Camping in Torres del Paine: The 2021 Guide to Making Reservations Skip to Content

Booking Campsites in Torres del Paine: Everything You Need to Know

This article may contain affiliate links. Read my privacy page for more information.

It’s fair to say that the W and O Circuit treks through Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia have quickly become some of the continent’s most sought-after hiking activities.

However, this new-found popularity (with visitor numbers having reached a quarter of a million in the last year alone) has resulted in huge difficulties for prospective visitors.

This has had a knock-on effect for those trying to book camping in Torres del Paine National Park.

A tent pitched at Camping Dickinson along the O Circuit and information on how to make camping reservations in Torres del Paine National Park Patagonia

As someone who has hiked both the W and the O Circuit, I’ve been through the process of making Torres del Paine camping reservations. I’ve also been confused by the fact that there are not one, not two but three companies through whom you potentially have to book for hiking either of the two routes.

Unfortunately, to complicate matters even more, during the last season, 2018/2019, a lot of refugios and camping spots in Torres del Paine had been already booked up by November 2018.

Visitors are starting to make reservations earlier and earlier each year, meaning less availability for those starting the process later in the year. As a result, the whole process can feel very, very frustrating.

Torres del Paine National Park, a top travel destination in Patagonia.
Torres del Paine National Park is one of Patagonia’s most unmissable travel destinations.

That’s why I’ve written this guide to making camping reservations in Torres del Paine, with added hints and tips from my two visits to the park and the extra information I’ve acquired from conversations with the three companies who offering accommodation.

If you want to save time: The new website Torres Hike shows you the availability of accommodation and allows you to book it directly through them, rather than having to go via the Vertice Patagonia, Fantastico Sur and CONAF websites. All you need to do is plug in your dates and it’ll show you which campgrounds and refugios are available – saving you LOTS of time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Fantastico Sur and Vertice Patagonia have already opened their reservations systems for the 2019-2020 season meaning you can already organise your booking.

CONAF opened reservations for their free campsites on 24 September 2019. You can make reservations here and it’s all in English!

What are the names of the different Torres del Paine campsites and who owns them?

The first and possibly the most confusion feature of making refugio and campsite reservations for Torres del Paine is the fact that there are three companies who have accommodation in the park and you will potentially need to book at least one campsite with all three.

The two main companies are Fantastico Sur and Vertice Patagonia. Additionally, there is CONAF, which is the quasi-governmental body that administers the park, but that also has three free campsites in Torres del Paine.

Ok, that’s all clear. But which campgrounds belong to which company and which ones do you need to book?

Planning Your Trip to Patagonia?

Save time, stress & money with a customized travel itinerary planned for you by a Patagonia expert

What previous clients have said:


Steph did a great job! I have never used such a service before and I wish there were more of them!

Getting off the beaten track was important to us and with Steph’s knowledge we were away from the crowds. The information is very detailed and she knows some great places to stay! Thank you Steph!

avatar

Justin and Lisa

Traveled Patagonia, Bolivia and Peru in Jan ’19

Camping reservations for the W trek, Torres del Paine

There are two different ways that you can hike the W, depending on whether you start at the western corner of the trek and hike east or at the eastern corner of the trek and hike west.

Most of the buses that leave from Puerto Natales enter through the same place, via the hamlet of Torres del Paine and stop:

  • Firstly at Laguna Amarga (where you get off for the O Circuit or if you plan on hiking the W trek from the east)
  • Secondly, at the Pehoe catamaran stop (where you get off if you plan on hiking the W from the west)
  • And finishing at Administración (the main headquarters of the park and not really useful for starting any hikes).

Everyone, regardless of where you plan to start the trek, generally gets off the bus at Laguna Amarga to buy entrance tickets for the park – you do not need to book these in advance.

As of 2020, Bus Sur have started offering services that actually enter through the south of the park:

  • Starting at Administración
  • Continuing to Pehoé
  • And finishing at Laguna Amarga.

On this route, people pay their entrance tickets at Administración.

This service is good if you plan on hiking the W trek from west to east or are wanting to do visit Glaciar Grey or Valle Francés as part of a day hike in Torres del Paine National Park.

For both, you need to bring enough Chilean pesos: $35,000 CLP if you plan on spending more than three days in the park; $25,000 CLP for adults and $12,500 CLP for children if you plan on spending less than three days in thepark. Cards are not accepted.

On the W trek, accommodation is either at a campground (either with your own tent or with a tent that you can rent in advance from the campground) or at a refugio (normally a bed in a shared dorm).

As of the 2019/2020 season, at all of the campgrounds, you can pay for full-board (breakfast, a packed lunch and dinner), half-board (breakfast and dinner) or no food (you bring all your food and cooking equipment).

If you’re planning on camping and self-catering, I’ve written all about the equipment you need to pack for the O Circuit (which can be easily adapted for the W trek) and about the food you should take to Torres del Paine so that your rucksack isn’t overly heavy.

What months can you trek the W?

The W trek is open year-round, and you can hike it without a tour guide and alone from October through April.

