Laguna and glacier Cerro Castillo, Patagonia
HIKING Patagonia

Cerro Castillo Circuit – a 4-day trek in Patagonia

Cerro Castillo Circuit is a 50km trek through Cerro Castillo Nature Reserve near Coyhaique, Southern Patagonia, Chile. The scenery on the trek is stunning; indigenous forest, hanging glaciers, mountain rivers, snow peaks, turquoise blue lakes, bizarrely shaped mountains – untouched nature combined with unpredictable Patagonian weather. There are different routes in Cerro Castillo you can explore it in one to four days. Compare to some other hikes in Patagonia e.g. El Chalten or famous Torres del Paine, this circuit is quite off the beaten path destination.  

Cerro Castillo overview

  • Total distance – 53km/32,5 miles
  • Days required – 3 to 4, we’d recommend 4 in order to have more time to enjoy the scenery but if you’re short in time you can definitely push it to 3 days.
  • Starting point – Valle de la Lima.
  • Finishing point – Cerro Castillo village.
  • Average altitude – 1000m.
  • Highest points – Cerro Castillo pass – 1600m and Portezuelo Peñon pass – 1435m.
  • Permits – no special permits or guide required, entrance fee – CLP 5000/US$8 is paid at the gate.

More information on different hikes in Patagonia you can find in our post Best hikes in Patagonia.

Suggested tours and activities in Patagonia

Best time for hiking

Summer (December to March) – is the best time for hiking in Patagonia in general; nice and warm during the day (here it rarely gets hot), days are long (you have daylight till 9pm) though it rains a lot in Patagonia any season be prepared to experience some rainfalls. We hiked in February and in general, were very lucky with the weather on this hike, not a single drop for 4 days.

In winter (June to August); night temperatures go down to -2°C and below, days are cold and short, it’s very likely you’ll encounter snow on the trek. April and September are the months with the most rain probably the worst time for hiking. March, October, and November are quite cold though temperature even at night stays above 0°C and it doesn’t rain too much

Average monthly temperatures in Coyhaique
Average monthly temperatures in Coyhaique, Patagonia
Graph with average monthly rainfalls in Coyhaique
Average monthly rainfalls in Coyhaique, Patagonia

Practical information for the hike

There are no shops or restaurants inside Cerro Castillo National park you must be self-sufficient, bring all the equipment and food with.

There are 5 designated campsites with basic facilities in the reserve where you’re allowed to camp, wild camping is not allowed.

Drinking water can be found everywhere (taps, rivers, lakes, falls), it’s good quality and drinkable. We didn’t use any purification tablets or a UV filter here. 

Patagonian weather is unpredictable; strong winds and heavy rains are quite frequent make sure your gear is right.

The route is marked quite well all the way, the only time we were unsure about it was at the beginning of the second day.

If you hike in summer, especially months of December and January bring insect repellent there might be many tabanos (horseflies) in Patagonia this time of the year, they are extremely annoying.

Not many people in Patagonia speak English some basic Spanish knowledge will be handy.

In peak season; January-February there are many people traveling the Carretera Austral – a road through Patagonia, sometimes it’s difficult to get on a bus often they are full. Hitchhiking in the area is very popular and save, locals and tourists stop a lot to pick up travelers, we hitched all the way through Patagonia and had the only good experience.

How we rank Cerro Castillo trek

  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5, there are two steep ascends and descends on the way.
  • Scenery – 4 out of 5, pine forest, lakes, glaciers, rivers – quite impressive landscape. 
  • Touristy – 2 out of 5, we hiked in February which is still high season but there were not many people, mostly Chileans, and very few foreigners – nothing compared to some trails in Torres del Paine.
Stunning view of the area from the pass, Cerro Castillo circuit, Chile
Beautiful scenery on the Cerro Castillo circuit, Patagonia, Chile

Don’t forget about travel insurance

Cerro Castillo is not a high altitude or dangerous hike but some parts of the route go through remote and difficult to access areas of the Natural reserve. Hiking like any outdoor activity involves risks of getting an injury, losing or breaking gear and other unexpected situations. It’s always advisable to have insurance when traveling. Be properly covered for injury, evacuation, gear loss, trip cancellations or delays.

