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Torres del Paine and use of fire

March 28th, 2011
conaf

Fuente: Conaf

In 2005 a fire caused by a tourist devastated 15 000 hectares of native vegetation in the Torres del Paine National Park. Careless visitor behavior and the influence of wind that quickly gave strength to the fire caused one of the biggest fires in the history of Torres del Paine.
Conaf estimates that since 1980 in Torres del Paine have been more than 18 fires caused by carelessness of tourists, affecting about 17,000 hectares of this beautiful place in Chilean Patagonia.
Most of the fires were caused by human action, neglect and reckless use of fire, like the last accident on February 14th, when the rain fortunately helped control the flames caused by an Israeli tourist, who made a bonfire in an unauthorized place in Torres del Paine National Park.
For this reason it is essential to respect the camping areas in Torres del Paine and indications of park officials.
If you plan to visit this amazing place in the Chilean Patagonia, we ask you to take extreme precaution with the fire. Take into consideration the following recommendations and help us care of Torres del Paine:
  • In the Torres del Paine National Park you can camp only in authorized places.
  • Do not throw cigarettes and matches on the ground. They can also cause fire and also pollute visually.
  • You are not allowed to make any kind of bonfire outdoor. Fire can be set only in equipped marked places (shelters, areas for camping, etc.).. Before leaving the place, make sure that the fire is completely extinguished.
  • In Torre del Paine is permitted only the use of camp stove (but you cannot enter the park with benzine stove)
  • If you see an seat of fire and you cannot control it by yourself, immediately notify guard of park.
  • Always let the guard of park know about any kind of plume of smoke in sight, even if it seems to be small and not dangerous.
  • In the case of fire always run downhill the fire. The fire rises much faster uphill.
  • Remember that in case of detecting an incident of this nature must be reported to the numbers: 130 (CONAF); 132 (Fire department) or 133 (Police).
In Chile, the season of forest fires begins in spring (October-November), when atmospheric conditions favor the spread of fire, and lasts almost until April-May. At this time you should be particularly careful in forests and grasslands.
Help us take care of Torres del Paine being responsible with the use of fire and denouncing the reckless behaviors.

Hiking in Torres del Paine: An unique experience

February 28th, 2011

Hiking, Torres del Paine, PatagoniaA journey by unknown routes is always a challenge for those, who want to go into areas that man has not intervened and are kept intact. The desire to experience and connect with nature has encouraged many people around the world to visit Torres del Paine Park.

There is no doubt that the highest of Los Cuernos and impressive mountains make that the Park is a unique destination for lovers of outdoor sports and hiking.

What do you need to take to climb in Torres del Paine?

Torres del Paine are considered one of the toughest and wildest climbs of the world. Their summits have an average of 2-3 thousand meters high, and climatic variations that occur as one is climbing, and taking in consideration occasional winds of 100 kilometers per hour, turn the escalation of Las Torres into extremely challenging.

Therefore, it is necessary to submit documents confirming and authorizing your ability to climb.

The first thing you will need is permission required by the Government of Chile, both from domestic and foreign tourists. The permission is checked by the administration of the Park, which is located on the northern edge of Lake Toro. The expedition leader must present there documents to identity all members.

Chileans must prove their expertise in mountain sports and present a special curriculum with specified full names and phones numbers in case of accident. Foreigners must submit an authorization from the Directorate of Borders and Boundaries (DIFROL), which can be obtained online on the website of the institution or through the Embassy of Chile in each country, or in the provincial government of Puerto Natales.

It is important to mention that all members of the expedition must have accident insurance, which should also be presented for the Park Administration, with other documents.

What are the best peaks to climb?

While there are many interesting and difficult peaks to climb in the Torres del Paine National Park, three Las Torres are the most famous and present the biggest challenge for many climbers. Among them, the South tower is the highest and most difficult to achieve.

While the North Tower measures 2,260 meters, the central 2,460 meters, the South Tower reaches the 2,500 meters.

Who have undertaken the task of climbing this mountain, know that the perception of low height is misleading, because the winds of 100 km / hr and snowstorms make this adventure really difficult.

What is the best time to climb?

The spring season is, without doubt, the ideal time to hiking. Since October, when the season begins, until February, when summer is ending, the weather permits to climb without the complications in Patagonia. Still, blizzards and storms may occur, so it is advisable to go prepared for all types of weather.