From the May 1 through to the beginning of September, you will need an official guide to be able to hike the trail. Solo travellers are not permitted into the park to do this trek during these months and you will be fined if you’re caught.

I’ve heard that winter offers a really unique chance to see the national park, particularly as there are far fewer other hikers and it’s more often than not covered in snow. Rather than camping, you will be staying in the Torres del Paine refugios as it can get a little cold.

I recommend checking out Chile Nativo who operate a winter tour of Torres del Paine National Park. You can expect to pay upwards of $1,900 USD p/p for a two-person tour.

The W trek starting from the west

Most people start the W trek from the west. This involves:

  • Taking the limited Bus Sur service from Puerto Natales at 6.30am to reach the catamaran stop at 8.45am*
  • Boarding the catamaran at 9am to sail the 25-minute journey across Lago Pehoe. This service is operated by Hielos Patagonicos with departures leaving Pudeto (where the bus drops you) for Paine Grande across the lake at 9am, 11am and 6pm (November through March) with an extra departure at 4.15pm between December and March (Note services drop down to one or two during the rest of the year. Their website has up-to-date timings, which are too complicated to list out here) ($23,000 ($35 USD) one-way, cash only). Tickets cannot be reserved in advance; you buy them at the ferry port.
  • Starting the W trek from Refugio and Camping Paine Grande.

*If there is no space on this service, you can take the 7.30am service that drops you at Pudeto at 10.45am for the 11am catamaran. See this post for full information.

Map of Torres del Paine W Trek
The route of the W trek, with the different available campsites labelled (click and zoom for closer view)

This route means you hike to viewpoints of Glacier Grey on day one and on day three or four hike up to the towers, before returning to Puerto Natales.

From the west, the campgrounds along the W trek are as follows, ordered by when you’ll reach them (although you will only stay at three or four of them):

  1. Refugio and Camping Paine Grande (paid campsite and refugio owned by Vertice Patagonia)
  2. Refugio and Camping Grey (paid campsite and refugio owned by Vertice Patagonia)
  3. Camping Italiano (free campsite owned by CONAF)
  4. Camping and Domes Francés (paid campsite and domes owned by Fantastico Sur)
  5. Refugio and Camping Los Cuernos (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  6. Refugio and Camping Torres Central/Norte (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  7. Refugio and Camping El Chileno (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  8. Camping Torres (free campsite owned by CONAF)

As you can see, at some point, you will likely need to book with all three of the companies. We will go into that in a moment.

The W trek starting from the east

Although it is less common, you can also start the W from the east.

This involves getting off the bus at Laguna Amarga stop (buses leave Puerto Natales at 7.30am and arrive here at 9.45am), walking or taking the 15-minute shuttle minibus ($3,000 CLP ($4 USD)) operated by Hotel Las Torres to Refugio and Camping Torres Central/Norte.

This route means you hike up to the towers on day one and to the viewpoints of Glacier Grey on day three or four of the hike, before returning to Puerto Natales.

Torres del Paine map, W trek going east
The route of the W trek, with the different available campsites labelled (click and zoom for closer view)

From the east, the campgrounds along the W trek are as follows, ordered by when you’ll reach them (although you will only stay at three or four of them):

  1. Refugio and Camping Torres Central/Norte (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  2. Refugio and Camping El Chileno (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  3. Camping Torres (free campsite owned by CONAF)
  4. Refugio and Camping Los Cuernos (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  5. Camping and Domos Francés (paid campsite and domes owned by Fantastico Sur)
  6. Camping Italiano (free campsite owned by CONAF)
  7. Refugio and Camping Paine Grande (paid campsite and refugio owned by Vertice Patagonia)
  8. Refugio and Camping Grey (paid campsite and refugio owned by Vertice Patagonia)

Hiking the W from west to east or from east to west

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which direction you hike the W, particularly as both of the “arms” of the W, where you head into Valle Frances (for the Mirador Francés and Mirador Britanico) and Valle Ascencio, involve you walking there and back along the same path.

On the sections in between, you’ll find that hiking from east to west, i.e. against the traffic, can potentially be annoying as you’ll be coming up against groups of people hiking in the opposite direction; as the path is not very wide, you’ll probably spend a lot of time waiting for people to pass.

If you hike west to east, i.e. with the traffic, you can find yourself getting stuck behind lots of other hikers and struggling to overtake them if you want to go faster.

Moon Chile guidebook next to a cup of tea

Need more inspiration?

You’ll find even more detailed itineraries, off-the-beaten-path gems, hiking routes and accommodation, restaurant and tour recommendations to suit your travel style in my brand-new guidebook, Moon Chile.

How to make Torres del Paine camping reservations for the W trek

I’m going to refer to booking campsites from west to east as this is the route you will likely take.

If you plan on hiking the W in the other direction, it’s easy enough to just follow this process backwards (or drop me a comment at the end of this post and I’ll explain in more detail).

Organising your Torres del Paine National Park camping and refugio reservations isn’t too complicated, but does require some explanation.

Let’s go through each of the campsites on the W and how you can reserve your campsites in Torres del Paine with each company.

