Climbing the W Trek to the top of the W in Chile

3-Day Chile W Trek Guide: Dominate Your Booty Game for Carnival Brazilian Beaches!

Carnival Prelude:

Carnival is a sensational cultural festival put on every year in the Brazilian summertime around February (official dates change every year pending the lunar calendar cycle) .

2024 Dates: Feb 9th- Feb 17th

2025 Dates: Feb 25th – Mar 05th

It’s a time where you can dust off your closet from Halloween and have the glitter, the glam, and the sparkles come out in full force. It will be sizzling and glorious with all the locals dressing up in their most celebratory outfits. Guys, do remember to bring tutus as you’ll soon have the moves of a samba dancer when you remix this classic ballerina style. 

Summer in South America:

Now you’re packing your bags and you’re ready but then, you remember that Brazil was home to the booty and you’ve been a little snowed in during your winter months. 

Don’t fret, there is still plenty of time post the holidays and take advantage of the summer season in South America where seasons are inverse those coming from the Northern Hemisphere. 

This means plenty of time to soak up the rays and have some fun in the sun. This of course meant booking a ticket to El Calafate, Argentina and crossing the border to get into Puerto Natales, Chile. This is the base of the Torres del Paine region and has the W trek O trek. 

W or O Treks: Choosing Your Adventure:

The trek names are pretty intuitive, the W trek looks like a W on a map and the O trek is a giant loop that also swallows up the W meaning a longer expedition. 

On average, I met people finishing the O in as little as 6 to as much as 12 days to soak it in. 

I went on a whim with my partner on the W trek and we decided to book the night before. Boy were we lucky! Usually people have booked the treks 6-8 months out in advance. 

We were able to score last minute cancellations and the advantage meant that we could camp in the national park vs having to bus out and take multiple day trips back and forth from the town of Puerto Natales. Convenience and opportunity for the win. 

Booking Tips and Cost Breakdown:

It was a bit pricey, however, I realize that these once in a lifetime experiences like the W trek or attending the carnival celebration in Brazil are especially worth it as you are uncovering some of the world’s most incredible places for different reasons of experiencing great landscapes and/or experiencing breathtaking cultures.

Let’s break down the price for the W trek: 

We went for 3 nights and 4 days. There’s 2 major companies with the W Trek where offices are adjacent to each other in Puerto Natales:

Las Torres:

Pricing: (In USD)

Premium Campsite: $220 (Pitched Tent, Sleeping Bag, Pillows, Mat)

Dinner: $50

BLD: $100

*Pro Tip: You can buy meals onsite in Chilean pesos which is about 30-40% less than the USD rate. Be cautious though as some campsites may run out of food.


Sector Central Y Norte (Near visitor’s center & Torres Hike)

Sector Chileno (Base to Torres Summit)

Sector Cuernos

Sector Frances

Sector Seron



Premium Campsite: 71K CLP or $100 USD  (Pitched Tent, Sleeping Bag, Mat)

Dinner: 23K CLP or $40 USD

BLD: 45K CLP or $80 USD


Paine Grande (Where you can take the boat back to Puerto Natales)

Grey (Intersection of W & O) 

Dickson (Available for O Trek)

Perros (Available for O Trek, closest to Grey)

*Pro Tip:There’s a big advantage of Vertice, if you’re able to get a last minute spot, you can pay in Chilean pesos in person in their Puerto Natales headquarters, whereas, with Las Torres this was only a possibility if you were a Chilean citizen and would only be able to pay in USD through credit card. 

This made staying at Vertice for a night half the cost of staying at Las Torres. We were only able to use this advantage for our last night for the Paine Grande campsite as Las Torres camps were more abundant with the W circuit. 

map to explore the patagonia region of Chile on the W trek

Day-by-Day W Trek Experience:

Day 1: And so it begins… 19 km/11,8 mi | Loop: Torre Norte Campsite – Lookout Base Los Torres

We darted to the bus station after a quick homecoming breakfast of waffles and homemade jam from this bomb Puerto Natales hostel. I highly recommend staying here as the staff were beyond friendly and accommodating. After roughly 2 hours, we arrived at the national park office and were quite confused… 

My partner and I talked to a ranger and he had us register but there was nowhere we could pay. He found some Dutchies that gave us a ride to the visitor’s center. Normally, you’d have to pay an additional $4K CLP per person so this was a sweet surprise. 

The visitor center was quite bougie. I was shocked to see a cafe with wine and luxury travel goods. It was a 5 minute walk from there to the first refugio/campsite name here. We were able to check in and leave our stuff as we were to hike Torres del Paine that day, meaning a straight up and back 19 km here. It was nice to not have to take all our things up the mountain. It was a pretty mellow hike until we reached El Chileno base point where you could choose to camp for a good morning start to the peak but was more basic facility-wise than the Torre Norte site. 

