In our final installment of this series Preparing for Patagonia it’s time to walk you through the very complex and overly frustrating process of booking your campsites along the Torres Del Paine circuit. Now whether you are doing the W or the O track it’s still a massive pain in the arse. Understandably so. This is a magnificent part of the world. And one that deserves to be maintained and cared for future generations. This year the booking process has changed.
So grab yourself a wine, beer, tea, coffee or whatever takes your fancy and let’s get ready to book your campsites!
Why do I need to book a campsite?
The Torres Del Paine trek has recently become a common travel destination goal. It has increased in popularity. With that brings more people, more rubbish and the potential of more things going wrong. By having campsites limited, the Park Rangers, can monitor and restrict how many people are in the park at any given time. It also allows the Rangers to close off areas for rehabilitation.
Yes, there are plenty of people who sneak in without a booking and without paying. Do you seriously want to be the flog that turned up late at night, upset the Ranger and made a fuss? You’ll be eternally remembered as a dick by a group of international strangers who will forever disrespect your memory.
What’s the differences in campsites and refugios?
A campsite gives you access to a dedicated camp spot to set up your tent.
The refugios are large cabins, with mixed dorm rooms. Many of these have meals available to purchase.
Depending on which company you book through you may have access to hot water, toilets and the option to purchase snacks and meals.
How to book a campsite in Torres Del Paine
Step 1 – Pick which trek you want to do – W, O or Q?
Once you have decided which trek you want to do pencil out your starting campsite and dates. You’ll need to be flexible with dates and campsites.
Step 2 – Get your wallet ready
Sadly the campsites are not cheap. Fantasticosur is the most expensive of the companies to book with. Across the three companies that require payment, a basic campsite starts at $10 US per person per night and in some cases go well over the $100USD per person per night! The refugios are even more pricey.
Payments can be done through Webpay or Paypal for non-Chilean residents.
Step 3 – Check availability and start making those reservations.
On all three websites. At once.
Now Conaf and Fantasticosur have instant booking systems. With Vertice requiring that you to send in a request.
We found Vertice to have been the most efficient at getting back to us answering all our questions and with a confirmed booking.
Then get your prepared wallet and start to book all the things. To ensure you don’t get stuck with an incomplete itinerary, it is important to make all of your reservations on the same day.
Step 4 – Check your reservations
And then double check them. Make sure that you have ALL your campsites booked. Check for correct dates, correct hire of any gear and any meals booked.
Step 5– Print it all out.
Once you have booked all your campsites and any extras print out the confirmed bookings. You’ll need to show the rangers along the way your completed bookings.
If trekking for days on end isn’t your thing or you’re looking for something more to do in the area why not try;
Cruise through Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
Bike cruise around the town
Day tour to Torres Del Paine
What campsites belong to who?
- Refugio and Camping Las Torres: Book with fantasticosur
- Chileno Refugio and Camping: Book with fantasticosur
- (NOT AVAILABLE FOR 2017-2018) Camp Torres: Book with CONAF
- Camp Seron: Book with fantasticosur
- Refugio Dickson: Book with Vertice Patagonia
- Camp Los Perros: Book with Vertice Patagonia
- Camp Paso: Book with CONAF
- Refugio Grey: Book with Vertice Patagonia
- Refugio Paine Grande: Book with Vertice Patagonia
- Camp Italiano: Book with CONAF
- Camping El Frances: Book with fantasticosur
- Refugio Cuernos: Book with fantasticosur
CONAF Vertice Patagonia fantasticosur
Where to stay in Puerto Natales?
Puerto Natales has a lot of variety when it comes to accommodation. From cheap hostels to 5 star hotels. We stayed at the Patagonia Adventure Hostel. It was a quaint place with lovely staff. If we could have gotten into the Wild Hostel we would have stayed there as well as we had an amazing burger when we arrived from El Calafate. During peak trekking season hostels in Puerto Natales sell out fast. So best to book yourself a bed before you go.
