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When I first heard of Torres del Paine, I knew it would be a trip of a lifetime. One of those epic adventures to the end of the Earth where nature is the protagonist and you feel like just one speck in the wind. I wasn’t wrong, but my only concern was, “Can I realistically camp for 4-5 days in a harsh, cold, windy environment?”

I admit it, I love the idea of camping out in the open and I’ve done it in temperate climates, but I also wanted to relax and detach from my busy life and take it easy. For those of you also in the middle of the spectrum between loving and embracing nature and still wanting to be comfortable, there is a solution: Hotel Cabañas del Paine.

Hotel Cabañas del Paine in front of Rio Serrano

Hotel Cabañas del Paine in front of Rio Serrano

A couple hours after arriving in Punta Arenas and taking a sunrise boat excursion to Isla Magdalena to visit the Magellan Penguins, my journey to Hotel Cabañas del Paine began with a four and a half hour ride. It was then that I realized how far away I really was – no cell phone service, just wide open spaces dotted with sheep, cows, horses and pink flamingos all along the way.

Visiting the Patagonian icon Torres del Paine National Park is to disconnect and connect with a slower paced lifestyle immersed deep in nature and southern Chilean culture. Hotel Cabañas del Paine upholds this concept offering a rustic experience surrounded by Rio Serrano, wild animals, and nature walks with a secluded cabin feel and all wooden interior.

The dining room at Hotel Cabañas del Paine

The dining room at Hotel Cabañas del Paine

Although rustic, there are a few pinches of luxury in these cabins far away from the rest of civilization where you can expect the royal treatment. The staff is warm, welcoming and awaiting your every need in true southern fashion giving you the chance to live a rural experience in complete comfort. The locally sourced cuisine is on par with some of the best restaurants in Santiago, there is WiFi access and despite being so far south, you will not have a cold night here.

Three and a half hours from the nearest city, Hotel Cabañas del Paine makes their guest feel right at home. Instead of spending your free time watching TV, texting and staring at your phone or tablet, this is an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the countryside by visiting the Torres del Paine National Park, sailing, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, hot tubbing or simply enjoying the view from the banks of the river right outside of the hotel. If you need to get in touch, they have satellite internet connection available but that’s as far as you get to connecting with the outside world.

The view of the Cordillera del Paine (the Paine Mountain Range) from Hotel Cabañas del Paine

The view of the Cordillera del Paine (the Paine Mountain Range) from Hotel Cabañas del Paine

On my first night there, anticipating my arrival the staff greeted me warmly. I quickly settled down in my room with a privileged panoramic view of the Paine Mountain Range nestling the Torres del Paine. Many other hotels and cabins in the area have a partial view or an angle of the mountain range, but here it’s front and center. Stepping out onto the edge of the Serrano River to take in my surroundings, I could feel the magic in the air emanating from the mountain range beautifully reflected in the river changing colors with the sunset. This feeling stuck with me throughout the three days I spent there enchanted by the hotel and surrounding splendors.

Experiencing Southern Chilean Food

Hotel Cabañas del Paine is dedicated to sustainability and the environment. The hotel has its own organic greenhouse where they grow a variety of leafy greens and vegetables used in each meal. All of the baked goods are also made in house as well as some of their fruit ice creams and marmalades. They take special care that all raw materials come from the best local and national suppliers.

The greenhouse at Hotel Cabañas del Paine

The greenhouse at Hotel Cabañas del Paine

One of the hotel’s fortes is that in addition to quality local ingredients, the cuisine represent Chilean Patagonian culture. I wasn’t expecting much since we were in such a secluded area of the world, but once the dishes started rolling out I realized that the food was on par with the rest of the hotel and the spectacular views from the dining room.

Dinner at Hotel Cabañas del Paine

Dinner at Hotel Cabañas del Paine

In the Patagonia, there are a couple of traditional dishes that you must try, like the cordero al palo (lamb roasted on a spit), and the hotel’s kitchen is equipped with an outdoor grill for roasting meats and fish. I had the chance to try that dish here and it was delicious and tender. You also have to try the salmon and centolla (king crab), two items that were on the menu and prepared just as you would expect from a fine dining experience. Of course, when in Chile, the best pairing is Chilean wine, but they also have local craft beers and pisco sours to raise your spirits.

Excursions

I had the pleasure of doing some of the excursions offered by the hotel and each one was an unforgettable experience.

Horseback Riding
We took a two and a half hour walk on horseback along the Serrano River and into a small, forested area.

Horseback Riding, starting just a short walk from the hotel

Horseback Riding, starting just a short walk from the hotel

Full-Day of Torres del Paine
A guided tour beginning at Grey Lake to get a glimpse of the Grey Glacier followed by a scenic drive through the Torres del Paine National Park stopping at the Salto Grande Waterfall and various viewpoints of the Torres del Paine Mountain Range and local flora and fauna. When I booked the tour, I thought there would have been more hiking involved, but instead this is a less strenuous option and great if you want to have time to take photos. In retrospect, I would have done the Torres del Paine base tour to have hiked more and been able to see the Torres del Paine from the frond end.

The Torres del Paine National Park and Grey Lake

The Torres del Paine National Park and Grey Lake

Hike to a Hidden Laguna (Laguna Escondida)
A three-hour hike from the hotel to a hidden laguna with beautiful views, observing the local flora and fauna.
They also have other tours to the Torres del Paine National Park, sailing through glaciers, whale watching, fishing and biking.

Hike to the hidden lagoon

Hike to the hidden lagoon

How to Get to Hotel Cabañas del Paine

Hotel Cabañas del Paine is located 11 kilometers outside of one of the main entrances of the Torres del Paine National Park, and they offer transportation services to and from Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas with prior reservations.

A view of the hotel (the green buildings to the left), Rio Serrano and Torres del Paine.

A view of the hotel (the green buildings to the left), Rio Serrano and Torres del Paine.

You can also take the buses regulares at the bus terminal from either of said cities. Some of the bus companies include Buses JB, Buses Maria José and Buses Gómez which depart between 7:30 AM and 2:30 PM and stop at various places near and in the National Park. Get off at the “Pudeto” area inside the park. From “Pudeto” you must hire transportation to the hotel and it must to be reserved in advance. Your last option is to rent your own car and drive there, which is about 4.5 hours from Punta Arenas and about 3 hours from Puerto Natales. Keep in mind that there aren’t any gas stations along the route so remember to fuel up in Puerto Natales before the road trip!

Amenities

Hotel Cabañas del Paine

Hotel Cabañas del Paine
Address: Lote N°17, Sector Río Serrano, Comuna Torres del Paine
Satellite phone: (56+2) 2889 1138
E-mail: reservaspuq@cabanasdelpaine.cl

Hotel Office Information in Punta Arenas for reservations, transportation and tour information
Address: Calle José Nogueira 1255, Punta Arenas, Chile

This story was accurate when published. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the sites in question before planning your trip.

To learn more about Crystal, read her bio!