The Torres del Paine is the jewel in the crown of Chilean Patagonia. Lying on the border with Argentina, the park features wonders like the infamous W trek, abundant wildlife, and the imposing Paine Massif. However, despite its fame, the Torres del Paine is somewhat of a challenge to get to – but that’s what keeps this wilderness so pristine. Although Puerto Natales does have an airport now, flights are infrequent, and non-existent in the winter months. To reach the national park, most visitors fly to Punta Arenas. Next, they’ll take the three-hour bus journey to Puerto Natales, the gateway to the Torres del Paine. Once you’re in this small Patagonian town, the next step is navigating Puerto Natales bus station to reach the park. But never fear – in this article, we show you the ropes.
Before you set off: Things to do in Puerto Natales
So – you’ve made your journey from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, and you’re ready to explore the Torres del Paine National Park. But not so fast – there are plenty of interesting things to see and do before you set off. Puerto Natales is a charming town, so take the opportunity to sample some traditional Chilean cuisine and craft beer. Or, if you can’t wait to start exploring, an alternative day trip from Puerto Natales is the Milodon Cave. Discovered in 1895, this impressive cave contained the fossil of a giant sloth. Weighing over 900 pounds and measuring 10 feet long, this fossil was the remains of the Mylodon Darwinii.
Puerto Natales bus station to Torres del Paine
But without further ado – here’s how you get from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine. You could hire a private car, but catching the bus is by far the most economical option. The national park is about a two-hour journey from Puerto Natales bus station – however, it’s important to bear in mind the timetable is more limited during the low season (March – October). Two companies run routes to the Torres del Paine. Full details of their prices and timetable are below:
Buses Gomez operates two departures from Puerto Natales bus station, one in the morning at 7.00am and one in the afternoon at 2.30pm. The bus costs about 10,000 Chilean pesos, or roughly $16 USD. If you catch the 7 o’clock bus, you reach the Laguna Amarga entrance at 9.00am and the Pudeto entrance at 10.00am. If you catch the afternoon service, you arrive at 4.30pm and 5.30pm respectively. Returns to Puerto Natales are at 1.30pm and 7.00pm from Pudeto and 2.30pm and 7.45pm from Laguna Amarga.
Buses Maria Jose
Buses Maria Jose also operates a morning and afternoon departure from Puerto Natales bus station, one at 7.00am and at 2.30pm. The price is the same as Buses Gomez, so often it’s just a question of who has space. Arrivals are the same as Buses Gomez, but Buses Maria Jose operates returns from Pudeto at 1.00pm and 7.00pm and from Laguna Amarga at 2.30pm and 7.45pm.
What to do when you get there
Which entrance you decide to disembark at will depend on which route around the park you intend to take. Either way, it’s important to remember that you need to pay your entrance fee into the park. For foreign adults, it’s 21,000 Chilean pesos, and for kids, it’s 6000. Once you’ve paid for your ticket, you’re all set – it’s time to start exploring!