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Six Options For If You Can’t Get Torres del Paine Camping Reservations

You’re planning on heading south to hike in the wild lands of Patagonia and a trip to Torres del Paine National Park has long been on your list.

But there’s one problem: all of the campsites and refugios in the park are fully booked on the dates you plan to arrive.

What do you do? Is there an alternative?

What to do if you can’t get Torres del Paine camping reservations for your dates

Many prospective Torres del Paine hikers are facing the situation above and finding that it’s impossible to make camping reservations online for the dates that they want because Vertice Patagonia or Las Torres (the two companies who own the campsites and refugios along the W and O) are sold out.

How to visit Torres del Paine, Patagonia, if campsites are fully booked

Because of the popularity of the trek, dates in December and January in Torres del Paine get quickly booked up.

However, there are ways that you still hike the W (or at least some of it) even if the campsites or refugios you want in Torres del Paine are fully booked.

Speaking of which, if you need guidance on the booking process, I’ve written this huge 5,000-word overview of making camping reservations for Torres del Paine National Park.

If you’ve managed to book some campsites in Torres del Paine but not all:

Nowadays, you can use Torres Hike to make reservations along the whole W and O Circuit. This website basically shows you the availability for all campsites along the route, even though they’re operated by two different companies and you would otherwise have to book them separately.

However, if for whatever reason you’ve managed to make incomplete reservations, your best option is to contact the relevant company directly. Sometimes there are glitches with the booking system and you might find that they are able to help you get the date that you need.

What to do if you can't get camping reservations for Torres del Paine
You can still day-trip into Torres del Paine if you don’t have camping reservations and see awesome sights like this.
  • Vertice Patagonia: via the email address [email protected]
  • Las Torres (used to be Fantastico Sur): via the email address [email protected]
  • CONAF: all of their campgrounds are now closed in Torres del Paine and I don’t think they will re-open.

If you can’t get reservations at Frances, Los Cuernos, or Chileno

As the smallest campgrounds along the W and O, Frances, Los Cuernos, and Chileno can be the pinch points for those trying to book pitches or spots in refugios along both treks. However, if you’ve managed to secure your other reservations, all is not lost. Instead, you can stay two nights at Paine Grande.

Rather than hike from Paine Grande into the Valle Frances and then continue east to Frances or Los Cuernos, you can hike back to Paine Grande (there’s even a brand new trail that links Paine Grande and the Italiano Ranger Station, meaning you can do this as a loop rather than retracing the same path) and spend the night there.

The next morning, you then hike straight to Torres Central at the very bottom of the hike up to the Towers; it’s not too long a hike (around 17km) and should take you around seven hours. The following morning, you can then hike straight up to the Towers and back again from Torres Central to finish the W or O.

What previous clients have said:

“It’s refreshing to find someone with insider knowledge that can take you off the beaten track, away from the mainstream. I particularly liked the detail you give; where to stay and your favourite places. We stayed in some lovely places because of your knowledge, places that we would probably never have found. I also liked the fact that we could ask you questions whilst on the move. Lots to like Steph!”

Sharon, United Kingdom
Traveled to Patagonia, January to February 2019

If you’ve not been able to book any campsites or refugios in Torres del Paine:

2. Check out availability on Torres Hike

Torres Hike shows you the availability of accommodation in the national park and allows you to book it directly through them, rather than having to go via the Vertice Patagonia, Las Torres 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.

If you want to save time, the website Torres Hike can show you the availability of accommodation and allows you to book it directly through them, rather than having to go via the Vertice Patagonia and Las Torres (previously known as Fantastico Sur) 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. You can then book directly with them, rather than having to try and book through the other websites!

3. Visit the companies’ offices when you arrive in Puerto Natales

This is a slightly riskier option and one only to be tried as a last resort.

I know that last year, many people who hadn’t been able to secure reservations for Torres del Paine actually turned up at the offices of Vertice Patagonia and Las Torres in Puerto Natales to get cancellations for campgrounds or dorm beds in the park.

I suggest doing this a couple of days before you plan on beginning your hike.

You could potentially also do this by emailing them a week or two before you plan on hiking and seeing if they have cancellations at that time.

4. Go via an agency based in Puerto Natales

Although reservations for camping and dorms online appear to be impossible for December and January, many tour agencies based in Puerto Natales will have booked out spaces for prospective clients, meaning it’s still possible to get reservations.

How to hike in Torres del Paine when the campsites and refugios are fully booked
Hiking the W independently means you can walk at your own pace and avoid large groups.

This comes at a premium, however. By hiking the W without a guide, you can expect to pay in the region of $95,000 CLP ($145 USD); with a tour agency, it costs from $1,500 USD.

However, if you’ve 100% sure you want to do the trek and are willing to pay for a guide that you frankly don’t need because the trails are so well-marked, Chile Nativo is the company that I would recommend.