Out of several insurance companies, we recommend World Nomads, they work all over the world and specialize in outdoor activities like hiking. A great thing about World Nomads is that you can buy insurance policy online while traveling, it takes only a couple of minutes. Their policy is very flexible it can cover the whole period of your trip or only the hiking part of it, even if it’s only one or two days. Get a quote right now!

Note! Always make sure you carefully read the Terms and Conditions part.

Cerro Castillo trek cost, per person

  • Transport – CLP 5000/US$7 bus
  • Shopping (food, gas) – CLP 7000/US$10
  • Accommodation + entrance fee –  it used to be separate and in fact nobody charged for camping on the trail but it changed in 2019 now if you do a multi-day hike you pay CLP 23 500/US$35 it includes entrance fee and three nights of camping in the park. For more details on price check the official website.

Total: CLP 35 500/US$52

Distances on the trek

  • Las Horquetas – campsite Río Turbio – 15km/9 miles
  • Rio Turbio – campsite Estero del Bosque – 14km/8,6 miles
  • El Bosque – campsite Neozelandes – 11km/6,8 miles
  • Neozelandés – Cerro Castillo village – 13km/8 miles

Campsites on the route

Río Turbio, Day 1


  • Toilet – yes
  • Running water – yes
  • Tables, benches – yes

Estero del Bosque, Day 2


  • Toilet – yes
  • Running water – yes
  • Tables, benches – yes

La Tetera, Day 2


  • Toilet – yes
  • Running water – yes
  • Tables, benches – no

Porteadores, Day 3


  • Toilet – yes
  • Running water – yes
  • Tables, benches – no

Neozelandes, Day 3


  • Toilet – yes
  • Running water – yes
  • Tables, benches – yes
Beautiful scenery on the way to the trek
The scenery on the way to the Cerro Castillo trek

Getting to Cerro Castillo

Cerro Castillo National park is about 75km from Coyhaique, the capital of the region. To get there you can catch a daily bus from the Coyhaique terminal, it leaves between 9.00-9.30am for CLP 5000/US$8. At the bus terminal confirm itinerary of buses going back to Coyhaique (if you’re going back after the hike) or to Puerto Río Tranquilo (if you’re planning to continue south).

As an option you can hitchhike, depending on your luck and how many people are on the route, you can wait for a long time or get a ride in 15 minutes.

The hike starts at Las Horquetas, about 30km before (if you drive from Coyhaique) Villa Cerro Castillo. If you go by bus just ask a bus driver to stop there, if you hitch ask the same. We had some extra luggage and didn’t want to walk for 4 days with two backpacks each so we had to go first to Villa Cerro Castillo and ask to store our extra bags in one of the campsites (for free), we promised to stay there when we’re back. You can do the same and either start walking the other way around from Villa Cerro Castillo to Las Horquetas or catch a ride from the Villa to Las Horquetas. 

Cerro Castillo route map
Cerro Castillo route map

Cerro Castillo 4-day hiking itinerary

Day 1. Las Horquetas – Campamento Río Turbio, 15km

Trek starts at Las Horquetas a turn from Carretera Austral to the gravel road, between Coyhaique (75km) and Villa Cerro Castillo (30km). Form the turn to the park entrance about 13km; easy walk, mostly flat, on the gravel road through fields and forest.

At the entrance, you register, pay CLP 5000/US$7 entrance fee and get a free map. You can camp right there, at Camping #1 but none does it, it’s a nice spot to stop for lunch and rest but we’d suggest keeping walking to the next campsite Río Turbio, it’s about 1-hour walk. Sometimes there is nobody at the entrance you just walk in without paying, they might charge you at the exit or ask to show your ticket, keep it till the end.


