Cerro Castillo Circuit is a 50 km trek by Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park, top-of-the-line Patagonia Nationwide Parks for mountaineering. The surroundings on the trek is gorgeous; indigenous forest, hanging glaciers, mountain rivers, snow peaks, turquoise blue lakes, bizarrely formed mountains – untouched nature mixed with unpredictable Patagonian climate.
There are completely different routes in Cerro Castillo you may discover in a single to 4 days. In comparison with another long-distance treks in Patagonia e.g. treks in El Chalten or backpacking within the well-known Torres del Paine, Cerro Castillo is an off-the-beaten-path trek however it’s not as wild because the O’Higgins Glacier hike.
Cerro Castillo trek overview
Whole distance – 51 km/31,6 milesDays required – 3 to 4, we’d suggest 4 as a way to have extra time to benefit from the surroundings however for those who’re brief on time you may undoubtedly push it to three days. Place to begin – Valle de la Lima, Ruta 7.Ending level – Cerro Castillo village.Common altitude – 1000m.Highest factors – Cerro Castillo cross – 1600m and Portezuelo Peñon cross – 1435m. Permits – no particular permits or information required, entrance price – CLP 29 000/US$33 is paid on the gate.
Cerro Castillo climate
Summer season (December to March) – is the very best time for mountaineering in Patagonia generally; good and heat in the course of the day (it not often will get sizzling), days are lengthy (you might have daylight until 9pm) although it rains lots in Patagonia any season be ready to expertise some rainfalls. We hiked in February and generally, had been very fortunate with the climate on this hike, not a single drop in 4 days.
In winter (June to August); evening temperatures go all the way down to -2°C and beneath, and days are chilly and brief, it’s very probably you’ll encounter snow on the trek. April and September are the months with probably the most rain in all probability the worst time for mountaineering. March, October, and November are fairly chilly although the temperature even at evening stays above 0°C and it doesn’t rain an excessive amount of.
Cerro Castillo trek
There are not any outlets or eating places inside Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park you should be self-sufficient and produce all of the tools and meals with you.
Some vacationers contemplate the Cerro Castillo trek as a great (much less crowded) various to the W trek in Torres del Paine.
There are 5 designated campsites with fundamental services within the reserve the place you’re allowed to camp, wild tenting shouldn’t be allowed.
Ingesting water could be discovered all over the place (faucets, rivers, lakes, falls), it’s good high quality and drinkable. We didn’t use any purification tablets or a UV filter right here.
Patagonian climate is unpredictable; robust winds and heavy rains are fairly frequent make certain your gear is true.
The route is marked fairly nicely all the best way, the one time we had been uncertain about it was initially of the second day.
When you hike in summer time, particularly within the months of December and January convey insect repellent there could be many tabanos (horseflies) in Patagonia this time of the yr, they’re extraordinarily annoying.
Not many individuals in Patagonia communicate English some fundamental Spanish data can be helpful.
In peak season; January-February there are numerous individuals touring the Carretera Austral – a highway by Patagonia, generally it’s tough to get on a bus usually they’re full. Hitchhiking within the space could be very in style and secure, locals and vacationers cease lots to choose up vacationers. We hitched to Cerro Castillo from Pumalin Park and it labored out nice.
How we rank Cerro Castillo trek
Issue stage – 3 out of 5, there are two steep ascents and descents on the best way.Surroundings – 4 out of 5, pine forest, lakes, glaciers, rivers – fairly spectacular panorama. Touristy – 2 out of 5, we hiked in February which continues to be excessive season however there weren’t many individuals, largely Chileans, and only a few foreigners – nothing in comparison with some hikes in Torres del Paine.
