided horseback ride and hike to the Base of the Torres and loved the day. Our guide was fantastic and there were only 4 of us tourists going that day. The horses were well trained and had soft mouths, so it was an enjoyable ride, not just a means of transport. The tour cost 82,000 pesos each, which seemed a lot but was well worth it.

When we left Hotel las Torres to head back to Punta Arenas, we drove to and hiked along the shore of Laguna Amarga, then drove back towards the main road. On our way back we saw so much wildlife - condors up close, guanacos, foxes, nandus and flamingoes. What a great way to end our visit to Torres del Paine!

4 replies to this topic
Historic Corydon...
Level Contributor
1,753 posts
164 reviews
1. Re: One week in TDP in February

Thank you for this trip report. It was very helpful. Your itinerary is the same as ours for December 2018 although I can't tell if you spent 1 or 2 nights at Las Torres.

We are staying 2 nights Cabanas Lago Tyndall (sorry to hear your report on that). I considered staying at Hotel Rio Serrano but was trying to save a bit $$ and didn't think CLT sounded that bad.

2 nights at Hosteria Pehoe - This was the one I was worried about as I too read the reviews but decided the location was worth the risk. Glad to hear a different perspective!

One night at Las Torres at the b&b rate. I inquired about the Base Las Torres horseback/hike excursion and was told it won't be offered next season :( so I guess we will be climbing the whole way.

Thanks again!

Edited: 11 June 2018, 22:16
Nelson Bay...
Level Contributor
107 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: One week in TDP in February

That's the reason we chose Cabanas Lago Tyndall too. The cabins are clean enough so it'll be ok if nothing else in that price range is available. Be aware that their cabins are really no frills. You'll need your own food supplies too, right down to salt and pepper, and there are no shops. We found the coffee quite good from an Australian point of view, at hotel Rio Serrano, just down the road and the views are fantastic if you want to chill somewhere for a while. Unfortunately it was quite wet when we were in TDP, so we didn't do quite as much hiking as we otherwise would have. We had already spent some time in El Chalten so we weren't as desperate to hike no matter the weather. We did the Laguna de los Tres hike in El Chalten which we found really hard (we are in our 60s) but the Base of the Towers hike in TDP doesn't look as hard. We were being lazy taking the horses part way, but loved the luxury! When we were there, some of the horses - not the ones we were riding - had a bad cough. Maybe they've got an ongoing problem with the horses if they aren't doing the horse rides? I don't know why else they wouldn't offer it.

Historic Corydon...
Level Contributor
1,753 posts
164 reviews
3. Re: One week in TDP in February

I guess we will manage. We will arrive in the evening the first night so it's really only one full day. Hopefully we won't be in the cabin much. I anticipated bare bones anyway.

They didn't give a reason. I sent an email asking a bunch of questions about it and they replied it wouldn't be offered. They call it Base Las Torres on their website but in the email they referred to it as Sendero del Ascencio Excursion. I translated it in Google and it appears to be the same thing. I was quite clear which one I was referring to.

We are going to El Chalten after TDP. Could you say you preferred one over the other? I tried to convince myself to save time and only choose one but I just couldn't bring myself to choose.

Thanks for the help!

Nelson Bay...
Level Contributor
107 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: One week in TDP in February

I'm glad we did both. The hikes themselves in El Chalten were more beautiful because the hikes were up through beautiful lenga forests. The scenery driving from the Serrano area past Pehoe and up to the north is absolutely amazing and worth hiring a car for the trip just for that. The scenery at the top of the long TDP and El Chalten hikes was a glacial lake and tall towers of rock. So the end result was similar, but the walks up were really different. We found the El Chalten hikes harder (in general longer and with fewer parts of the hikes being easy) but it was really nice being able to stay in one place there and chill in between hikes, instead of moving on to a new area. It was also much cheaper being in the El Chalten area. The accommodation and food in El Chalten were so much cheaper and we didn't have the expense of renting a car. By the way, make sure you go to Domo Blanco for ice cream and milkshakes in El Chalten!!

If you'd like any more info on El Chalten, send me a PM as this is the wrong forum for it.

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