  • Indigenous forest
  • A beautiful valley of Río Turbio


  • It was an easy day of walking without steep ascents or descents.
Rio Turbio, Cerro Castillo circuit
Scenery near Rio Turbio campsite, the first day of the Cerro Castillo circuit

Day 2. Río Turbio –  El Bosque/La Tetera, 14km

In the beginning nice easy walk through the forest along the river for about 4km through at some stage, we lost the trail but found it quick. Then only one long steep up on the hike to El Peñon pass, on the top of it you’ll get a chance to walk on snow/ice in the middle of summer.

After the up always comes down; steep and rocky, be careful, don’t rush and watch your step. Walk from the campsite to the pass and over it takes about 5 hours. Once down, it’s 1,5 hours more to camping El Bosque. As an option, you can keep walking for about 1 hour and camp at La Tetera campsite with a beautiful view of Cerro Castillo lake. We’d recommend to camp at El Bosque if it’s very windy, it’s located in the forest and better protected from the wind otherwise La Tetera. 


  • Stunning views from the top of El Peñon pass
  • Snow and ice on the top of the pass


  • A steep ascent from the valley to El Pañon pass, +600m
  • A steep and rocky descent from the pass, -700m
Alya at the top of El Pañon pass, hiking Cerro Castillo circuit
Alya walking over El Pañon pass, the second day of the Cerro Castillo trek

Day 3. El Bosque/La Tetera – camping Neozelandes, 11km

At the beginning of the day after a 1-hour walk you arrive at the lake – Laguna Cerro Castillo (you start there if you camped at La Tetera), one of the most impressive sceneries on the hike; turquoise color lake, hanging glacier, and mountains around. From the lake, you’ll start ascending to Cerro Castillo pass, 1600m.

Don’t forget to turn around from time to time to check the view, from the top of the pass it’s even more impressive. Once at the top you start steep long descend, be very careful it’s really steep, rocky and gets very windy.

After about 1,5 hours you’ll find yourself at the river, camping Los Porteadores. Here you have several options; to camp at Los Porteadores and walk to Neozelandes without your backpack, to skip Neozelandes and go down to Cerro Castillo village or to keep walking with your backpack, about 1,5 hours, to  Neozelandes and camp there. We chose the last option and really enjoyed it, the area around the campsite is absolutely beautiful; a green valley with a river surrounded by bizarre-shaped mountains. Camping Neozelandes was the least crowded, we were 6 people camping here.

If for some reason you don’t want or can’t continue the hike you can take an emergency route. From La Tetera walk up to the Mirador Cerro Castillo where you’ll see Sendero de Emergencia, a route that will take you straight to Villa Cerro Castillo. This route is used by day hikers to get from the town to Laguna Cerro Castillo and back in one day. The descent is very steep, about 900m down.


  • Turquoise blue lake Laguna Cerro Castillo
  • Hanging Cerro Castillo Glacier
  • Stunning views from the top of the pass
  • A beautiful valley at Neozelandes campsite


  • A steep rocky ascent to Cerro Castillo pass, +700m
  • A very steep and rocky descent from the pass, -800m
Campbell at Laguna Cerro Castillo, Patagonia
Campbell at the Laguna Cerro Castillo, day 3 of the circuit

Day 4. Neozelandes – Villa Cerro Castillo, 13km

Last bit and only down, all the way to the road, about 3,5 hours and from there 1,5 hours to the village and campings.

At the exit, you can be asked to show your ticket, keep it till the end. The trekking is not very difficult but can be if the weather is bad, the path is well marked, no dangerous animals or poison snakes, you walk between 6-7 hours daily.