They had quesadillas, burgers and beer you could buy! I was ill-prepared as it was last minute and we had no clue how serviced everything would be. We still brought enough for breakfast and lunch. I decided to spring for the dinners as I know hangry me from a hike would want that vs my partner that opted out due to steep prices. 

The part from Chileno camp to Torres del Paine was quite steep with a lot of scramble and inexperienced climbers leading to bottlenecks galore. 

It was a sheer beauty at the top and so incredible to witness an alpine lake with a glacier with mountains in the form of a W behind, practically begging to be the trademark of the W trek. We descended at 4pm with the crowds as that was the time rangers told us to go down and closed it off.

Torres Paine and her glory at the top of the W trek

*Pro Tip: Make sure to get up early as you will be requested to turn around from a ranger by 4pm.

We got back just in time for the late dinner, if you don’t make it for the set dinner times then you’re out of luck. The thing I didn’t know was you could pay for dinner once you entered the campsite vs paying in $$ which would have saved sadly. 

It was a 3-course meal with a free welcome drink and I was sharing some leftovers with my partner. He lucked into getting a free dessert as there were extras. 

We were exhausted from the day and just went straight to the camp. Last minute meant that we had a fully equipped tent waiting for us and they were the nicest tents I’ve camped in with great sleeping pads.

Day 2: Insect infestation… 13.5 km/8.4 mi | Torre Norte Campsite – Frances Campsite

It’s time to leave the Central campsite and traverse to Camp Frances. We thought it would be a nice mellow day with a lot of downtime at camp. We were wrong, we didn’t make it to the Frances campsite till roughly 7 pm.
This was my favorite day though as there were so many yellow fields, it wasn’t crowded and we had stunning lake views the whole way. I finally had the energy to shower and got lucky because, as soon as I went, a long line appeared behind me. I was quite quick and once I was done, the girl behind me got it which was quite a shame as there were 5 showers available. 

Dinner was a lot nicer as my partner got lucky with a miscount.The tables are set up to be social so we chatted with 2 other cool couples happy to eat. 

We were all feeling it in our booties, and I knew I was getting quite the lower body workout. 

Hiking all day was perfect to wear you out, the tents were the same nice setup but we had a bug infestation. What looked like ticks were all over our tent and inside so we had to go on an evening spree of getting rid of them before we dozed off.

relecting at a lake and resting as the joureny on the W trek was longer than anticipated

Day 3: It’s the climb…again: 21.6 km/13.4 mi | Frances Campsite – Lookout Britanico – Paine Grande Campsite

We got a tip to leave our bags at rustic Campsite Italiano before attempting the middle of the W, Brittanico viewpoint. This was grand as it was about 1km straight up from Italiano. It’s a pretty rough day of scrambling and steep elevation climbs. We make it to the first mirador but it’s too windy to enjoy it so we head to the next.

Once at the top it’s an amazing 360 view of all the glaciers. We get back down and start making our way to camp. The winds are insane and I lose my partner for a moment and we spend 30 minutes trying to find each other. 

Once we do, we make it to our first vertice camp and last night on the W trek. This site is not as nice as the other company and the dinner is buffet style. We check in and get a tent that is curved downward so we roll, however we luck out again at dinner as they are too full to take tickets so my partner gets his appetite satiated and heads off to bed.

a rainbow comes out to play on the W trek next to the Paine Grande campsite

Day 4: Winds of fury! | Chill & travel back to Puerto Natales for me while partner did 20km round trip to see Grey Campsite 

Weather reports indicate 100+ km/hr winds. With this, I decided to chill and rest the booty while my partner ascends to the last part of the W and makes it grey. 

I munch on a burger and he comes back in record time showing a picture of low visibility. We wait till the next ferry and fear we may not get on. Luckily they take everyone on and we wait till the bus leaves at 7 pm. He goes in for a waterfall hike which I opt out of as signs indicate closure and wait indoors where I get some celebratory cookies. We then catch the bus and head back to Puerto Natales where we get overbooked in our hostel and figure out where to call it a night. Always an adventure!

Carnival Fitness Journey:

These 3 days and 3 nights challenged my entire physique and the ups definitely got me ready for the samba moves of Brazil. It’s almost time for Carnival in Rio and I can’t wait to share a soul-stirring experience with fellow folks with Cloud Connections cultural festival retreats. 

Ways to experience upcoming cultural celebrations:

Head to the Cloud Connections website to book a call and reserve your spot at the festival either for 2024 or book a call to inquire and learn how you can attend in 2025.

How to partake in World Carnival Festivities:

If you’re interested in learning more about Carnival around the world, check out these links and learn more:

Trinidad Caribbean Carnival

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