You’ll also find this article about planning and hiking the W trek without a guide very useful.

If you want to save time: The new website Torres Hike shows you the availability of accommodation and allows you to book it directly through them, rather than having to go via the Vertice Patagonia, Fantastico Sur and CONAF websites. All you need to do is plug in your dates and it’ll show you which campgrounds and refugios are available – saving you LOTS of time.

Vertice Patagonia: Paine Grande and Grey

To make a Torres del Paine camping reservation or to book a dorm reservation in a refugio with Vertice Patagonia you need to follow this link to the booking page on their website.

(Note that you can change the language to English in the top right-hand corner)

Bookings for the 2019-2010 season are now open.

They changed their booking system in 2018.

Firstly, you need to select “Another” or “Otro” in the Passenger/Pasajero section of the first booking window, and select USD (because you are a foreigner and not Chilean resident).

Then, you need to select “Circuito W” on the second window.

This then gets you to choose whether you want to book Refugio and Camping Grey followed by Refugio and Camping Paine Grande, Refugio and Camping Paine Grande followed by Refugio and Camping Grey or either one or the other.

If you have any issues with booking your spot in a refugio or in the camping, the first thing to do is contact Vertice Patagonia.

You can do so directly via [email protected]

I have heard they are reasonably quick to get back to you and speak English.

If you’re already in Patagonia and have had issues with your booking, you can go directly to their office in Puerto Natales located at: Bulnes 100 (tel. 61/2415 716).

Rates 2019/2020 for camping and dining at Vertice Patagonia

For the 2019-2020 season, Paine Grande now has a different cost for meals and camping/refugio accommodation.

Rates for camping and dining at Camping and Refugio Paine Grande:

Prices for camping and camping equipment rental in Refugio and Camping Paine Grande, Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020
Cost of full-board, half-board and meals in Camping and Refugio Paine Grande, Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020

All of the other campsites operated by Vertice Patagonia (Dickson, Los Perros and Grey) charge the following rates for camping and dining:

Price of camping and camping equipment rental in Camping and Refugio Grey, Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020
Prices for full board and half board and other meals in Camping and Refugio Grey, Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020

Bear in mind that the prices in USD are those that you pay as a foreigner travelling to Chile and is what you should be charged on the respective websites.

You may need to show your passport and the migration ticket from PDI that you received when you arrived in the country at the campsites/refugios to prove you are a tourist.

Refugio and Camping Paine Grande

  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $11 USD ($6,500 CLP)
  • Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $71 USD ($46,500 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio p/p with your own sleeping bag: $57 USD ($34,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio p/p without your own sleeping bag: $87 USD ($56,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio (with your own sleeping bag) and half-board p/p: $102 USD ($63,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio (with your own sleeping bag) and full-board p/p: $121 USD ($75,000 CLP)

Get information about the refugio and camping at Paine Grande.

The campsite at Refugio and Camping Paine Grande, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia
Refugio and Camping Paine Grande has one of the largest campsites in the park

Most people will spend their first night in Torres del Paine National Park camping or staying in the refugio at Paine Grande.

It is located just next to where the catamaran ferry that crosses Lago Pehoe arrives and is a useful campsite as it’s big (and so normally has space) and you can get off the ferry, set up your tent and then leave your big rucksack as you hike to the Glacier Grey viewpoints for the day.

You can then return back to the campground at night.

When camping here, you’ll notice that most people try and camp alongside the bottom of the mountain that edges the campground: this provides some protection from the wind and is a good idea!

The camping facilities at Paine Grande are really good:

  • Large mess hall with tables where you can cook food and sinks for washing up
  • Plug sockets in the mess hall
  • Hot showers (only for a couple of hours in the evening so aim to queue up a bit before they open)
  • A large canteen (you pay for food when you make your camping reservation)
  • A bar
  • A shop with basics such as biscuits, eggs, chocolates and crisps and occasionally bread

The refugio facilities at Paine Grande include:

  • Beds in shared dorm rooms with or without bed clothes (you pay $30 USD ($22,000 CLP) less if you take your own sleeping bag)
  • A large canteen (you pay for food when you make your dormitory reservation)
  • A bar
  • WIFI (you must have Paypal to pay for it)

Refugio and Camping Grey

The main viewpoints across Glacier Grey, just a little further along the trail from the Refugio and Camping Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia.
The main viewpoints across Glacier Grey, just a little further along the trail from the Refugio and Camping Grey.
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $9 USD ($5,500 CLP)
  • Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $69 USD ($45,500 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio with your own sleeping bag: $37 USD ($22,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio without your own sleeping bag: $87 USD ($56,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio (with your own sleeping bag) and half-board: $82 USD ($51,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio (with your own sleeping bag) and full-board: $94 USD ($58,000 CLP)

Find more information about the refugio and camping at Grey.

Many people stay at Grey on the first night of their trek, instead of at Paine Grande.

Grey is a good campground if you plan on hiking to the further viewpoints of the Grey Glacier.

The W actually finishes at the viewpoint shortly after this campground; the path that continues is the O Circuit and, if you’re a fast hiker, you can follow it all the way to Camping Paso (18km away).

