I started documenting the costs of our trips because people have often asked how much it costs to quit your job and travel the world. While that is a very long and dependent answer, I share our costs of traveling. The goals are to shine a light on how affordable it can actually be to travel.
In December 2019, we hiked Patagonia’s W-Trek in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. We enjoyed our time in the beautiful region that is unlike any other part of the world. In fact, it feels like being at the edge of the world.
For the entire W-trek, we spent $2,084.51 USD. We spent a total of 9 days in Patagonia so that is $210.26 per day total or $105.13 per person. The entire reason we went to Patagonia was to hike the W-trek in Torres del Paine National Park. We completed the hike in 5 days/ 4 nights with the remaining days spent in Puerto Natales. Because we visited this area with the sole purpose of hiking, we added the budget for Patagonia.
Our Travel Style:
If you’ve seen my other “Cost of Traveling” posts, you know that I usually say that we are value-based travelers meaning that we will splurge on something if we think it is worth it. With that being said, this entire trip was a splurge because we are very new to hiking, This was our first multi-day hike so we spent a lot more to overcompensate our neophyte hiking experience. We also paid for and planned for this trip prior to quitting our jobs so we felt more comfortable with the costs.
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We decided to camp in the park using their tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, etc. Including 3 nights in Red Point Patagonia Hostel and the accommodation in the park, we spent $850.71 total in accommodations. Keep reading on budget tips. One item that was a huge value for the money was staying at Red Point Patagonia Hostel. The staff is amazing and helped us prepare for our hike. If we didn’t stay in this hostel, our trek would’ve been 10x worse.
Restaurants (and food not at home):
We spent $800.86 on food during the 9 days. Although the food is not good in the park or Puerto Natales, the options are limited and very expensive. We ate dinner and breakfast in Torres del Paine National Park. Of course, hiking with your own food and cooking at the campsites would drastically reduce this number. This doesn’t include groceries we purchased before the hike. The next section covers groceries.
Groceries and Household items:
Prior to hiking, we purchased $34.58 worth of groceries to eat on the hike. I don’t like to cook in hostels because I like to have the whole kitchen to myself. These groceries included lunch and snacks while hiking. I have conflicting thoughts about this budget item because I believe we purchased the wrong foods. We didn’t have nearly enough food for 5 days of all-day hiking but we spent a lot of money on groceries. We mostly purchased granola bars, trail mix, and snickers. 3 months later and I still don’t fully understand how we spent so much and had so little food. Oh well – I guess another one of life’s mysteries.
RideSharing and Local Transportation:
We spent a total of $97.17 on ridesharing and local transportation around the area. I will break this category down further because it includes transportation to Puerto Natales and to the park that is extremely helpful in planning. The 3-hour bus ticket from Punta Arena Airport to Puerto Natales bus terminal cost $38.06 total round trip. Luckily, Puerto Natales is very walkable so we didn’t use any transportation services around the city. The remaining was spent on bus tickets to and from Torres del Paine National Park. For two people, bus tickets are very reasonable.
The main attraction and activity from Puerto Natales are hiking in Torres del Paine. The entrance into the park was $54.64 for two people. For our activity, we hiked the W-trek in 5 days/ 4 nights. This entire post is about that one activity so nothing new for this section.
Non-Local Transportation (flights, buses, and taxi to specific places):
Non-Local transportation includes transportation from other cities or other points of interest. We spent $138.00 on round-trip flights between Santiago and Punta Arenas. The 3-hour flight is very affordable for two people and we’re happy with the prices we found with LATAM airlines.
We spent $108.55 on miscellaneous extras. At the last minute, we decided to rent trekking poles from REd Point Patagonia hostel for $41.95 that saved our backs and knees throughout the trip. While there were cheaper options, we trusted the quality of the hostel’s pole. Included is also the $10.00 on WiFi at Paine Grande Refugio inside the park during a rainy day.
While our spending above includes some luxury, there are some areas for luxury upgrades if that is your style. I heard really good things from Puerto Bories House in Purto Natales that are gorgeous little cottages amongst the mountains. The scenery from the bedroom windows is the reason alone to stay at this hotel. Luxury within the park is also available by staying inside the refugios or domes. We chose to camp with provided supplies but there are rooms at each site.
We loved our stay at Red Point Patagonia Hostel for budget-friendly accommodations outside of the park in Puerto Natales. Within Torres del Paine, there are several free campsites (Camping Italiano was the only one open during our trek in December 2019). This option requires you to have your own tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc. However, if you already own these items, it can be a real coin saver. In addition, cooking your own meals throughout the hike is a really good budget option especially since the food inside the park is not delicious.
Bonus: Check out our other posts on Chile
- How Much Does It Cost for a Month in Santiago, Chile
- How to Plan your Self-Guided Patagonia Hike
- Top 10 Things to Do & See in Santiago, Chile
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