Cerro Castillo vs Torres del Paine
If it’s a must to select between visiting Carro Castillo or Torres del Paine Nationwide Parks I’d suggest the second. We’ve been to each parks and loved mountaineering there however for me, the surroundings in Torres del Paine is way extra spectacular than in Cerro Castillo. The sights of Torres del Paine embrace a few of the essential Patagonia highlights corresponding to Gray Glacier, Mirador Las Torres, Nordenjkold Lake, Mirador Frances, and Pehoe Lake. The surroundings in Cerro Castillo is gorgeous with the Mirador Cerro Castillo being the principle spotlight however I wouldn’t select it over Torres del Paine.
The primary benefit of Cerro Castillo is that it’s simpler to rearrange the hike. Not like in Torres del Paine, you don’t must ebook campsites upfront to be allowed to enter the park. It’s potential to do the Cerro Castillo trek final minute with out an excessive amount of planning. It’s cheaper to hike in Cerro Castillo than in Torres del Paine as a result of the doorway price consists of tenting. In Torres del Paine you pay the doorway price + tenting price.
Journey insurance coverage for the circuit
Cerro Castillo shouldn’t be a high-altitude or harmful hike however some elements of the route undergo distant and difficult-to-access areas of the Pure reserve. Mountaineering like every outside exercise includes dangers of getting an harm, shedding or breaking gear, and different sudden conditions. It’s all the time advisable to have insurance coverage when touring. Be correctly lined for harm, evacuation, gear loss, journey cancellations, or delays.
Out of a number of insurance coverage corporations, we suggest World Nomads, they work all around the world and specialise in outside actions like mountaineering. A beauty of World Nomads is you can purchase an insurance coverage coverage on-line whereas touring, it takes solely a few minutes. Their coverage could be very versatile it might cowl the entire interval of your journey or solely the mountaineering a part of it, even when it’s just one or two days. Get a quote proper now!
Observe! At all times be sure you rigorously learn the Phrases and Circumstances half.
Can Cerro Castillo trek be walked in both course?
Sure, you can begin at Estero Prada Entrance (Villa Cerro Castillo) and stroll from west to east or begin at Las Horquetas Entrance and stroll east to west. Whichever course you stroll the itinerary and distances are the identical.
Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park entrances
Estero Prada Entrance (the beginning of the circuit for those who stroll within the west-east course) – from 7 am to 4 pm for hikers, from 7 am to 1 pm for day guests.Entrance to Mirador Cerro Castillo (day hike) – from 7 am to 12 pmEntrance Las Horquetas (the beginning of the circuit, east-west course) – from 7 am to 1 pm.
Cerro Castillo trek price
Transport – CLP 9000/US$10 busPurchasing (meals, fuel) – CLP 9000/US$10Lodging + entrance price – it was once separate and actually no person charged for tenting on the path but it surely has modified. Now for those who do a multi-day hike you pay CLP 29 500/US$33 which consists of the entrance price and in a single day tenting within the park. For extra particulars on worth examine the official web site.
Whole: CLP 47 000/US$53
Distances on the circuit
Las Horquetas – campsite Río Turbio – 15 km/9,3 milesRio Turbio – campsite Estero del Bosque – 12 km/7,4 milesEl Bosque – campsite Neozelandes – 11 km/6,8 milesNeozelandés – Cerro Castillo village – 13 km/8 miles
Campsites on the route
Río Turbio, Day 1
Rest room – sureWorking water – sureTables, benches – sure
Estero del Bosque, Day 2 (moved 1 km on following the path in 2022)
Rest room – sureWorking water – sureTables, benches – sure
La Tetera, Day 2 (closed in 2022)
Rest room – sureWorking water – sureTables, benches – no
Porteadores, Day 3
Rest room – sureWorking water – sureTables, benches – no
Neozelandes, Day 3
Rest room – sureWorking water – sureTables, benches – sure
Learn how to get to Cerro Castillo?
Cerro Castillo Nationwide park is about 75km from Coyhaique, the capital of the area. To get there you may catch a each day bus from the Coyhaique terminal, it leaves between 9.00-9.30am for CLP 9000/US$10. The hike begins at Las Horquetas, about 30km earlier than (for those who drive from Coyhaique) Villa Cerro Castillo. When you go by bus simply ask a bus driver to cease there, for those who hitch ask the identical.