Otherwise, you can hike about an hour and a half from Refugio and Camping Grey to reach two suspension bridges over river gorges, from where you’ll get great views too.

Grey is smaller than Paine Grande and so is more likely to be booked up. If you find that they don’t have space on your date, it’s worth instead checking if there is availability at Paine Grande and staying there instead.

The camping facilities at Grey are good:

  • Cooking area with tables where you can cook food and sinks for washing up
  • Hot showers (only for a couple of hours in the evening so aim to queue up a bit before they open)
  • A canteen (you pay for food when you make your camping reservation)
  • A bar
  • A shop with food basics

The refugio facilities at Grey include:

  • Beds in shared dorm rooms with or without bed
  • A large canteen (you pay for food when you make your dormitory reservation)
  • A bar
  • Computers with internet connection (additional fee)

CONAF: Italiano

To book campsite Italiano through CONAF, you need to use this link*. On September 24, 2019, their online booking system was finally opened.

Their online booking system is now much easier than it was for last season.

You just need to click on the above link, put in your dates (you will need to do this twice if you want to book more than one campsite with CONAF) and it will show availability and allow you to insert your details to make the reservation. It’s all in English, too!

*As of April 2020, their booking website isn’t working. I’ll update when it is.

Camping Italiano

A drawbridge across the river leading to Campamento Italiano in Torres del Paine National Park, one of the free campgrounds you can reserve in the park
The hanging bridge leading up to Camping Italiano (it’s in those trees!).
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: Free

The free Italiano campsite is generally a place to stop on the second day of the W trek in Torres del Paine as it is located just below the trail that leads up to Mirador Francés and Mirador Britanico, both lookouts across a glacier-strewn valley.

Many people also use this campground as a place to leave their backpacks when they hike up the lookouts (you can leave them for free with the ranger who is based at this campsite and then pick them back up when you come back down).

The facilities at this campground are very poor, mainly because it’s free. There is:

  • A small shelter with benches for cooking
  • Drinking water
  • A sink for washing dishes
  • Two toilets

This campground floods when it rains and the toilets are really quite unpleasant.

Although it’s an option if you’re on an extreme budget, I would strongly recommend that you continue on to Francés or Los Cuernos, instead of camping at Italiano.

IMPORTANT NOTE: On 24 September 2019, CONAF opened their reservations systems for the 2019-2020 season. You can book through this link (and it’s in English!).

Fantastico Sur: Francés, Los Cuernos, Torres Central and El Chileno

To make a Torres del Paine camping reservation or to book a dorm reservation in a refugio with Fantastico Sur you need to follow this link to the booking page on their website.

Fantastico Sur are pretty good at getting back to queries and I’ve also found that they are very fast at responding through the chat box option on their website.

If you’re struggling to make reservations, you can also contact them via email at
[email protected] They speak good English, too.

They also have an office in Puerto Natales located at: Esmeralda 661, Puerto Natales (tel. 61/2614 184).

Rates 2019/2020 for camping and dining at Fantastico Sur:

Cost of camping and dormitory accommodation in Fantastico Sur campground and refugios in Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020
Cost of camping equipment rental in Fantastico Sur campground and refugios in Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020
Cost of full-board, half-board and meals in Fantastico Sur campground and refugios in Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020

Bear in mind that the prices in USD are those that you pay as a foreigner travelling to Chile and is what you should be charged on the respective websites.

You may need to show your passport and the migration ticket from PDI that you received when you arrived in the country at the campsites/refugios to prove you are a tourist.

Domos and Camping Francés

  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $21 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $71 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for dorm in dome p/p: $116 USD or $111 USD with sleeping bag*
  • Cost for dorm in dome and half-board p/p: $172 USD
  • Cost for dorm in dome and full-board p/p: $196 USD

*You save $5 USD if you bring your own sleeping bag.

Information about camping and the domes at Francés here.

Most people stay at Francés on the second night of the W trek as an alternative to Italiano, as it’s only about an hour’s hike further on.

Camping here is on raised wooden platforms, with some shelter from bushes and trees.

If staying here, I recommend bringing some string to help with putting up your tent. Although there are hooks in the wooden platform that are available for using instead of pegs, it can be quite hard to pitch your tent well.

The camping facilities at Francés are good:

  • This campground originally only offered full-board but has changed for the 2018/2019 season to allowing campers to bring and cook their own food. I don’t know exactly what facilities this means they now have, but there will be an area for those camping to cook their own food.
  • Hot showers
  • A canteen (you pay for food when you make your reservation)

The dome facilities (dorm beds in geodesic domes) at Francés include:

  • Beds in shared dorm rooms with or without bed clothes (you pay $5 USD ($3,500 CLP) less if you take your own sleeping bag)
  • A canteen (you pay for food when you make your reservation)

Refugio and Camping Los Cuernos

Two-bed huts in Los Cuernos, Torres del Paine National Park
Los Cuernos even has two-person huts – admittedly at very high prices.
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $21 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $71 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for dorm in refugio p/p: $116 USD or $111 USD with sleeping bag*
  • Cost for dorm in refugio and half-board p/p: $172 USD
  • Cost for dorm in refugio and full-board p/p: $196 USD
  • Cost for hut for two: $360 USD or $340 USD for one person

*You save $5 USD if you bring your own sleeping bag. I am also 90% sure that you cannot cook unless you are staying in the campground or the huts; therefore, you will need to select food if staying in the refugio.