Interestingly, Chile Nativo are also offering independent tours of the W trek for $1,195 USD, which basically includes all of your transportation, accommodation and food – but no guide, as well as fast-track (three-day) W treks.

They also offer a 5% discount to Worldly Adventurer readers (make sure you include “Worldly Adventurer” in the referral discount box!).

If you’re desperate to hike the W and money isn’t an issue, this is probably your best option.

5. Opt for day hikes around Torres del Paine with accommodation in Puerto Natales

Another alternative is to day-trip into the park from Puerto Natales, the closest town that’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive away. Obviously, this will require a lot of driving back and forth.

A day trip to Torres del Paine is possible either with:

  • A rental car. You can expect to spend around $40,000 CLP ($59 USD) per day (I recommend as they source all of the possible companies available in the region). The good thing about this is that you can choose exactly which part of the park you want to visit and can do some of the hikes in one day. I’ve also written a guide to the 15 best treks in Torres del Paine National Park, which should be very useful.
  • Go with a tour from Puerto Natales. Most day tours only visit a few viewpoints in the park and might include a bit of a walk along the trail to Glacier Grey. You can expect to spend $40,000 CLP ($59 USD) for this. Some agencies also do the trek up to the base of the towers in one day (nine hours), from $40,000 CLP ($59 USD). Be aware that you’ll probably be part of a very large group.

However, if you want to hike as much of the W as possible, I would strongly recommend that you hire a car.

It is easy enough to do the trek to Glacier Grey (22 kilometers round-trip/seven hours to and from where the catamaran ferry drops you at Refugio and Camping Paine Grande) in one day.

Moon Chile guidebook

This is also the case for the trek to the base of the towers (19 kilometers round-trip/seven hours walk from the car park of Refugio and Camping Torres Central).

Having your own rental car means that you can leave Puerto Natales early in the morning and return as late as you please.

Our in-depth guide on the best hotels in Puerto Natales provides accommodation options across a variety of budgets and travel styles.

6. Hike the W trek in Torres del Paine without staying at all of the campgrounds

An easier option if you want to hike as much of the W trek as possible is with day trips from within the park.

This allows you to do much of the trail, without having to drive two hours to and from Puerto Natales each day, but also means that you don’t have to have all of the campsites for the full W trek booked.

Bus Sur are now offering transfers between the different bus stops in Torres del Paine (see schedule here). This means you could get a bus from Laguna Amarga (where there are minibusses that connect with the start of the hike to the towers) to the Pudeto catamaran ferry dock (where you cross to begin the hike to Glacier Grey) or from Camping Pehoe (a cheap campground) to Hotel Lago Grey (where there is a boat across Lago Grey to Campamento Grey for ice trekking or kayaking), or other combinations if you needed to.

You will need to reserve your ticket in advance online or at their office in Puerto Natales, but this does mean you could spend a couple of days in the national park and do some of the hikes, all without needing a rental car.

Alternatively, a rental car does make things easier (and again, I recommend as they source all of the possible companies available in the region), as it gives you more time and ease with which to travel across the park.

Doing day trips into Torres del Paine is an option when the campsites are fully booked
Hiking up to the base of the towers is possible in one day

In three days and two nights, you could:

  • Day One: Drive to the Pudeto catamaran ferry stop and leave the car in the parking lot there. Take the ferry (9am) across to Paine Grande and do the day hike to the Glacier Grey viewpoints (22 kilometers round-trip/seven hours). Return to Paine Grande and stay overnight (this campground is one of the largest in the park and therefore there is more chance of getting a reservation there).
  • Day Two: Hike east up to the Mirador Frances (20 kilometers round-trip/six and a half hours) or, if you’re very fit, all the way up to the Mirador Britanico (28.6 kilometers round-trip/ten hours) and either stay another night at Paine Grande or take the catamaran ferry back to your car at 6.35pm and drive to the Torre Central campground to stay the night.
  • Day Three: If you stayed again at Paine Grande, take the catamaran ferry at 9am back across the lake, pick up the car, and drive to Refugio and Camping Torres Central where you park in the car park. Hike up to the towers (19 kilometers round-trip/seven hours’ walk) and return to the car where you either camp at Torre Central (again, another of the largest campgrounds, often with availability) or return to Puerto Natales*

Again, I recommend reading this post about day hikes in the park, which makes it clearer how you can do the above through its section about itineraries.

*with this route, you are effectively hiking the W, just without the middle section from Italiano to Torres Central, which is actually the least interesting part of the trek, as it’s just flat along the edge of Lago Nordenskjöld.

7. Hike the W trek without staying at the “official” campgrounds in the park

As with the suggested route above, you will need a rental car for this option.