To get to Las Horquetas entrance from Villa Cerro Castillo you will get on a bus to Coyhaique that leaves at 7 am and get off at Las Horquetas.
We had some further baggage and didn’t wish to stroll for 4 days with two backpacks every so we needed to go first to Villa Cerro Castillo and ask to retailer our further baggage in one of many campsites (totally free), we promised to remain there once we’re again. You are able to do the identical and both begin strolling from Villa Cerro Castillo to Las Horquetas or catch a trip from the city to Las Horquetas.
As an possibility you may hitchhike, relying in your luck and the way many individuals are on the route, you may wait for a very long time or get a trip in quarter-hour.
Cerro Castillo trek – a 4-day itinerary
Day 1. Las Horquetas – Campamento Río Turbio, 15 km/9,3 mi
Trek begins at Las Horquetas a flip from Carretera Austral to the gravel highway, between Coyhaique (75km) and Villa Cerro Castillo (30km). From the flip to the park entrance about 13km; straightforward stroll, largely flat, on the gravel highway by fields and forest.
On the entrance, you register, pay CLP 29 000/US$33 entrance price and get a free map.
Indigenous forestThe lovely valley of Río Turbio
It was a straightforward day of strolling with out steep ascents or descents.
Day 2. Río Turbio – El Bosque, 12 km/7,4 mi
At first good straightforward stroll by the forest alongside the river for about 4km at some stage, we misplaced the path however discovered it rapidly. Then just one lengthy steep up on the hike to El Peñon cross, on high of it you’ll get an opportunity to stroll on snow/ice in the course of summer time.
After the up all the time comes down; steep and rocky, watch out, don’t rush, and watch your step. Stroll from the campsite to the cross and over it takes about 5 hours. As soon as down, it’s 1,5 hours extra to tenting El Bosque. Observe! In 2022 the campsite El Bosque was moved deeper into the forest. It’s a 40-minute stroll from the unique campsite that’s closed for restoration.
There was once one other campsite La Tetera, about 1-hour stroll from El Bosque however as of August 2022, it’s closed for restoration.
Beautiful views from the highest of El Peñon passSnow and ice on the highest of the cross
A steep ascent from the valley to El Pañon cross, +600mA steep and rocky descent from the cross, -700m
Day 3. El Bosque/La Tetera – tenting Neozelandes, 11 km/6,8 mi
Initially of the day after a 1-hour stroll you arrive on the lake – Laguna Cerro Castillo (you begin there for those who camped at La Tetera), some of the spectacular sceneries on the hike; turquoise shade lake, hanging glacier, and mountains round. From the lake, you’ll begin ascending to Cerro Castillo cross, 1600m.
Don’t overlook to show round occasionally to examine the view, from the highest of the cross it’s much more spectacular. As soon as on the high you begin a steep lengthy descent, be very cautious it’s actually steep, rocky, and will get very windy.
After about 1,5 hours you’ll end up on the river, tenting Los Porteadores. Right here you might have a number of choices; to camp at Los Porteadores and stroll to Neozelandes with out your backpack, to skip Neozelandes and go all the way down to Cerro Castillo village, or to maintain strolling along with your backpack, about 1,5 hours, to Neozelandes and camp there. We selected the final possibility and actually loved it, the realm across the campsite is totally lovely; a inexperienced valley with a river surrounded by bizarre-shaped mountains. Tenting Neozelandes was the least crowded, we had been 6 individuals tenting there.
If for some motive you don’t need or can’t proceed the hike you may take an emergency route. From La Tetera stroll as much as the Mirador Cerro Castillo the place you’ll see Sendero de Emergencia, a route that can take you straight to Villa Cerro Castillo. This route is utilized by day hikers to get from the city to Laguna Cerro Castillo and again in at some point. The descent could be very steep, about 900m down.