Information about camping and the refugio here.

Most people stay at Los Cuernos on the second night of the W trek, as an alternative to Italiano and Frances.

Camping here is on raised wooden platforms, with some shelter from bushes and trees.

If staying here, I recommend bringing some string to help with putting up your tent. Although there are hooks in the wooden platform that are available for using instead of pegs, it can be quite hard to pitch your tent well.

The camping facilities at Los Cuernos are good:

  • This campground originally only offered full-board but changed for the 2018/2019 season to allow campers to bring and cook their own food. I don’t know exactly what facilities this means they now have, but there will be an area for those camping to cook their own food.
  • Hot showers
  • A canteen (you pay for food when you make your camping reservation)

The refugio facilities at Los Cuernos include:

  • Beds in shared dorm rooms with or without bed clothes (you pay $5 USD less if you take your own sleeping bag)
  • Beds in shared domes
  • A large canteen (you pay for food when you make your dormitory reservation)

Refugio and Camping Torre Central and Torre Norte

  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $21 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $71 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for dorm in refugio p/p: $116 USD*
  • Cost for dorm in refugio and half-board p/p: $172 USD
  • Cost for dorm in refugio and full-board p/p: $196 USD

*I am 90% sure that you cannot cook unless you are staying in the campground; therefore, you will need to select food if staying in the refugio.

Information about refugios and camping here.

Most people camp or stay in dorms at Torre Central or in the dorm rooms of Torre Norte in the third or fourth nights of the W trek.

It is situated at the base of the towers and is therefore a good place to leave your big rucksack as you hike up to the towers for the day, however there is a cost of $5 USD ($3,500 CLP) to do this.

This is also one of the biggest campground in the park, which means there is generally space here – so if you’re struggling to get reservations at Frances, Los Cuernos or El Chileno, consider booking here instead.

It’s also a good place to see a puma! The night I stayed there, we missed one by about a minute that was wandering past the campground (don’t worry, they won’t attack you).

The camping facilities at Torre Central are good:

  • Outdoor tables where you can cook food, plus sinks for washing up
  • Hot showers
  • A canteen (you pay for food when you make your camping reservation)
  • A bar
  • A shop with basic food items

The refugio facilities at Torre Central include:

  • Beds in shared dorm rooms with or without bed clothes (you pay $5 USD less if you take your own sleeping bag). Rooms are larger, newer and generally nicer than those in Torre Norte and have central heating.
  • A large canteen (you pay for food when you make your dormitory reservation)
  • A bar

Torre Norte is 100 metres from Torre Central and you have access to the canteen, bar and shop there.

Refugio and Camping El Chileno

Camping in El Chileno on raised wooden platforms. Torres del Paine National Park.
Camping in El Chileno is on raised, wooden platforms.
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $21 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $71 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for dorm in refugio p/p: $116 USD or $111 USD with sleeping bag*
  • Cost for dorm in refugio and half-board p/p: $172 USD
  • Cost for dorm in refugio and full-board p/p: $196 USD

*You save $5 USD if you bring your own sleeping bag. Also, I am 90% sure that you cannot cook unless you are staying in the campground; therefore, you will need to select food if staying in the refugio.

Information about refugios and camping here.

Most people stay at El Chileno on the third or fourth nights of the W trek. It is situated at the base of the towers, but a couple of hours closer than Torre Central, meaning you can hike from there up to the towers at dawn.

Camping at El Chileno is on raised wooden platforms, with some shelter from bushes and trees.

As with Los Cuenos, if staying at this campground, I recommend bringing some string to help with putting up your tent. Although there are hooks in the wooden platform that are available for using instead of pegs, it can be quite hard to pitch your tent well.

The towers of Torres del Paine National Park at dawn
El Chileno is now the closest campsite to the towers and your best option if you want to see them at dawn.

Be aware that there is nowhere to leave your rucksack at this campground; if you plan to head up to the towers, you’re best to do this for dawn, leaving your tent up with your stuff inside.

When you come back down from the towers, you can pack up. Check out is at 9am.

The camping facilities at El Chileno are good:

  • There are no cooking facilities in El Chileno; you must either bring cold food or something that just requires you to add hot water (which you can request from the refugio) or you should pre-book food from their canteen.
  • Hot showers
  • A canteen (you pay for food when you make your camping reservation)
  • A shop with basic food items

The refugio facilities at El Chileno include:

  • Beds in shared dorm rooms with or without bed clothes (you pay $5 USD less if you take your own sleeping bag)
  • A large canteen (you pay for food when you make your dormitory reservation)

CONAF: Torres

Campamento Torres

This free camping is located just below the base of the towers, around a 45-minute hike to the lake above which they are found. It has space for tents within a wooded area, a small, covered area for cooking, plus toilets and running water from two streams.