  • Walking through the forest


  • A long descent to Villa Cerro Castillo, -800m
Campamento Neozelandes, Cerro Castillo circuit, Chile
The scenery at the Campamento Neozelandes, the last day of the trek

Gear to pack for the circuit

There is no accommodation options, restaurants or shops inside the National reserve bring with you all you need for three nights of camping.

Tent – for camping in Patagonia we’d recommend having a good quality reliable tent that is waterproof and wind-resistant. After 5 years of traveling, hiking and camping sometimes in very bad weather conditions we made a choice for MSR tents; light, pack small, easy to pitch, waterproof and very stable in strong wind. They might be not the cheapest tents but will serve you for years without failing.

Sleeping mattress – we are both entirely for inflatable camping mats; small and light, easy to wash, fit inside a backpack, soft and comfortable.

Sleeping bag – if you’re going to Patagonia in summer 0°C comfort sleeping back will be good enough, in other seasons we’d recommend bringing a bag with comfort to -5°C. As you know it rains a lot in Patagonia for this very reason synthetic sleeping bag will be better – dries quick and easy. Down bags are lighter, pack smaller, warm, very soft and comfortable but if they get wet it’ll be a problem.

Cooking gear (stove, pots, gas) – we recommend bringing a stove to be able to cook hot meals and boil water for tea. Modern camping stoves are very light and small and will hardly add 500 grams to your backpack weight. Buy a stove with Piezo Ignition to have a back up in case you lose a lighter or matches get wet.

As for pots we always take two pots with lids (that we use as plates); one for cooking and one for boiling water. You’ll be able to buy gas in almost any town in Patagonia. You can buy a cooking set with stove, pots, utensils.

For more details on hiking and camping gear for Patagonia go to THIS POST.

Mirador Cerro Castillo – one day hike

It’s possible to do a one day hike to the Mirador Cerro Castillo from where you can see the lake and Cerro Castillo glacier.

  • Starting and finishing point – Villa Cerro Castillo
  • Distance – 12km return
  • Altitude gain/loss – 900m ascend to the Mirador (viewpoint) with subsequent 900m descend back to the valley.
  • Time required – 6-7 hours
  • Permits – no special permits required, entrance fee CLP 5000/US$8 is charged at the entrance. Remember for a day hike access to the trail is from 7am to 11am don’t attempt to start later you might not have enough time to get back before the dark.

Getting to Mirador Cerro Castillo trek

The trek starts at Villa Cerro Castillo, take a bus or hitchhike from Coyhaique. Once there find a sign “Sendero de Chile“, about 100km from the information and follow the dirt road until you reach a control point (a small house). Here you pay admission CLP 5000/US$8 and start a steep ascend all the way to the Mirador. It’s better to start the hike early before it gets too warm, all the way up you’re completely exposed to the sun. As an option, instead of going to and back in one day, you can camp for a night at La Tetera campsite, just 20min. down to the valley from the Mirador and come back to the town the next morning.


  • Laguna Cerro Castillo
  • Cerro Castillo Glacier
  • Views from the Mirador


  • Very steep and long ascend from Villa Cerro Castillo to the Mirador, +900m
  • Steep and long descend back to the town, -900m
Laguna Cerro Castillo, Mirador Cerro Castillo hike
Laguna and the Glacier Cerro Castillo from Mirador Cerro Castillo, the highlight of the day-hike

Mirador Cerro Castillo trek packing list

  • Drinking water – bring at least 1l bottle, on the way up there will be nowhere to get water.
  • Snacks, sandwiches – it’s a 6-hour hike you’ll get hungry.
  • Sunglasses, cap.
  • Rain jacket or rain poncho – weather in Patagonia is unpredictable.
  • Walking sticks – will be very handy on the way down, it’s steep and long.
  • Sunscreen – on a sunny day it’s a must.
  • Insect repellent – there might be sand-flies, they are very annoying.