The camping ground conditions to make stops along the way, involve necessity of taking tents and seepage water, cooking utensils to prepare your own food. In order to reach the highest points of the peaks without unpleasant surprises, the main recommendations are:

Climb the circuit in the opposite direction as the rotating hands of a clock: Patagonia’s winds are quite strong and make the trip to the left means never have reached them.

Use insect repellent: Although the weather in Torres del Paine is characterized by being cold, mosquitoes can become a big problem if you don’t take some kind of protection. When the strong of wind drops to four miles per hour, it results in the appearance of these nasty insects.

Don’t make a fire outside camps: In 2005 a fire caused by a tourist who started a fire outside the camping area, destroyed 1,500 hectares of Torres del Paine. It is very important to enjoy the wonderful natural environment and preserve it for future generations.

Making camp-fires is strictly prohibited in the Patagonia.

Do not buy bottled water: The water in many lakes and rivers Park is safe to drink.

Hotel Las Torres is an excellent choice for athletes wishing to stay a few days at the foot of the imposing mountains and take advantage of the peace of this place. Hotel also offers a lot of tours for each type of guest who enjoy wildlife such as hiking, horseback and vehicle expeditions.

Each of them provides an opportunity to meet with mountains, observe and understand the flora and fauna. You can’t miss it…

Practical information about Torres del Paine

February 17th, 2011

Declared by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, the Torres del Paine National Park is one of the main attractions in the world. It stands out for its beautiful landscapes and diversity of natural elements: glaciers, lagoons, lakes, mountains, accompanied by a beautiful flora and fauna.

Located 113 kilometers in the north of Puerto Natales, between the Andes and Patagonian plateau, the Park covers an area of 242 hectares, in the central part there is Paine mountain range formed by the three towers (Tres Torres). Some of them have a very particular shape, as the famous horns of Paine (Los Cuernos).

If you are planning a trip to this wonderful place, then we give you a series of useful information that will make your trip through the Torres del Paine Park unforgettable.

How to get there

The Torres del Paine National Park is located in the south of Chile. All the year is available direct access by land, through a paved road of 250 km. between Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales. Next, Route 9 North (150 km.) takes us just to the point: Portería Lago Sarmiento and Laguna Amarga.

Recently was enabled the Y-290 road, known as Lago Porteno, route 80 miles long, that connects Puerto Natales with the Park: Portería Serrano and Park Administration.

Between October and April, several bus companies make daily trips from Puerto Natales to the National Park. Their destination is the Administration Office of Park (entrance through Laguna Amarga, via Castle Hill).

For more information about the access roads to the park, review the guide prepared by Hotel Las Torres.

Open hours

Entrance to Torres del Paine Park can be done through four gates. All of them are open 8.30 – 20.00 in the period October – April, and 8.30 – 17.30 between May and September.

Climate

Although the park is classified as a zone of “mild temperate with rain and no dry season”, weather conditions during the year are various, and it is very difficult to define the exact weather.

In terms of rainfall, it is observed that during all months of the year, average rainfall exceeds 40 mm, concentrating between March and April.

The region is characterized by the fresh summer; the maximum temperature in January (the hottest month) does not exceed 16 ° C, but has a large thermal homogeneity with variations that do not exceed 12 ° C.

Anyway, tourists say that in Torres del Paine can be found all four seasons just in one day, so we advise you to prepare for… everything.

Fees

The park entrance fees in high season (October – April) are:

  • National: $ 4,000
  • Foreigners: $ 15,000
  • Children: $ 500

During the low season (May to September) rates are:

  • Chilean: $ 3,000
  • Foreigners: $ 8,000
  • Children: $ 400

History

The Torres del Paine National Park was created in 1959 and declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. Since 1975 it is in charge of National Forestry Corporation (CONAF).

His natural creation dates back 12 thousand years ago, when first inhabitants arrived to Patagonia, followed by Tehuelches (“People of the South”), who inhabited a vast area of the park.

Some damages on land which was used for livestock caused the concern of governments and the community to preserve so rich and attractive area. From this moment has begun a period of maintenance that led to the enactment of this National Park area.

Torres del Paine is currently one of the important tourist attractions in the world, with Hotel Las Torres, place that offers everything what you need to make unforgettable trip to Patagonia.

Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race photos

February 9th, 2011

We present you photos how the teams of Wenger Welcome Patagonian Expedition Race were welcomed to Hotel Las Torres…

World’s wildest race

February 8th, 2011

In a spectacular start under the crystal clear mountains of Torres del Paine, the 2011 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race began with a wild ride for the racers as they tailed a herd of horses down the dirt track on the opening cycling leg of the event.