However, since the 2017/2018 season, the campsite has been closed. As far as I’m aware, it will not be opening for the 2019/2020 season, either.

Camping reservations for the O Circuit, Torres del Paine

The O Circuit can only be walked in an anti-clockwise direction, starting from the park ranger station at Laguna Amarga.

Hikers queuing up to enter the park at the Laguna Amarga entrance, Torres del Paine National Park
Hikers queuing up to enter the park at the Laguna Amarga entrance.

All of the buses that leave from Puerto Natales enter through the same place, via the hamlet of Torres del Paine and stop first at Laguna Amarga, where you need to get off for the O Circuit and to buy entrance tickets for the park – you do not need to book these in advance.

On the O Circuit and the first four/five days before you reach the W trek, accommodation is generally in campsites (either with your own tent or with a tent that you can rent in advance from the campsite), although Refugio and Camping Dickson does have beds in their refugio.

Food is generally nor available, although there are a couple of exceptions. You will need to bring all of your food and cooking equipment.

I’ve written all about the equipment you need to pack for the O Circuit and compiled this guide to what food you should take to Torres del Paine so that your rucksack isn’t overly heavy.

Map of the O Circuit trek through Torres del Paine National Park
The route of the O Circuit, which joins the W trek after day four (click and zoom for closer view)

From Laguna Amarga, the campsites on the O Circuit are as followed and ordered by when you’ll reach them (you stay at all of them, unless you want to skip Camping Paso and continue on to Refugio and Camping Grey):

  1. Camping Serón (paid campsite owned by Fantastico Sur)
  2. Refugio and Camping Dickinson (paid campsite and refugio owned by Vertice Patagonia)
  3. Camping Los Perros (paid campsite owned by Vertice Patagonia)
  4. Camping Paso (free campsite owned by CONAF)

You then join the W trek heading east:

  1. Refugio and Camping Grey (paid campsite and refugio owned by Vertice Patagonia)
  2. Refugio and Camping Paine Grande (paid campsite and refugio owned by Vertice Patagonia)
  3. Camping Italiano (free campsite owned by CONAF)
  4. Camping and Domes Francés (paid campsite and domes owned by Fantastico Sur)
  5. Refugio and Camping Los Cuernos (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  6. Refugio and Camping Torres Central/Norte (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  7. Refugio and Camping El Chileno (paid campsite and refugio owned by Fantastico Sur)
  8. Camping Torres (free campsite owned by CONAF)

What months can you trek the O Circuit?

The official opening date of the O Circuit entirely depends on when CONAF decide to open the trail. This normally happens in November, with the hiking season continuing until the end of March and sometimes into April.

This normally happens in November, with the hiking season continuing until the end of March and sometimes into April.

During the low season (1st of May until 31st of October), the O Circuit is closed.

Hiking the O Circuit anti-clockwise

As of a few years back, you can only hike the O Circuit anticlockwise. This means getting off the bus at Laguna Amarga and hiking or taking the 15-minute shuttle minibus ($3,000 CLP ($4 USD)) operated by Hotel Las Torres to Refugio and Camping Torres Central/Norte.

After you’ve hiked the loop around the back of the Cordillera Paine, you join the W trek at Refugio and Camping Grey.

For more information about hiking this trail, don’t miss our complete guide to the Torres del Paine O Circuit, as well as the 14 things you need to know before starting the O Circuit.

How to make camping reservations for the O Circuit

Again, booking camping in Torres del Paine isn’t too difficult, but you do need to understand the O Circuit route and the options available to you.

If you want to save time: The new website Torres Hike shows you the availability of accommodation and allows you to book it directly through them, rather than having to go via the Vertice Patagonia, Fantastico Sur and CONAF websites. All you need to do is plug in your dates and it’ll show you which campgrounds and refugios are available – saving you LOTS of time.

Camping in Torres del Paine National Park along the O Circuit.
Camping in Torres del Paine and hiking the O Circuit means you need to take cooking equipment.

Fantastico Sur: Camping Serón

To make a Torres del Paine camping reservation or to book a dorm reservation in a refugio with Fantastico Sur you need to follow this link to the booking page on their website.

Fantastico Sur are pretty good at getting back to queries and I’ve also found that they are very fast at responding through the chat box option on their website.

If you’re struggling to make reservations, you can also contact them via email at [email protected] They speak good English, too.

They also have an office in Puerto Natales located at: Esmeralda 661, Puerto Natales (tel. 61/2614 184).

Rates 2019/2020 for camping and dining at Fantastico Sur:

Cost of camping and dormitory accommodation in Fantastico Sur campground and refugios in Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020
Cost of camping equipment rental in Fantastico Sur campground and refugios in Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020
Cost of full-board, half-board and meals in Fantastico Sur campground and refugios in Torres del Paine National Park 2019-2020

Camping Serón

Camping Seron, the first campsite along the Torres del Paine O Circuit.
Pitched up in Camping Seron, the first campsite along the O Circuit.
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $21 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
    Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $63 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p and half-board: $101 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p and half-board: $77 USD plus an additional $11 USD if single occupancy

Get information about Camping Serón here.

