Torres del Paine, Patagonia Chile


The three Towers of Paine (Spanish: Torres del Paine) in southern Chile are gigantic granite monoliths shaped by the forces of glacial ice. They are located in Patagonia, 400 km (244 miles) north of Punta Arenas, and about 2,500 km south of the capital Santiago.

The Central Tower of Paine (about 3,400 m or 11,000 feet) is the highest of the three. It was first climbed in 1963 by Chris Bonington and Don Whillans.

The North Tower of Paine was first climbed by Guido Monzino and the South Tower of Paine by Armando Aste.

The Torres del Paine National Park, declared Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 1978, is located there.

The national park (with an area of 2,400 km2) is a popular hiking destination. There are clearly marked paths and many refugios which provide shelter and basic services. Views are breathtaking. Hikers can opt for a day trip to see the towers, walk the popular "W" route in about five days, or trek the full circle in 8-9 days. It is a national park and thus hikers are not allowed to stray from the paths. Camping is only allowed at specified campsites, and wood fires are prohibited in the whole park.