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Howlanders W Trek Review: Our Experience

A few months ago we told you our opinion of Howlanders, the adventurous travel agency. The trip they helped us organize was to Chile when it was still possible to travel normally, to discover the famous Torres del Paine.

Mark Robins

January 8, 2024

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A few months ago we told you our opinion of Howlanders, the adventurous travel agency. The trip they helped us organize was to Chile when it was still possible to travel normally, to discover the famous Torres del Paine. Taking advantage of the fact that this place is once again receiving travelers as before, today we bring you our review of the W Trek, the most famous route in Patagonia.

Our opinion of booking with Howlanders

Booking the Torres del Paine W Trek from the Howlanders website was very easy: you add it to the cart, book it and in a maximum of 48 hours later you receive a confirmation email. Easy! It’s not instantaneous because the availability of the accommodations is reduced, and they have to fit and organize the trip practically tailor-made for you.

The W Trek review

This trek runs through Torres del Paine, Chile’s most famous natural park, named in 2013 as the Eighth Wonder of the World. It is a route of 80 km spread across 5 days sleeping in shelters or campsites in the middle of nature.

Where does the W Trek start from

A day before starting, we went to the offices in Puerto Natales, a coastal town and the closest to Torres del Paine, where we were given a welcome kit with all the entrances and permits. Here we spent the night, and although the tour had not yet started, Howlanders helped us to find previous accommodation in this town. 

The tour starts from this village, where we took a bus that was included to get to the park entrance. There we had to register as visitors in order to enter. It was a very quick and easy process.

After registering, a bus took us to the Central Sector, where we checked in for our first lodging. We chose refuge instead of camping, where we spent the first two nights.

Day 2: Base Torres Viewpoint

The first day is almost 20 km of trekking. The good thing is that there is no need to carry the backpack because as we went back to sleep in the same refuge, we could do the trek with just enough.

Day 3: Nordenskjöld Lake and Horn Sector Hut

This day was the quietest. The route is 13 km and a half which you can do in about 6 hours and the accumulated altitude is not very high. 

The Nordenskjöld lake accompanied us a good part of the time, since the route runs next to it. It is the best day to take it easy and enjoy the views.

At the end of the route is the shelter of the Horns Sector that had already warned us and they were right, it has the best food of the whole trek.

Day 4: British Lookout and Paine Grande Refuge

Our fourth day with Howlanders doing the W trek was cold, and it is the most difficult route.

The French Valley is quite steep and here you have two options: either you return to the camp to rest, or you continue the route to the British Lookout. The good thing is that you can leave your backpack in a kind of “nursery” because the trail is a round trip. We decided to continue because we had gone all out, and the views from the top were worth it.

On the way down we picked up the backpack, and continued to the Paine Grande Sector where we decided to stay in the refuge for the last night of the W trek. We easily recommend the accommodation provided. All the shelters are very well equipped and prepared.

Day 5: Grey Glacier, Lake Pehoe and Puerto Natales

On the last day we leave in the direction of Grey Glacier, where you can also kayak or walk on the ice. This last route is quite difficult, or at least it was for us, because the slope is quite steep.

We walked near the glacier and then came across Lake Pehoe, which we crossed by catamaran (a large boat included in the price). 

When we landed again we realized that the 5 days of the W Trek with Howlanders were over. Now we just had to go back to our lodging in Puerto Natales, rest and think about the next one.

Our review of the W Trek with Howlanders in general

Our review of the W Trek with Howlanders in general is very positive and it is very likely that we will go back to them for another adventure. Here is a summary table of our review and our rating.

Accommodation– Possibility to choose between camping or shelter- Very well equipped-Prepared for the weather-Reduced availability-Paid WiFi-Very little coverage and WiFi signal8/10
Booking-Very easy and fast-Online-Manage the accommodations-Possibility of payment in your currency-It is not immediate (they take 48 hours at the most to confirm it because they have to check availability of accommodation).9/10
Cancellation Policy-Cancellation free of charge up to 31 days prior to departure– If you cancel less than 31 days in advance, no refunds will be made.9/10
Customer Service– They offer you the complete package (Lodging + Transfers + Food)-They helped us with the accommodation in Puerto Natales the day before and the day after.-24 hour phone assistance during the trip No complaints with the service received10/10
Tour-Unique experience (if you like the mountain you have to live it at least once in your life).-Exclusive Patagonian nature-Amazing landscapes-Somewhat hard for those who are not used to trekking, you have to be prepared.-Very crowded in high season (December-January).10/10
Overall score9/10

They understood from the beginning what we needed, they advised us when booking and were attentive to the phone and to us during the 5 days of the trek.

This has been our Howlanders W Trek review that we hope will help you.