Getting from El Calafate to Torres del Paine is a common transfer between Argentina’s beautiful Patagonia landscape and Chile’s famous national park. The most popular route is by arriving in El Calafate and visiting Perito Moreno and the next day departing to Torres del Paine. Here I explain the best way to get from El Calafate to Torres del Paine.

Read also: Patagonia train: how to take the Tren Patagonico

The options to get from El Calafate to Torres del Paine

You have three options available: private transfer, a bus transfer, or with your rental car. And if you really want a fast transfer, then take a helicopter from El Calafate. A trip from El Calafate to Torres del Paine takes about 5h hours with a direct transfer in private or with your rental car. Let’s explain every possibility.

Private transfer to Torres del Paine

A comfortable but one of the most expensive ways to travel to Torres del Paine is a private transfer. The biggest advantage, you plan the transfer at the time that suits you best, and the transfer is direct from hotel to hotel.

The price is mostly calculated per car and a higher price if more people join. A private transfer will cost you around USD 800 (€735) per car / one-way.

And if you want to go first to Puerto Natales, that is also possible. Which is mostly a bit cheaper.

Getting from El Calafate to Torres del Paine route

Bus transfer to Puerto Natales (Torres del Paine)

There is a daily bus service between Argentina and Puerto Natales. The next day you can take a bus from Puerto Natales to Laguna Amarga, which is seen as the start of the Torres del Paine park.

The bus takes around 5h30 to cross the border and get you to Puerto Natales.

Later you take a to Laguna Amarga. It is a 16-minute drive to the Torres del Paine Welcome Center. Most hotels and campsites also offer shuttle services from Laguna Amarga.

Currently, there are no bus services directly from El Calafate to Laguna Amarga.

Check out the schedule of the bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales

Rent a car to the national park

Do you want some more freedom to move around? Then renting a car is one of the best options for getting to the national park in Chile.

You can easily rent a car in El Calafate and drive around in Chile. However, there is something very important. If you start your car rental in El Calafate (Argentina) then the drop-off needs to be in Argentina too. That can be El Calafate, Ushuaia, or another city that you prefer as an end destination.

Border crossing permit

Also, don’t forget to ask for the border crossing permit. This is a permit for the car to cross the border with you. The car rental agency needs to provide this. Therefore, it’s important to say that you want to drive to Torres del Paine. They will ask for your passport to arrange the border crossing permit for Chile.

When to book the rental car?

There are many car rental agencies available in El Calafate. But be aware that during high season the cars are very popular to rent. Be on time to make your reservation. Two or three months before is fine.

Car rental agencies that we recommend

Hertz is one of the most popular car rentals in El Calafate. It was a good service and pick-up was available at El Calafate airport. Also, Avis and Budget are operating in El Calafate.

Try to negotiate a price in Argentinian peso. It will save some money.


Since 2017 I'm living in Buenos Aires close to the heart of Patagonia. The perfect home base to start many trips throughout the beautiful Patagonian landscapes. With Secrets of Patagonia, I like to share honest information to plan your once in a lifetime trip. Hours of talking with local residents, traveling by myself and the experience of working in the tourism industry. I hope you will enjoy Patagonia as much as I do.


  1. Thanks for all the great info.
    I am hiring a car from El Calafate airport to drive to TdP in November so I have contacted Hertz to get the necessary permit. They asked for my documentation to do this but then mentioned that the border is currently closed. I can’t immediately find any reference to this online so wondered whether you knew about this and had any further details.
    Thanks in anticipation

  2. Russell Peter Murphy Reply

    Hey Glenn – thanks for that great info. I’m travelling from El Calafate to Torres on 16 nov by bus, but cant seem to find any afternoon bus services that link with the 1.00pm arrival into Puerto Natales. The latest service is Bus Sur departing an hour earlier, so no way to link the two into Torres! Surely we don’t all have to stay a night in Puerto Natales just to travel to it the next morning! Have tried most companies on line but no luck yet, any ideas?

  3. Hi Glen, I wonder if you can provide some advice. We are driving (rental car) from El Calafate to Torres del Paine later this month. What is the best route, taking into account the scarcity of gasoline stations? With a saloon car, is the Cerro Castillo border crossing OK – I understand it is a gravel road and with the need to drive slowly it may better to go to Puerto Natales. Also, where is the nearest point in Argentina to the border crossing that we can fill the car with fuel? Many thanks in anticipation. Ian

  4. Who are the provides of direct bus services between El Calafate and Torres del Paine ? Do you have any links ?

  5. Great info. How do you go back from Torres del Paine to El Calafate/El Chalten, in order to fly back to Buenos Aires? Is there a direct bus as well?

  6. Hi Glenn, thanks for the article! Looking to have a bus transfer from El Calafate to Pudeto, to take the boat from there on. A few days later, after completing the W-trek, we’d like to take the bus back to El Calafate, from Hotel Las Torres (or Laguna Amarga). Where could I find information on the departure times, and where could I book in advance?

    Have looked all over the internet, but cannot find.. Hope this is all possible? Would be very thankful!!!!

    Thanks Hugo

    • Michael Winfield Reply

      Hello Hugo, I think I am planning to do the same trip as you: TdP to El Calafete next year. Did you find any way to do this please? I think there is a same day Grayline Tour to/from El Calafete and have tried asking if it would be possible to book transportation only (so we can spend 3 days in the park) , but so far have only been referred to their website (basically the one day tour). I look forward to hearing from you, Michael.

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