Skip Navigation

Hiking the "W" trail at Torres del Paine, and drinking water

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Hiking the "W" trail at Torres del Paine, and drinking water

1. Posted by jmtrier (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi! I was hoping to receive some input on the conditions of the water (and safety in drinking) in Torres del Paine National Park. I will be hiking the "W" circuit for 5 days, and havent really heard anything regarding water purification and filteration and safe water consumption in general. Is the water safe to drink in this region? Should I invest in a purification kit?

We will also be staying in the Refugios within the park at night. Can you buy bottled water at these places? Is the water drinkable there too?

Any help would be great! Thanks!

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

ALWAYS use purification when you can't use bottled water. Chances of the water being infected are low at the TdP latitude, but still all kinds of nasty bugs can be in it. Most people trust Puritab, which turned out to give me nasty rash (never made out why). Since then, I stick to iodine solution, which is cheaper and generally more effective (but also more damaging to your health, so don't use it if you plan to do a lot of treks which involve purifying your own water).

3. Posted by Tonytravel (Full Member 87 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

For what I know, water from rivers, streams and lakes in TDP national Park is clean and pure, about as close to the source as is possible. You'll only need a bottle to fill for your personal daily drinking supply. I never heard of any problems with anyone drinking this water (there are no communities in the park to contaminate the water and there are no tropical water bourne diseases).
Most of the campsites have drinking water (Lago Pehoe, Laguna Azul).
Anyway, if you don't feel confident in drinking this, take iodine drops (and the taste inhibitors that are sold with them, or something to flavour it), because any alternative source of water will be impossible to be carried all the way.

4. Posted by Sarah_S (Budding Member 8 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


I ve just been to the Torrres and did the W in a 5 days walk!
U dont have to take any water, ALL the water in the park is safe and tasty for drinking! Just take a bottle that u can fill up everytime u pass a stream! And, this really is important, take salt and juice pulver to mix the water with, so u get all the minerals u need, cause the water does not contain enough!

Hope u have a good trip! Its gonna be amazing!

And if u wanna take one advice: Start at the back! Start at the galcier and walk towards the Torres and the entrance, thats the better route!

Have fun and be carefull!


5. Posted by meeg (Budding Member 44 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Just to jump on the bandwagon ;) - travelling to Chile in March for a month and would love to trek the W, but how far south can you travel by land in a month? we'd like to go by bus if we can. My dad is telling me we would have to book months to years in advance for ferries, campsites etc. but it's over 10 years since he went there...any input?

6. Posted by mariaines (Budding Member 39 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

hi, just a thing about drinking water.. we're not a tropical country and our water treatment is quite good, so you won't find anything odd or unhealthy in driking water here in Chile.
about the bus services, for example, it takes 12 hours to get from Santiago to Puerto Montt (1000 km south) by bus. The ticket is about 20 USD for a regular bus (regular seats) and about 30 USD in more comfortable bus. There's also the possbility of travelling by train, but it's more expensive and it seems the southern route has been having some problems this year.
From Puerto Montt you can take buses to chiloe island and other southern places, here are some websites where you can find more info:

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 6, 2007, at 9:57 PM by mariaines ]

7. Posted by meeg (Budding Member 44 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks. So if we were to take a bus from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas, what sort of preparations do we need to make to cross to and from Argentina? And does anyone know if you need to book to camp near the refugios? Not to be too girly, but it might be nice if we can fit a shower or 2 into a 5-6 day walk ;)