Read our guide on where to stay in Puerto Natales
Things that you must have before arriving at Torres Del Paine National Park
All campsites must be booked before entering the park. Including a print out of your consecutive bookings, your passport, and cash to pay the park entry fee, shuttle bus and ferry.
All your own food including snacks. In saying that there are small shops at some of the campsites, and you can buy meals from the refugios. Meals need to be booked in advance. You can pay in cash or on card in the refugios. Given the remote nature of the park we suggest carrying cash incase the EFTPOS machines aren’t working. These aren’t cheap meals and remember that it required someone to physically take these products into the national park. You’ll be paying a premium for these.
Clothing and camping gear. You can easily shop my Amazon store for all your hiking gear.
Want to know what snacks to pack? Or need some guidance on your packing list?
Have you been to Torres Del Paine?
If you’ve got any tips or tricks let us know in the comments below.
~Update – August 2018~
So a quick update as of August 2018. The 2017 year of bookings the campsite booking was really sucky. After completing the trek ourselves (and loved it) there are some really large stand out issues. Mainly that you need to go to three websites to book. 2017 was the first year that compulsory bookings were required.
Yes, the booking process sucks. It’s difficult and currently unreliable. Whilst we had no issue with Vertice in booking in June, this was not the case for most people come July. During our time in Puerto Natales, and during a natural disaster no less, the O Trek was closed. Then the Vertice offices were shut. And then so was Fantastico Sur and Conaf. This is South America. Shit goes wrong. You pick up your knickers and move on.
Don’t turn up without a booking. You may be refused entry to an area, turned away by rangers or pushed on to another campsite. If your hostel tells you to just turn up don’t believe them. We watched people be turned away from the fully booked campsites and made to walk for several more hours til the next campsite.
If you haven’t gotten all your campsites booked for the 2018-19 season then consider hiking elsewhere. Or just using the campsites that you do have booked and enjoy this wonderful part of the world.
Sadly there is no magical way to book a campsite. The only other option is to consider booking through a tour company. The 2018/19 season will see even more restrictions on booking a campsite in Torres Del Paine. Get in early.
As of March 2018 ALL the campsite management companies have instant booking systems up and running. This doesn’t mean that the booking systems will work when you are trying to use them.
Please don’t email me hate mail when you can’t get your campsites booked.
I have zero control over what happens.
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.
Thanks for this useful article !
We plan to do the trek coming November but I am currently stuggling with the online booking as I cannot find any of these, for the three companies.
You mention here above that “As of March 2018 ALL the campsite management companies have instant booking systems up and running.”
Could you share the web links to these instant booking systems ? I fail to find any of them and would really like to book my trek.
Thanks in advance !
You’ll need to check each website. They do update them regularly 🙁
Do you know when they open bookings for the 2018-19 season?
The CONAF reservation system is still not working up until now (it should’ve been working weeks ago)… Really frustrating coz I want to have everything sorted out for my trip in February 2019. Is there another way to make reservations that you know of (maybe an email address), or should you advise to just wait and reload the site every now and then?
I’d suggest just retrying again. OR you can pay the $$$ to have a tour company book for you. We met a lot of people along the trek who had done this.
This is somewhere I’ve wanted to go and photograph for so long! Thanks so much for the great info 🙂
Okay so I don’t want to seem uncultured, but I literally just heard about Patagonia this year hahah. Thanks for breaking all the terms down and giving a detailed explanation. I really want to go now!
Great read very informative! I’ve never been but good to know if i ever do!
This is so helpful. I want to use it for my first ever camping trip this summer.
I wish that I had found this blog earlier, it’s so helpful!! We had no idea that it would be this complicated 🙁 Does anyone have any suggestions on alternatives for the area?? We’re flying into El Calafate. Would appreciate ANY help or suggestions people can offer. We’re coming from Australia so really hoping to still try and make the most of our time there. Thanks in advance 🙂
Are you going to El Chalten? It’s a three hour bus ride from El Calafate. Absolutely stunning! Amazing hikes, super cute town. Well worth a visit. I wish we had more time there.
