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puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

NY
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puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

Puerto Natales lodgings are so much cheaper than those in the Park that we are wondering if distance would allow us to stay in Puerto Natales and take day hikes in Torres de Payne? We do not want to take multi days trekking, but only full day hikes, even if we need to drive each day to the park. We want to spend 4-5 days doing this but cannot afford hotels in the park. Is this feasable?

santiago
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1. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

117 km, 70% paved

Santiago, Chile
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2. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

It will take you a couple of hours each way. Have you looked at lodging just outside the park in the Rio Serrano area?

Lunenburg, Canada
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3. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

Hi NY!

We did the drive from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine in our own rental car. It's a minimum of two hours and probably a liitle longer, since the roads in Torres del Paine National Park are all gravel roads. (They're also poorly signed, and we made one wrong turn that took us another 30 very scenic minutes to recover from.) Northbound on the big road from Puerto Natales, Route 9, the pavement ends about 10 miles north of Cerro Castillo, the last tiny burg before the park.

Let me offer four thoughts:

- Who says the hotels in the park are always expensive? We overnighted at the Hotel Rio Serrano, right in the national park, for around US$100/night, in February! It was a night-before last minute price on one of those big internet travel agencies you've heard of

- Who says there are bargains in Puerto Natales? Supper there cost us almost US$70 for two people. We didn't overnight in the city, but if the restaurants are any indication, you won't find huge savings just by staying in the city

- The long commute will surely spoil things for you. As much as 5 hours drive, return, to save a few bucks is false economy in this case. Stay in the park so that you can use that time to savor it

- Keep your gas tank full. Gas stations are scarce in the Torres del Paine region, once you're out of Puerto Natales.

Happy travels!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

NY
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4. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

I did contact Hotel Rio Serrano 2 days ago and they gave me a quote much higher than their website! $300 per night for their Standard room for the 1st week of December! In Puerto Natales i saw a whole house for $100 per night. But i do agree, 2 hours drive is way too long, up to 1 hour it would have been OK. I would much prefer to be in the park but hotel prices are RIDICULOUS except if you use the refugios or camp.

I'll search a bit more but we may have to skip going to Southern Patagonia (and i'd be sad) and keep all our hiking to Lake District and Elqui area (?) We'll be in Chile for 5 weeks and i was looking forward to end the trip with Patagonia in spite of the extra flying.

Santiago, Chile
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5. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

The hotels in the park, or nearby outside it like Rio Serrano area, are expensive. There doesn't seem any way around that. Going to and from the park over 4-5 days would be very tiresome, especially since driving time is just to an entrance to the park and doesn't include driving time within the park. You might have a look at Hosteria Lago Tyndall, just outside the park, which has both hotel and basic cabins. If you have a car you can load up with food in Puerto Natales and self cater.

The refugios and camping areas are more designed for people doing multi day treks like the W. The hotels are more for people wanting something all-inclusive and comfortable. That all comes at a price in such a remote area. That 2 hour drive is exactly how far you are from the nearest town and all supplies.

There are some excellent hikes in the lake district and some wonderful national parks. The first week of December is early in the season for the best weather, but there are many options for activities in the area.

Lunenburg, Canada
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6. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

Like Galileo said (or is reputed to have said), "Eppur si muove."

I stayed at the Rio Serrano for US$100/night. In February.

I'm no expert on the region, having been there just the once, so I can't tell you if austral summer 2015 is shaping up to be dramatically busier than the time I visited; or if the hotels are merely putting out inflated asking prices, only to drop them later when they get fewer bites than they had vainly been hoping for.

Depending on how much flexibility you have, wait until a bit later, in case the prices drop.

When we visited, by the way, we considered Torres del Paine an afterthought following a drive to Ushuaia. If the prices had been astronomical, we might indeed have overnighted in Puerto Natales, drove in at the crack of dawn, and left toward evening. If, though, your plans are more brittle and if more than one day in the park is a mandatory part of your plans, I think I'd suck it up for one night.

But don't give up hope yet. And if the prices are astronomical, consider driving to Ushuaia instead, where there's literally almost a hundred hotels and overnighting places, so you'll always get price competition. We liked Ushuaia, the Strait of Magellan ferries, and the mountains of southern Tierra del Fuego more than Torres del Paine anyway!

David

Edited: 08 July 2014, 16:27
Lunenburg, Canada
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7. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

Just out of curiosity, I looked on a certain internet travel agency that begins with "A." I'm sure you know which one I mean, and I don't want to sound like I'm shilling for them.

I punched up December 5. The internet price at the joint where we stayed is US$225/night.

Remember, only chumps settle for a quote solely from the hotel itself. When prices seem inflated, I always check with both the hotel and at least one internet travel agency, to see whether there's clear blue water between. In this case, I'd say there is!

David

NY
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8. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

Ushuaia is in Argentina and i was trying to avoid the extra hassle of crossing borders, exchanging money, etc for just a few days.

???

NY
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9. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

We intend to be in the Lake District the last 2 weeks of November. Is the weather chilly there at that time? We do intend to hike there a lot basing ourselves around Villarica and then further south (no lodging plans yet).

Will it be sweater and fleece weather?

Lunenburg, Canada
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10. Re: puerto Natales to Torres de Payne driving time?

I was there in Torres del Paine in February, when it was sweater and fleece time!

I do have experience in Chile in November, though, in the Lake District and on Chiloe, 42°S. It's greener than Ireland because it rains every day (although there was some sun every day as well). While it's not excessively cold, the mercury only gets up to around 60°F. With a wind and some rain, it won't feel warm, though I remember that the bursts of sunshine felt blissful!

You're allowed to say that it's too far and you don't have enough time to consider going to Ushuaia, and you can give the excuse that it may add unacceptable cost (though that was your complaint about Torres del Paine). Also, spring is not as fine a time as high summer. I can't imagine, though, getting this close to the End of the World (as they call it in Ushuaia -- Fin del Mundo), and not bothering to go!

David