What to do if camping in Torres del Paine is fully booked up
The view from the road next to Camping Pehoe isn’t bad…

With three days and two nights you could:

  • The night before: Camp at Camping Pehoe, a 10-minute from the catamaran ferry. Sites cost $11,000 CLP ($16 USD) per person or $90,000 CLP ($132 USD) for a two-person dome (without any furniture, so bring a sleeping bag). They have 24-hour electricity and a restaurant. The facilities are good, with covered picnic tables and large toilet blocks with hot showers. It would probably be worth getting here the night before so that you could have your camp set up and get the 9am catamaran the next day.
  • Day One: Drive to the Pudeto catamaran ferry stop and leave the car in the parking lot there. Take the ferry (9am) across to Paine Grande and do the day hike to the Glacier Grey viewpoints (22 kilometers round-trip/seven hours). Return to Paine Grande and take the 6.35pm catamaran ferry that evening.
  • Day Two: Take the catamaran back across the lake at 9am and hike to either Mirador Frances or Mirador Britanico (as above) and return on the 6.35pm catamaran ferry that evening – unfortunately, this means you would be using the catamaran twice, at a cost of $113,000 CLP ($120 USD) p/p.
  • Day Three: Hike up to the base of the towers (as above) and either spend a final night in Camping Pehoe or drive back to Puerto Natales.*

Alternatively, you could stay at one of the other hotels and cabins within Torres del Paine National Park (click the link for my favorites!), from where you could do the same-day hikes mentioned above.

The two most affordable options include: Cabanas Lago Tyndall (around $110,000 ($161 USD) four-person cabin) and the nicer, but more expensive Pampa Lodge ($205,000 double CLP ($300 USD).

Be aware that most accommodation in the park is very, very expensive and also gets booked up fast, so you’ll need to make reservations early.

*with this route, you are effectively hiking the W, just without the middle section from Italiano to Torres Central, which is actually the least interesting part of the trek, as it’s just flat along the edge of Lago Nordenskjöld.

Have you found an alternative to needing camping reservations in the park? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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What are your options if you can't get a campsite or refugio booking in Torres del Paine? Find out about your six options that'll still allow you to hike in the park. #patagonia #torresdelpaine #hiking #camping #southamerica #travel #worldlyadventurer


Saturday 16th of December 2023

Hi! Wondering if it is possible to hike from Chileano at sunrise, to the Mirador, then back to entrance to catch a bus to make back to Puerto Natales by 17:00?? Anyone know?! I can see a Big Sur bus at 11:00, but figured that might be a very tight fit.

Steph Dyson

Sunday 14th of January 2024

Hi Amanda, probably not. I think it would be quite tight. Steph

Rose Mansfield

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Thank you for this info! I used it to make our plans after a couple of the campsites were full when we wanted to go. We did three day hikes, to grey glacier and brittanica from Paine grande and the Torres mirador from central camping.

Steph Dyson

Sunday 14th of January 2024

No problem Rose. I'm glad you had a good time! Steph

Kiara Medina

Friday 28th of July 2023

Hi there, thanks so much for this guide! I was unable to get reservations for Los Cuernos and Chileno so I booked 2 nights for Paine Grande followed by a night at Torres Central. After hiking The Towers from Torres Central, does that conclude the trek? Also, is there anything big or important I'd be missing by following the path I've outlined above?

Steph Dyson

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Hi Kiara, yes that does finish the trek. You will miss out on the French Valley but it can be hit and miss anyway because of the weather. Steph

Hunter Dash

Wednesday 5th of July 2023

Hi, for last day of my O circuit trip i could not get Chileno site but was able to get the central site. This is thru lastorres site.. Is it possible to to do sunrise hike to the towers from Central site? if so, what time we need to start from Central. i am a fit hiker but please remember last day of the trek so by that time i did bit of hiking. Or do you suggest any options? Thanks so much!!

Steph Dyson

Wednesday 5th of July 2023

Hi Hunter, it's four hours from Torres Central so you just about can get to the towers for sunrise, it'll just be a really early start! Steph


Monday 26th of September 2022

This is a very helpful article. I am looking at camping for 1 night at Camping Pehoe - their website seems operational as I was able to reserve a spot however trying to find someone to reserve a tent there is like a black hole. I've tried WhatsApp, Facebook, IG, called them (phone isn't working), you name it. Nothing. Should I just take my chances? Also, you mention its 10 mins from Pudeto - do you mean by bus? Otherwise it looks to be a 7km walk looking at Google. Not sure you can hop on/off the bus if you time it right? I've booked a Bus Sur to get there but assumed I'd have to walk to Pudeto next day.

Steph Dyson

Wednesday 12th of October 2022

Yes in a vehicle - you will need to walk there. Hmm, I'm not sure what to suggest. They probably have plenty of tents but if they don't then you're a bit stuffed. I would just keep trying them via the above means. As we're not in the season yet then they might not be checking them much. Good luck! Steph