Camping Serón is the first campground on the O Circuit and normally the place where people stay on their first night in the park.

There is only camping possible here and it comprises a huge, grassy area with views of the eastern side of the mountain range.

Camping Serón has reasonable facilities:

  • A couple of covered areas for cooking food
  • Toilets
  • Showers with hot water (although I don’t think they have hot water all of the time)
  • A shop with basic food essentials and sometimes camping gas
  • A small canteen

Vertice Patagonia: Dickinson and Los Perros

To make a Torres del Paine camping reservation or to book a dorm reservation in a refugio with Vertice Patagonia you need to follow this link to the booking page on their website.

They have changed their booking system from last year. Firstly, you need to select “Another” or “Otro” in the Passenger/Pasajero section of the first booking window, and select USD (because you are a foreigner and not Chilean resident).

Then, you need to select “Circuito Maczio Paine” on the second window:

Vertice Patagonia camping reservations
The booking window on the Vertice Patagonia website. It’s also available in English.

You can no longer just book one of their campgrounds; instead you have to book them in groups e.g. Dickson, Los Perros, Grey and Paine Grande.

If you plan on staying in the free CONAF Paso campground, be sure that you have a gap in dates between Los Perros and Grey or Paine Grande to accommodate staying there.

Rates 2019/2020 for camping at Vertice Patagonia:

Note these prices are correct for Dickinson, Los Perros and Grey; prices for Paine Grande are show above at the beginning of the section about camping reservations for the W trek.

Camping and camping equipment rental prices for Camping and Refugio Dickinson, Torres del Paine National 2019-2020
Full-board, half-book and meal prices for Camping and Refugio Dickinson, Torres del Paine National 2019-2020

Refugio and Camping Dickinson

Camping Dickson, camping in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia
Camping Dickson doesn’t have very much protection from the wind, but the views of the back of the Cordillera Paine are beautiful in the morning.
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $9 USD ($5,500 CLP)
  • Cost for camping with rented equipment p/p: $69 USD ($45,500 CLP)
    Cost for dorm in refugio with your own sleeping bag: $37 USD ($22,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio (with your own sleeping bag) and half-board: $82 USD ($51,000 CLP)
  • Cost for dorm in refugio (with your own sleeping bag) and full-board: $94 USD ($58,000 CLP)

Get information about Refugio and Camping Dickson here.

Refugio and Camping Dickson is the second campground on the O Circuit and normally the place where people stay on their second night in the park.

There is camping and a small refugio here and it’s set in a beautiful location in the horseshoe floodplains of where Lago Dickson becomes the Río Paine.

You can even see hanging glaciers above the lake if you wander through the trees at the back of the campground.

Camping Dickson has reasonable facilities:

  • A large covered area for cooking food
  • Picnic benches dotted across the site (you are not allowed to cook food at these)
  • Toilets
  • Showers with hot water (limited hours)
  • A shop with basic food essentials
  • A small canteen (you pay for food when you make your camping reservation)

The refugio facilities at Dickson include:

  • Beds in shared dorm rooms with or without bed clothes (although take a sleeping bag as the price is double if you want to have bedclothes included)
  • A small canteen (you pay for food when you make your dormitory reservation)

Camping Los Perros

Camping Los Perros, the O Circuit, Torres del Paine National Park.
Camping Los Perros is a simple campsite that’s tucked into a forest.
  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: $9 USD ($5,500 CLP)

Get information about Camping Los Perros here.

Set in the woods below the John Gardner Pass, Camping Los Perros is a small campground with very basic facilities.

It is normally where people stay on the third night of hiking the O Circuit.

Camping Los Perros has basic facilities:

  • A hut for cooking food (it also has charging points for your electrical items)
  • Toilets
  • Showers with cold water

CONAF: Paso

CONAF has one free campground on the first half of the O Circuit. On 24 September 2019, CONAF opened their online booking system; you need to use this link to make reservations*.

Their online booking system is now much easier than it was for last season. You just need to click on the above link, put in your dates (you will need to do this twice if you want to book more than one campsite with CONAF) and it will show availability and allow you to insert your details to make the reservation. It’s all in English, too!

*As of April 2020, the booking system is not functioning. I will update when it’s open again.

Camping Paso

  • Cost for camping with own equipment p/p: Free

Located a few kilometers below the John Gardner Pass, the free campground Paso is sometimes used by hikers on the fourth night of hiking the O Circuit, although there is generally still time (if you have the energy left) to continue on to Refugio and Camping Grey (another 10 kilometers away) in the same day.

The facilities here are very, very basic and the toilet itself is probably enough to put some people off. It’s also a very small area with only a limited number of spots, so camping gets booked up very quickly.

Camping Paso has basic facilities:

  • A three-walled shelter where you can prepare food
  • One toilet

Note that this campsite is only open November through April.