Even if you can’t get the campsites on the W trek there are other campsites available. Pehoe for example. You can base yourself there and do day treks.
Thank you so much Jean! (apologies for my slow reply!) We ended up getting a couple of nights on the W and we’re also going to fit in a trip up to El Chalten – can’t wait!! Thank you again, you’ve been incredibly helpful!
I’m having the same problem with Vertice. The dates I want for Fantastico Sur are available, but I sent the request 2 days ago to Vertice (with follow up emails) and haven’t gotten a reply yet. Because I haven’t heard back from Vertice, I can’t book with Fantastico Sur. I’m trying to email them at the ventas5 email now. You may want to update your blog – Vertice is no longer the most efficient and there is no way to check all 3 websites at once.
Sorry to hear you and others are having this issue. Our experience was wonderful with Vertice. Mind you we did start the booking process months ago. Seems like many people have ignored our advice and are trying to get last minute campsites, which could be causing delays for all involved. I’ve let Vertice know of the feedback here and hopefully someone gets back to you soon!
The team shared a FB post today which you can see here –
Many of the campsites are already booked out for the season.
We just spent a few days in El Chalten and found it to be just amazing! Could be a good alternative?
I have been trying to book with Vertice for almost 2 months. Calling and emailing. No response. I already booked the rest of my trip including 3 nights camping for Dec 29-jan4. I did not wait till last minute and still having issues.
Are you following their FB account? About two weeks ago they posted that Grey campsite was fully booked until February! Also at this time the O Circuit was closed so they had (well all companies) issues trying to rebook guests who couldn’t do the O circuit.
In all honesty if you haven’t heard from them I wouldn’t bet on being able to get those campsites and just working with what you have got.
Hi, I’ve had trouble with Vertice booking for Jan 2018. Trip advisor forum suggested emailing Ventas01@verticepatagonia.cl, then Ventas02…., ventas03…. etc until you get a reply. I got a reply within the hour via ventas05.
Don’t ask why/what but worked. Still not confirmed booking but at least I have a contact!
We’re having a total mare trying to get hold of Vertice for January 2018 – did you have any luck in the end??
Thank you very much for the infos on the trek. I have decided to walk the Q and have made all necessary reservation inquiries. CONAF and Fantasticosur were pretty simple and straightforward to book. Unfortunately it took about a week after submitting the request to Vertice to receive a confirmation e-mail, which was great. However, after sending them the information required on the name of the person booking, passport number, country where reservation holder will be paying from, I never heard back from them. I have no idea on how to pay for the reservation as they never send me a webpay link or another e-mail. It has been way past the 48 hours and I have been sending them follow up e-mails almost every day for the past 10 days, still nothing. It is very irritating and frustrating and very confusing as I don’t really know now what’s going to happen…Does anybody have any advice or went through something similar? Please share your thoughts and insights….Thank you very much!
Have you tried contacting them via their Facebook page? We had no issues booking with Vertice at all. Had it all confirmed within 24hrs
thanks for this! I’m thinking to visit in November so I will definitely be checking out your other posts on how to visit
Oh you’ll need to book asap if you’re thinking of going in November!!
oooh crap… good to know!
Thanks for this post. I’d been thinking about trekking in Patagonia but I had no idea it was so complicated. Super helpful.
Great blog! Super thorough 🙂 🙂
Thank you for this. My sister and I are planning this for next spring and it was so hard finding information on the campsites. Your post is really helpful!
These are some super helpful tips! I would love to camp here, I’ve heard nothing but great things. Thanks for sharing!
Wow, I had no idea it would be so complicated! I’m not surprised it is expensive though, it is such a beautiful area
This is so helpful – both thorough and specific – thank you!