The teams face a 60 km ride on the dirt tracks of the park, passing over three bridges and enjoying fantastic views of the Torres and Cuernos del Paine. They will then reach the Hosteria Lago Grey, where they will switch to kayaks in front of a spectacular ice-filled lake.

The 56 competitors from 15 countries compete in the nine-day race across the  Chilean Patagonia.

Each team has four athletes who compete in separate disciples, including sea kayaking, cycling, trekking and climbing. The race  will continue until Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race is gaining a reputation as both the toughest and wildest race in the world, having run editions through the diverse region of Chilean Patagonia, including Tierra del Fuego, the Darwin Range, Torres del Paine, Straits of Magellan and the Beagle Channel.

The challenge, the isolation, the unpredictable weather, and the unexplored landscapes all add to the mix – and the glory of finishing, and finishing first, is what everyone strives for.

Thanks to the continued support of Wenger, maker of the genuine Swiss Army knife and precision outdoor equipment, and other sponsors, up to 60 international athletes have the opportunity to take on the most rugged and diverse challenge known to expedition racing.

Chilean Patagonia is rewarding, but you have to earn it,” says race organizer Stjepan Pavicic. “When planning the course for the race each year we always make sure it is a good mix of virgin terrain and stunning views and I guarantee that 2011 will be no different – it will once again show competitors just how spectacular the scenery in this region of the world can be, but for sure it will test them to their limits.”

Sources: www.patagonianexpeditionrace.com, The Patagonian Times

Taste of the Patagonia “Asado de cordero”

February 2nd, 2011

Every person who visits Las Torres del Paine must try a true Patagonian lamb. “Lamb barbecue” or “asado de cordero”is traditional dish of the Patagonia. It is considered as one of the best meat in the world.

Meat of the Patagonian lamb has achieved great international recognition thanks to its delicious taste, excellent quality and its product image from one of the least polluted parts in the world. The lamb is raised on natural pastures and in consequence the meat has natural flavor, more tender, juicy, soft and tasty.

Traditionally Patagonian lamb is raised with his mother until reaching 60 - 90 days and the weight ranging from 19 to 24 kilos. The ideal weight of meat for roasting is about 9 kilos.

The final taste of the barbeque always lies in the hands person who grills the lamb, depending on her experience and roasting technique.

How to prepare “Asado de cordero”?

Preparing and sharing a Patagonian roast lamb is part of a ceremony. First you make a good fire, if possible, from the type of wood known for its hardness.

Flavor meat with salt. Then thread the lamb along on a stick, with the bracket well stretched. It should hang down with the chops to get more heat to the legs and parts with more meat. It´s cooked over a low fire until the meat is almost crispy.

The locals eat this meat without removing the skin. It is also rich with herbs and other species.

Film Festival Banff in Hotel Las Torres Patagonia

January 25th, 2011

BanffOnce again, the world’s best Mountain Film Festival arrives to Chile to gather together the community of climbers, hikers and lovers of outdoor adventure. The festival will take place in our exclusive Hotel Las Torres Patagonia.

On the 13th and 14th of February during the 11th version of Banff Mountain Film Festival 2010, you can enjoy movies such as “Africa Tour Revolutions “, “Take a Seat”, “Re: Session” or “Progression: World Cup” any many others.

Since October 2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival 2010 has visited several cities in Chile, through San Pedro de Atacama, Santiago, Talca, Pucón, Puerto Varas and Puerto Natales.

The festival comes with Reel Rock Film Festival Tour, which presents films about the most extreme rock climbing, BASE jumping, skiing, kayaking and paragliding.

Attendees will enjoy the films in the Hotel Las Torres Patagonia, Refuge Torres and Fantástico Sur, all places in the Torres de Paine National Park. Prices of tickets range from $ 2,000 (CLP) for students to $ 2,500 (CLP) for General Public.

For more details about the program and activities check out the BANFF website.

Excursions to Nordenskjöld Lake and Salto Grande

January 20th, 2011

Nordenskjöld Lake Las Torres del PaineThe Nordenskjöld Lake is located below jagged peaks in Torres del Paine National Park.

The lake is named after the Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskiöld, who in 1879 discovered the passage of the Northeast, the sea route linking the Arctic waters with the waters of the Pacific, through the Bering Strait, just on the other side of the world.

This amazing lake was formed by a melting glacier. With its profundityof 200 meters, it is ideal place for navigation and practising other aquatic sports.