The rest of the O Circuit

From here, you join the W trek and so the advice regarding booking the different campgrounds follows the information indicated above (although you’ll get to Refugio and Camping Grey before Refugio and Camping Paine Grande).

General recommendations for booking camping in Torres del Paine

Book well in advance

During the 2018-2019 season, by September 2018, there were few camping spots and even fewer spaces in the refugio for December, January and February.

However, people reported being able to get reservations last-minute during these months, so it’s worth checking back in to see if reservations have opened up.

The trick is to book your dates as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Bring your passport and PDI form

Prices on the Fantastico Sur and Vertice Patagonia websites are quoted in USD and this price only applied is you are a foreigner who has spent fewer than 60 consecutive days in the Chile (so it’s fine if you’re been out into Argentina and back in again).

However, to prove this, they may want to see your passport and the PDI migration slip you were given when you entered the country.

Bring both – just remember to put them in a Ziploc plastic bag so that they are protected from the rain (passports are not accepted for travel if they suffer water damage!).

Print out your reservations

Print out your reservation confirmations for your accommodation in Torres del Paine and take them with you.

Along the W, they have internet access and have a list of who is expected to be at each campground each night.

Along the O Circuit, this is not the case and there have been cases where people have been sent back the way they came because they couldn’t prove that they had a reservation at a campground further along the trek.

I also heard that they might be checking camping reservations when you buy your ticket at Laguna Amarga and they won’t allow you to enter the park if you can’t evidence them.

You can also download them to your phone, just make sure that you have enough battery (I recommend bringing a battery pack: check them out on Amazon or REI) so that you can show them when required.

For more information, see my guide to what you should pack for hiking in Torres del Paine).

Get 100% prepared for your Patagonia trip: Download this FREE checklist for Patagonia

Pin this article for later!
Find out everything you need to know about reserving campsites in Torres del Paine National Park with this 5,000-word guide covering all of the campsites and refugios for the W trek and the O Circuit. #patagonia #torresdelpaine #hiking #southamerica #travel #adventure #worldlyadventurer

25 Bolivia Tourist Attractions That You Just Can't Miss
← Previous
Six Options For If You Can't Get Torres del Paine Camping Reservations
Next →

Christopher J Harris

Tuesday 9th of June 2020

Hi Steph, Thanks for all the info you have put up here. I'm not a hiker (recent broken ankle gives me very limited range) and I'll be riding a mc so no tours for me. I am going to Torres Del Paine but wont go in the gate since I can't hike. Looking for any advice about free camping along the road to the entrance. Would be nice to wake up in my tent with a view of the three peaks. Frowned upon? Illegal? Thanks, Chris

Steph Dyson

Friday 12th of June 2020

Hi Christopher, I honestly don't know but I have a suspicion that the park rangers/other locals won't look very kindly upon it. Your best bet is to download iOverlander and see what camping spots other people have used (if you're not familiar with the app, it's free and users add in where they've camped or parked up a camper van with helpful information about the location). I hope that helps you out! Steph

Teagan

Monday 13th of April 2020

Hi! Do you know when campsites/Refugios open for November 2020? From what I gather, November marks the start of their 2021 season, but I'm not sure when they start taking reservations.

Steph Dyson

Tuesday 14th of April 2020

Generally from June/July. I have no idea this year, however, as it really depends on the impact of the current circumstances! Steph

alexis

Monday 6th of January 2020

Hi Steph,

I'm trying to book campsites from the week of 2/18 doing the W circuit from West to East. I was able to find a spot at Paine Grande but the rest of the sites seem to be booked, looking at the a Fantastico Sur site. Is there another way you might suggest we try to book these campsites?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :)

Alexis

Steph Dyson

Monday 13th of January 2020

Hi Alexis, have you seen this post? Steph

Lisa Bennett

Sunday 29th of December 2019

Hi Steph,

First and foremost, THANK YOU for such a thorough blog. This is incredibly helpful as I start planning a trek for 2020.

Should CONAF follow trend from this past year, the 2020-2021 season reservations may not open until late September 2020? I'm looking at an early October 2020 trek and right now all the systems have the dates blocked out. From what I gather, this may be because the next calendar year is not yet open. Does that sound right to you?

And if I read correctly, the 2 other private companies that charge for site-reservations may open earlier than CONAF, so better to pay in advance to ensure you have a location, then seek free sites with CONAF to fill itinerary, or better fit trek schedule.

Thanks again!

Steph Dyson

Friday 3rd of January 2020

Hi Lisa, yes CONAF didn't open until September and I would recommend just booking with the private companies when they open (around June/July but could be earlier this year as it seems to get earlier every year!) so that you are guaranteed a spot. Steph

Elisabeth

Friday 27th of December 2019

Thanks for the really useful post!

We're planning to do a solo hike from 28 April to 2 May 2020, but I note that you mentioned that solo travelling in May is not allowed. Do you know if it's okay if we start in April, although a part of the trip crosses into May?

Steph Dyson

Friday 3rd of January 2020

Hi Elisabeth, I know some people did this the other year and it was fine (I think they go told off by CONAF when they saw them but nothing else happened). Steph