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.
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.
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.
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.