Turquoise blue lake Laguna Cerro CastilloHanging Cerro Castillo GlacierStunning views from the highest of the passA lovely valley at Neozelandes campsite
A steep rocky ascent to Cerro Castillo cross, +700mA very steep and rocky descent from the cross, -800m
Day 4. Neozelandes – Villa Cerro Castillo, 13 km/8 mi
Final bit and solely down, all the best way to the highway, about 3,5 hours and from there 1,5 hours to the village and campings.
On the exit, you could be requested to indicate your ticket, and maintain it until the top. The trekking shouldn’t be very tough however could be if the climate is dangerous, the trail is nicely marked, no harmful animals or toxic snakes, and you stroll between 6-7 hours each day.
Strolling by the forest
An extended descent to Villa Cerro Castillo, -800m
What to pack for the Cerro Castillo trek?
There are not any lodging choices, eating places, or outlets contained in the Nationwide reserve convey with you all you want for 3 nights of tenting.
Tent – for tenting in Patagonia we’d suggest having a great high quality dependable tent that’s waterproof and wind-resistant. After 5 years of touring, mountaineering, and tenting generally in very dangerous climate circumstances we purchased an MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent. It’s gentle, pack small, straightforward to pitch, waterproof, and really steady in robust wind. They could be not the most cost effective tents however will serve you for years with out failing.
Tenting mat – we’re each fully for an inflatable tenting pad. It’s small and light-weight, straightforward to scrub, match inside a backpack, mushy and cozy.
Sleeping bag – for those who’re going to Patagonia in summer time 0°C consolation sleeping again can be ok, in different seasons we’d suggest bringing a bag with consolation to -5°C. I favor down sleeping baggage. They are lighter, pack smaller, heat, very mushy, and cozy but when they get moist it’ll be an issue.
Cooking gear (range, pots, fuel) – we suggest bringing a range to have the ability to prepare dinner sizzling meals and boil water for tea. Trendy tenting stoves are very gentle and small and can hardly add 500 grams to your backpack weight. Purchase a range with Piezo Ignition to have a backup in case you lose a lighter or matches get moist.
As for pots we all the time take two pots with lids (that we use as plates); one for cooking and one for boiling water. You’ll be capable of purchase fuel in virtually any city in Patagonia. You should buy a cooking set with a range, pots, and utensils.
Extra particulars on mountaineering and tenting gear for Patagonia you will discover in our Patagonia packing listing publish.
Mirador Cerro Castillo – at some point hike
It’s potential to do a one-day hike to the Mirador Cerro Castillo from the place you may see the lake and Cerro Castillo glacier. In my view, it’s top-of-the-line day hikes in Patagonia.
Beginning and ending level – Villa Cerro CastilloDistance – 12km returnAltitude achieve/loss – 900m ascent to the Mirador (viewpoint) with subsequent 900m descent again to the valley.The time required – 6-7 hoursPermits – no particular permits are required. The doorway price is CLP 18 000/US$20 is charged on the entrance. For a day hike entry to the path is from 7 am to 12 pm. It’s executed to make sure you’ll have sufficient time to descend earlier than it will get darkish.
When you take pleasure in day-hikes with gorgeous surroundings and breathtaking lookout factors contemplate together with a few of the lovely day-hikes in Torres del Paine in your Patagonia itinerary.
Learn how to get to Mirador Cerro Castillo hike?
The trek begins at Villa Cerro Castillo, take a bus or hitchhike from Coyhaique. As soon as there discover a signal “Sendero de Chile” and observe the highway till you attain a check-point. There you pay admission CLP 18 000/US$20 and begin a steep ascend all the best way to the Mirador.
Day hikers to Mirador Cerro Castillo must ascend and descend following the identical path. It’s not allowed to enter or exit by Estera Prado Entrance (the doorway for the circuit). Day hikers should not allowed to descend to the lake because it takes an excessive amount of time.