Coyhaique accommodation and facilities

For Patagonia, Coyhaique is quite a big place the last proper town with good infrastructure on the way down south till El Chalten in Argentina or Puerto Natales in Chile. If you need to upgrade your gear, buy gas, draw cash –  it’s the place to do it. There are a couple of gear and second-hand shops (Ropa Americana) in the town, which was quite important for me because on the way to Coyhaique I lost my backpack with all my clothes, it fell out of the car while we were hitchhiking. 

You can combine Patagonia hiking experience with exploring massive San Rafael glacier, there are tours to the glacier that depart from Coyhaique daily.

Coyhaique facilities

  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsites – yes
  • Supermarket, shops – yes, big Unimark and one or two outdoor gear shops
  • Restaurants, cafes – yes
  • ATMs – yes
  • Information office – yes

Accommodation in Coyhaique

There are many guest houses, hotels, hostels and campsites in the town. If you are on a tight budget bring a tent – camping is the only budget accommodation option in this part of Patagonia. We can recommend El Camping, a bit outside of the town. It has good facilities; hot shower, wi-fi, power outlets but no kitchen you need your own cooking gear, price CLP 5000/US$8 per person. 

Villa Cerro Castillo accommodation and facilities

The hike finishes at Villa Cerro Castillo, a small town with a couple of restaurants, a shop or two and small guest houses/cabins and campsites. We can recommend Baqueanos de la Patagonia campsite, 10 minutes away from the park exit, a nice place with good facilities; hot shower, kitchen, electricity, outlets, and wi-fi. Price CLP  5000/US$8 per person. To have more accommodation and restaurant options rather than go back to Coyhaique. 

Villa Cerro Castillo facilities

  • Hotel – yes, a couple of guest houses and cabins (cabañas)
  • Campsite – yes, several through the town
  • Shop – yes, a couple of smallish shops
  • Restaurant – yes, several local restaurants
  • ATM – no
  • Information – yes

Accommodation in Villa Cerro Castillo

Camping Rustik Patagonia | Camping Araukaria | Camping El Mirador| Hostal El Rodeo | Refugio Cerro Castillo | Cabañas El Tropero |

Getting from Villa Cerro Castillo to Coyhaique

If you arrive at the village early you’ll have a chance to catch a bus back to Coyhaique the same day. There are two or three daily buses from Cochrane to Coyhaique but in the season they might be full. Go to the tourist information office just a block away from Carretera Austral. You can try to hitchhike but it can be difficult due to many people on the road – dozens of backpackers locals and foreigners hoping to get a ride. 

Getting from Villa Cerro Castillo to Puerto Río Tranquilo/Cochrane 

If hitch-hiking is not your cup of tea you can catch a bus just need to know that public transport is very scarce in the area. There was a bus at 11am to Cochrane, price CLP 7000 pesos/US$10. In our experience the bus was already full when arrived, some people could get in. We hitched all the way to Puerto Río Tranquilo, 120km south from Villa Cerro Castillo, were very like to get a ride quick.

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  1. Hello, we would like to do the Trek in February. We do have a rental car for our journey. The Trek is no O-Trek, so do you know how we can get back to our car. Is there a bus or would you say we can go back to the starting point by hitchhike?

    Thank you very much


    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Marco! I’d suggest to leave your car in Villa Cerro Castillo (at your campsite or hotel) and take a bus or hitchhike if there is no bus (as we did) to Las Horquetas, the beginning of the trek. It’s nicer to finish hiking and get to your car immediately than spend a couple of hours hitchhiking back to it.
      Safe travels!

  2. Elizabeth Burnett

    Looking to do this hike at the end of January/February. Did you have to book campsites along the trek in advance, and if so, where can you do this?


  3. Hey, thanks for the information, it was very useful to plan this trek.
    For the record, the price they ask at the gate is now 23.500 CLP which felt like a complete ripoff! Regarding the fact that this money goes for the most part to some landowner and not the conservation of the park, in retrospect we would not have done it. Probably better to stick to the day hike.
    Anyway, it was still a great trek, but it was a bitter beginning, so it’s best of other knows it beforehand.