The main attraction is the greenish color of the waters of Lake Nordenskjold. The lake has its beautiful color thanks to the high concentration of minerals, produced by the glaciers and carried into the lake by water.

The lake offers great views of French Valley, Paine Grande Massif and the Horns (Los Cuernos). Its accessible all the year. The annual average temperature of 8 º C, in summer varies between 10 º C and 18 º C.

The recommended activities are hiking, boating and photographyof the beautiful flora and fauna.

Option: horseback

The trip to Lake offers a great way to learn and enjoy horses riding. We will cross rivers, go down and visit beautiful environments.

Difficulty: Medium, Time: 2-3 hours

We leave on horses Hotel Las Torres and go around the base of the nearby Monte Almirante Nieto. We will enjoy amazing views of Lago Nordenskjöld and the Andes Mountain during the way over the gently rolling terrain.

Option: Trekking

On this three-hour trek we will learn about the plants, mammals and birds living close to the place, where the Río Paine enters Lago Nordenskjöld. We will admire views of the southern part of Lago Nordenskjöld, as well as of Monte Almirante Nieto and the Torres.

Salto Grande

Salto GrandeThe outfall of Nordenskjöld Lake consist of a waterfall called Salto Grande. Salto Grande Falls is the largest waterfall that has the Rio Paine. Connects Lake Nordenskjöld with Lake Pehoe. It´s point on the way to the viewpoint of Los Cuernos.

How to reach the Salto Grande?

The excursion to Salto Grande is a good alternative to see the National Park Torres del Paine in half of day.

We will arrive at the Salto Grande area by car where we´ll find one of the best views of the Paine Massif. After a short walk we will visit the Salto Grande, the natural connection Nordenskjöld and Pehoé Lakes. During the way we should see many plants, animals and birds for which the par is known – flamingos, condors, water and predatory birds.

Welcome to Patagonia!

Welcome to our new website!

January 11th, 2011

New Site Hotel Las TorresWe know that for our clients and guests it is very important to have practical and authentic information about the Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park. And, of course, about our Hotel Las Torres. Therefore, we’ve rebuilt our site to make it much easier to find and share different recourses and options which offers this beautiful place.

We are giving at your disposal site, on which you will make your first an unforgettable virtual tour to Chilean Patagonia and… we hope that soon you´ll desire to come here …

First we will lead you by Patagonian paths to unforgettable places in the park, we will propose to you the routes of tours and expeditions, we’ll show you pictures of the flora and fauna, mountains and glaciers. Thanks to videos you will not only see but also hear the breathing and live of Patagonia.

We will also invite you to our hotel. On the website you can find all necessary information, how to get here, maps and practical tips.

In the section Hotel Las Torres you will get know the incredible story of our family, who, bears the tradition and spirit of the Chilean Patagonia and shares it with guests and travelers.

To help you plan an unforgettable stay, in the part Services we have gathered a description of all facilities which we have prepared for our guests. Transport, accommodation in the heart of the park, restaurant, spa, conference center o and much more is waiting for you.

We invite you to new web site of Hotel Las Torres.

Baqueanos Welcoming

December 10th, 2010

The baqueano is one of the most important characteristic symbols of the Southern Patagonia and Torres del Paine Park. Being adventurers connected with their land, they represent the essence of Southern culture.

[SinglePic not found]They describe themselves as country people who know very well their land , natural resources and the way how to extract them. Since the appearance in middle of twentieth century, the baqueano is characterized by staying in darkness and in adverse areas like snow or pampa. Besides this the baqueano is very good horseman and an excellent hunter.

At first glance, baqueano is identified by his typical clothes which consist of baggy trousers, beret, scarf, belt / sash, knife close to belt, and leather accessories.

Although he can be considered a bit shy, when baqueano trusts, has a great relation and interacts with the tourists and visitors, who amass to share with original people from the zone.

By family tradition, baqueanos since the childhood have been taught to riding and trusting the instincts of the horses. This has made them excellent guides of the excursions which permit cross the park without any restriction rather than contemplate the incredible scenery.

Hotel Las Torres is aware that the experience of visiting the Torres del Paine should be fully enjoyable and we have included “Welcome from Baqueanos” in the program “All Inclusive” and transportation (new service).

One kilometer before the guests arrive to the hotel, a group of galloping baqueanos escort van, with the regional flag and yelling that celebrate the arrival of new visitors. Is a unique opportunity to experience up close the wealth of the people, who live in the far south of the country.

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