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 visit Perito Moreno and a couple of days later departing to Torres del Paine. Here we explain the best way to get from El Calafate to Torres del Paine.
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 based on 2-3 persons and a higher price if more persons join. A private transfer will cost you around USD 900 – 1000 (€760 – €840) per 2 persons / one way.
And if you want to make at Puerto Natales first, that is also possible.
Regular transfer by bus
A bus transfer is the most popular way to travel from El Calafate to Torres del Paine. You have two options here.
The cheapest is to first take a bus to Puerto Natales (+/- 5h30) and take the next day from there to Torres del Paine from (+/- 2h30). The bus has a daily service from El Calafate to Puerto Natales from October till March. The price is around USD 80 per person / one way for El Calafate > Puerto Natales and USD 40 per person / one way for Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine (Laguna Amarga).
The buses usually drop you off at Laguna Amarga. It is a 16min drive to the Torres del Paine Welcome Center. Most hotels and campsites also offer shuttle services from Laguna Amarga.
There are some providers that offer direct bus service between El Calafate and the National Park entrance near Laguna Amarga.
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.