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Thomas! Thank you very much for the update! We’ll contact the park regarding the price changing. At what entrance did they charge that much, Las Horquetas or at Cerro Castillo village? As I’m aware for the day hike you have to pay the entrance fee as well it used to be the same amount as for the multi day hike.

  4. Hi,
    Tahnk you for the valueble information
    Is it possible to do the Circuit (including Neozelandes) in 3 days?
    I do not want to take the emergency route but i want to do the trail complete.
    Tahnk you

    • Hello, Igor! Thank you for the comment! It’s possible to walk the circuit (it’s only 53km) in 3 days if you’re a fit person. On 3rd day you can walk from El Bosque campsite to Neozelandes and from there to Villa Cerro Castillo. This way you’ll walk the complete route, the only difference – you won’t camp at Neozelandes.
      Enjoy Patagonia!

  5. Hello, thank you very much for this article. I have one question : we don’t need to book the camping sites, do we?? Thank you!!

    • Hello, Izel! We’re glad you found our post helpful! You’re right you don’t need to book campsites in Cerro Castillo, I don’t think it’s possible at all.
      Enjoy Patagonia!

  6. Hi! We are trying to plan for Patagonia in January and working out treks between Cero Castillo, Torres Del Paine, and Patagonia National Park. We are (like others) finding TDP difficult to book campsites for and trying to figure out our options. This post is incredibly helpful! Just had a few questions if you have a chance:

    1. How do you compare Cero Castillo vs. TDP in terms of hike difficulty, scenery, crowds, etc.? If you had to pick one, do you have a preference? It feels like the back half of O loop is really worthwhile, but W part is very crowded, but overall seems the most stunning (usually find when things are crowded, its for good reason)?
    2. Camp sites on Cero Castillo seem pretty up to discretion of hikers – are they somewhat designated or is it really just camp where you decide to stop?

    Thank you!

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Jesse! Sorry for the late reply we’re busy walking the Camino de Santaigo and don’t have good Internet every day. We did both hikes in late February, early March. Cerro Castillo is a beautiful hike but if we have to choose we’d go for the O trek in Torres del Paine. You’re right the W part is more impressive but the back half of the O is quite nice because it’s quite remote. The walk over the Gardner pass when you see Grey glacier from the top was our favorite part of the hike. As for difficulty if you’re a seasoned hiker both hikes are quite doable though the O is quite a bit longer then the trek in Cerro Castillo which means you’ll have to carry more food with.
      Campsites in Cerro Castillo are designated but very basic some have plastic toilets, tables and benches, there is always a source of water nearby.
      Good luck and enjoy Patagonia!

  7. Hi guys! Very helpfull description! I’m planning to do this trekking at the end of November, do you think there’s any possibility to find snow? Is it possible to rent a tent and sleeping bags somewhere in Coyhaique for example? Would you also recommend a 2 days and one night hike as we don’t have plenty of time? Have you done other hikes in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego you would suggest? Thank you so much!!

    Serena (Italy)

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Serena! Thank you for your comment! There will be definitely snow at the pass – it’s always there even in the mid summer. We didn’t see specific gear rental places in Coyhaique we were looking for a second-hand sleeping bag to buy but found only new bags in expensive gear shops but we didn’t look for a rental place. In 2 days you’ll see the highlight of the trek Laguna and glacier Cerro Castillo. If you don’t find a place to rent camping gear you can do a day hike to the glacier and back you’ll see basically the same as in 2 days just won’t camp there for the night. We have an itinerary for a day hike to the Laguna in the post as well. As for other hikes in the region – yes, we did quite a few we spent 2 months in Patagonia. At the end of this post you can see “Related posts” with the links to all other treks we did in Patagonia and places we visited.
      Good luck!

