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The O circuit (or O trek) includes the W trek, plus an extension to the northern side of the mountains. In comparison with other trails in Torres del Paine, this extension behind the mountains is done only by a few adventurers that dream to have a stronger connection with nature. The views from John Garner Pass, combined with the classic sights of the W, make this trip an unforgettable experience! Additionally, we’re including a visit to the Glacier Perito Moreno and a wildlife experience with whales and penguins in Punta Arenas.
If you love trekking, this is a great way to visit the National Park Torres del Paine! The attractions behind the mountains (O circuit) are plenty of areas where you’ll feel the immensity of Patagonia in a special way. On the other hand, if you have the chance of adding some more days to your trip, don’t hesitate in adding El Chaltén (Fitz Roy & Torre Mounts), which is also an amazing place to visit!!!
The starting point for this itinerary -which is flexible- is El Calafate. This allows you to connect easily with direct flights to Buenos Aires and other cities of Argentina.
Furthermore, it gives you the chance to optionally incorporate El Chaltén (Fitz Roy & Torre Mounts) in your itinerary. El Chaltén is the capital for trekking in Argentina.
Day 1 is reserved for arrival and maybe an optional activity, such as a visit to a classic Patagonian Estancia (ranch).
Day 2 will be dedicated to visiting the Glacier Perito Moreno, with its impressive ice front and balconies. During this excursion, you can add a mini trekking on top of the ice, or a kayaking experience near the ice chunks and huge walls of the glacier.
Accommodation in El Calafate, in the hotel most convenient for you.
Transfer from El Calafate to Puerto Natales (4-5 hours away).
Puerto Natales (Chile) will be your gate to do the O circuit in Torres del Paine. During the afternoon, you’ll have a meeting to discuss technical aspects and receive relevant information (eventually some printed material) related to the trip.
Accommodation in Puerto Natales.
Notes about the O circuit:
Early transfer to the National Park Torres del Paine (2 hours approx). Arrival at Las Torres Sector, and check-in at the Welcome center to start the first hike.
Afterward, you’ll start your first trek, which is to the Serón sector. The trail leads you through an enchanted forest of Nothofagus covered by lichen, proof of the pristine landscapes around.
Hiking time: 4-6 hours. Medium difficulty.
Accommodation: Serón campsite (tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping mattresses are already there).
Today, you’ll hike across the foothills of the Paine mountain range, with awesome views along the way – including those from Lake Paine. The final destination is Dickson lake, where are the campsite and mountain hostel.
Accommodation at the full camp or at the mountain hostel, depending on what was agreed before.
Long hiking day: 8-10 hours (19,5 km). Difficult. Gained altitude, about 750 meters.
Today will be softer than the day before, which gives you some spare time to enjoy at Dickson during the morning.
Get inspired by the natural sceneries, including rivers, glaciers, and the Nothofagus woods (home to the famous Magellan Woodpecker!).
Hike to Los Perros sector. Upon arrival, the grey lagoon and its glacier will welcome you to this remote and particular area.
Camping only (which will be included).
4-5 hours, 9 km. Difficult.
Today will probably be the most difficult hiking day. However, you’ll get an outstanding reward: a spectacular view of the Patagonian Ice Field.
You’ll depart early in the morning from Los Perros and walk through a forest until reaching a slope. Then, you will ascend through a rocky and steep trail until reaching the famous John Gardner Pass.
This Pass offers amazing views (if the sky is not clouded) of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and the Glacier Grey.
You’ll continue hiking – now on the other side of the mountains – until reaching Grey Sector.
The hanging bridges will also be a nice attraction along the way!
9-12 hours, 22 km. Difficult trail. Total altitude: 1241 meters above sea level.
Overnight in camping or refuge.
Today is when the O circuit meets the W trek!
Relaxed hike (in comparison with the day before) to Paine Grande sector, with beautiful views of the Paine Grande Mount (3050 masl.) and surrounded in parts by forests of Nothofagus and Notros.
Once at the destination, you can enjoy a relaxed walk by the shores of Pehoé Lake.
Accommodation in Paine Grande; camping or refuge.
4 hous, 11 km. Medium difficulty.
Hike to the French Valley, one of the classics of the W trek. The first valley was the “Grey” (yesterday), and today comes the French one, with great views of the Horns of Paine and other attractions.
Return to French Sector (instead of Paine) and overnight there. Refuge or camping.
8-9 hours, 20,5 km. Difficult.
You’ll join today the French Sector with Las Torres (Central) Sector. The way is (in part) along a picturesque trail at the shores of Nordenskjöld lake. Wildlife will be present in the different kinds of birds around the lake, with chances of seeing Condors flying around.
4-5 hours, 14 km. Medium difficulty.
Accommodation in Central sector, in camping, refuge, or hotel.
Get ready to enjoy the “third leg” of the W trek!
You’ll ascend through the valley of the Ascencio river until reaching the famous base of the Towers of Paine.
On the way, a short stop at Refugio Chileno will help you to refresh and charge some energy. Then, continue your way up until reaching the beautiful lagoon at the base!
Get inspired by the views, and return to Las Torres (Central) sector.
Accommodation at Central Sector.
7-9 hours, 19,5 km. Difficult. Altitude: 870 m.a.s.l.
At an agreed upon time, transfer to Punta Arenas.
Rest of the day free.
Accommodation in Punta Arenas, in the hotel of your preference.
The idea for this day is to explore the Marine Reserve Francisco Coloane.
To reach, we’ll get on board a tour boat -very early in the morning- and navigate across the Chilean channels.
At a certain point, the crew will take the kayaks and we’ll paddle around for some time, with the purpose of seeing Humpback Whales (from December till March).
On the way, we’ll spot some magellan penguins and other typical animals.
Accommodation in Punta Arenas, in the hotel of your preference.
Transfer to the airport in order to board your flight to Santiago de Chile or another city.
If you count with time, we suggest you to visit the penguin rookery at Isla Magdalena, where you can walk among thousands of penguins (from October till March).
If you are interested in Patagonia, we invite you to check out our other Patagonia Tours.
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