Laguna Cerro CastilloCerro Castillo GlacierViews from the Mirador
A really steep and lengthy ascent from Villa Cerro Castillo to the Mirador, +900mA steep and lengthy descent again to the city, -900m
Mirador Cerro Castillo trek packing listing
Water bottleSnacks, sandwiches – it’s a 7-hour hike you’ll get hungry.Sun shades CapRain jacketsMountaineering poles can be helpful on the best way down, it’s steep and lengthy.Sunscreen – on a sunny day it’s a should.Insect repellent – there could be sandflies, they’re very annoying.
The place to remain earlier than the trek?
For Patagonia, Coyhaique is sort of a giant place the final correct city with good infrastructure on the best way down south until El Chalten in Argentina or Puerto Natales in Chile. If you’ll want to improve your gear, purchase fuel, draw money – it’s the place to do it. There are a few gear and second-hand outlets (Ropa Americana) within the city, which was fairly essential for me as a result of on the best way to Coyhaique I misplaced my backpack with all my garments, it fell out of the automobile whereas we had been hitchhiking.
You possibly can mix the Patagonia mountaineering expertise with exploring the huge San Rafael glacier, there are excursions to the glacier that depart from Coyhaique each day.
Resorts – yesCampsites – yesSupermarket, outlets – sure, huge Unimark and one or two outside gear shopsRestaurants, cafes – yesATMs – yesInformation workplace – sure
Lodging in Coyhaique
There are lots of visitor homes, accommodations, hostels, and campsites within the city. If you’re on a good finances convey a tent – tenting is the one finances lodging possibility on this a part of Patagonia. We are able to suggest El Tenting, a bit outdoors of the city. It has good services; sizzling bathe, wi-fi, energy shops however no kitchen you want your individual cooking gear, worth CLP 9000/US$10 per individual.
The hike finishes at Villa Cerro Castillo, a small city with a few eating places, a store or two, and small visitor homes/cabins and campsites. We are able to suggest Baqueanos de la Patagonia campsite, 10 minutes away from the park exit, a pleasant place with good services; sizzling bathe, kitchen, electrical energy, shops, and wi-fi. Value CLP 9000/US$10 per individual. To have extra lodging and restaurant choices somewhat than return to Coyhaique.
Villa Cerro Castillo services
Resort – sure, a few visitor homes and cabins (cabañas)Campsite – sure, a number of by the townShop – sure, a few smallish shopsRestaurant – sure, a number of native restaurantsATM – noInformation – sure
Lodging in Villa Cerro Castillo
Tenting Rustik Patagonia | Tenting Araukaria | Tenting El Mirador| Hostal El Rodeo | La Casona | B&B y Cabañas Cerro Castillo |
Learn how to get from Villa Cerro Castillo to Coyhaique?
When you arrive within the city early you’ll have an opportunity to catch a bus again to Coyhaique the identical day. There are two or three each day buses from Cochrane to Coyhaique however within the season they could be full. Go to the vacationer data workplace only a block away from Carretera Austral. You possibly can attempt to hitchhike however it may be tough because of the many individuals on the highway – dozens of backpackers locals and foreigners hoping to get a trip.
Learn how to get from Villa Cerro Castillo to Puerto Río Tranquilo?
If hitch-hiking shouldn’t be your cup of tea you may catch a bus simply must know that public transport could be very scarce within the space. There was a bus at 11am to Cochrane, worth CLP 9000 pesos/US$10. In our expertise the bus was already full when arrived, some individuals might get in. We hitched all the best way to Puerto Río Tranquilo, 120km south of Villa Cerro Castillo, and had been very prefer to get a trip rapidly.
Really useful books and guidebooks
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The beautiful half of Stingy Nomads, chargeable for all our land adventures (mountaineering, climbing, strolling the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves strolling since she was a toddler, she prefers to stroll 1000 km with a backpack somewhat than to do a ten 000 km highway journey (really any highway journey). Alya is a giant fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Each time we go away she desperately misses our canine Chile.