  8. Denise Farrelly

    Dear Campbell and Alya,
    My husband and I are keen to take our 12yo and 14yo children and do 4-day hike in Cerro Castillo. We have done hiking in NZ (Routeburn, Waikaramoana and other not so well known staying at night in cabins.) We endeavour to do the 6-foot track in NSW, Australia and do it camping, in winter to prepare us for our planned trip in Cerro Castillo in January. We are fit but apart from my husband, not experienced campers Do you think we would be capable of doing Cerro Castillo? Denise

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Denise! Sounds like you’re fit enough to hike Cerro Castillo for 4 days, it’s not a very difficult hike though there are one or two steep up and downs. If you go in January it won’t be too cold might be rainy and windy. For camping there you just need the right gear; good water and windproof tent, warm enough sleeping bags, good mattresses, cooking stuff etc. and you’ll be fine. All you need to know is how to use your camping gear not much experience needed. If you’re going to do the 6-foot track in winter it’ll be a great chance to test your gear and get some camping experience. If you have more questions about hiking in Patagonia we’ll be happy to answer.

      • Denise Farrelly

        Thanks so much for your help and in general for your generous informative blog – I’ll let you know how it goes.
        All the best for your future travels,

    • What would you consider the lower age limit for this route? I’m trying to find a backpacking trip that I can do with my 9 year old daughter that isn’t crowded like torres del paine or similar.


  9. Great write-up, really helping for our planning to hike this in a few weeks!! Just one question, I saw that you headed to Torres for trekking after…how did you travel overland from Cerro Castillo to Puerto Natales? Looking at some options and just wondering how busy it is…if we need to book ahead, etc., etc.


    • Stingy Nomads

      Hi, Jerrett! Thank you for the question! We kept hitch-hiking till Villa O’Higgins, with several stops on the way, then took a ferry to Candelario Mancilla and from there walked to El Chalten (Argentina). We did a couple of hikes in El Chalten and from there hitched to Perito Moreno glacier and then to Puerto Natales. Hitchhiking in Patagonia was easy except from El Chalten to Perito Moreno there were too many people on the road, we waited the whole day. We have two blog posts in Chile section about hitchhiking Carretera Austral and Walking from O’Higgins to El Chalten as well as Hiking Torres del Paine. If you’re considering buses there are very few on the section from Cerro on, maybe once a day or so and as I remember those that stopped at Villa Cerro Castillo were quite full. From El Chalten to Puerto Natales there were buses I don’t think it will be a problem though they’re quite expensive.
      Good luck!

  10. Tom Casavant

    Great post. Thanks! 2 questions: 1) How would the weather in mid-March differ and how might it affect this itinerary? and 2) Your intro mentioned a 3-day option. Do you have any guidance on how that would work? Thanks again!

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hi, Tom! Thank you for the question! We did the hike end of Feb and the weather was good, quite warm and sunny. But Patagonian weather is unpredictable it can change in a few hours and chances for rain in March are higher though we did Torres in Mid March and it was fine. As for itinerary you can do from one day to 4-5 day hikes in Cerro. For a 3-day one you can start and finish at Cerro Castillo village, go first to campamento Neozelandes, then to El Bosque and take the trail from the lagoon that day hikers use to get back to the village. Good luck!

  11. Hello,

    What month did you do your trip? We are thinking of doing this route in early December but are curious about snow and river crossing conditions.


    • Stingy Nomads

      Hi, Stephen! We did this trip the end of January – February but I don’t think there will be snow there in December, it’s beginning of Summer. Maybe you’ll have to cross some rivers barefoot in knee-deep water but the rivers are not that big and strong, it can’t be a big problem.
      Good luck and enjoy Patagonia!

  12. Thanks for the information. How long is a day hike from Villa Cerro Castillo up to the laguna and back? How does it compared to a day hike at Fitz Roy or Torres del Paine (day hike)?

    • Hello, Owen! Sorry for the late reply we were on a hike and just came back.
      We didn’t do any day hike in Patagoina so we can’t really compare them. For Cerro Castillo if you want to go up to the laguna and back the same day you have to start early at 7-8am to have enough time to get back before dark (it gets dark very late in summer about 9-10pm). We enjoyed all three hikes the scenery on all of them was amazing; glaciars, lakes, mountains. For Torres in one day you won’t be able to see much just Las Torres and a lake or two. Fitz Roy you can do different day hikes there are several routes but to see Fotz Roy at sunrise you have to camp there it’s too far from the entrance. Hope we could help you a little bit.
      Good luck!

  13. Hello!

    I’m female and travelling solo.

    1. Would you recommend doing this trail, with camping, alone or engaging a guide for safety?
    2. If I plan on going from top to bottom on my patagonia journey would this be easier accessed before or after Fitzroy and Los Glaciares?

    Thank you, loved the article and hope to read more such posts!

    • Hello, Anthea! Thank you for your comment!
      1. It depends when you’re planning to do a hike. If in summer you can easily do it on your own there are no dangerous animals and all people on the way are tourists/backpackers nobody to be scared of. The hike is quite popular among Chileans so there will be always people walking and camping nearby. If you want to do it in winter (we don’t even know if it’s possible) I wouldn’t do it at all.
      2. We traveld from top to bottom and it was quite easy to access Cerro Castillo from Coyhaique by bus or hitch-hiking. Fitz Roy and Los Glaciares are more South if you go there first you’ll have to go up again. For us Chilean Patagonia and Carretera Austral was one of the most beautiful places in South America so we’d definitely recommend to go down Chilean side and then cross to Fitz Roy.
      If you have more questions don’t hesitate asking!
      Good luck!

    • We have done it in January this year. What a stunning place. No doubt that it is safe. Nevertheless, watch for inclement weather. Enjoy!

  14. Nicholas Norman

    Hey there, great write up!
    I did the hike too and loved it – though a slight variation. Im trying to find out the names of the glaciers and lakes above the neozelandes campsite, do you have any idea of them? I’m trying to find out more about the moraines they left lying around up there – so incredible!
    Thanks 🙂

  15. Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

    Thanks so much for such an informative post! This is all the information we need for our trip in a few weeks time 🙂

  16. thank you kindly

  17. Hi, we are going there end of December. Are there any mules / horses available and allowed INSIDE the park? Thanks. Jan Lubbe

    • Hello, Jan!
      We didn’t see any horses (there are no mules in Patagonia at all) or porters in the park all tourists carry their own stuff. And we didn’t see anywhere in the area advertising horses for rent. The only one National park in Patagonia where it is definitely possible to rent a horse is Torres del Paine but it’s quite expensive.
      Good luck!

  18. Bettina (@bettinathenomad)

    Hi, thanks for your description of this trek! It’s really useful. My husband and I are planning to do it next year. Am I right in assuming that you can get the maps you posted pictures of above at one of the Park Offices, and if so which one (I’ve heard there are several)? Also, what kind of (if any) navigation equipment did you carry – will a compass and map do? Thanks 🙂

    • Hello, Bettina! Thank you!
      Yes, we got our map at the entrance at Cerro Castillo village, it’s free. You can get it at both entrances but sometimes there is nobody at the entrance from Valle de la Lima then you don’t pay the entrance fee and don’t get a map. You can as well buy your own map in one of book or gear shops (e.g. in Coyhaique). We didn’t have it but other tourists told us it was better than the free one.
      We used only the map no other navigation for Cerro Castillo the trail is quite clear and there were other tourists to follow. Often for navigation we use app it usually has trekking trails and works offline. If you have more questions we’ll be happy to answer!
      Good luck!

      • Bettina (@bettinathenomad)

        That’s great to know, thanks! I’ll let you know if other questions come up, as I’m sure they will. 🙂

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