|Subject: Re: Summer Plans for Torres del Paine|
Hi Ziners, Beverly,
You need to fly into Punta Arenas in Southern Chile and get a bus from there (lots of them every day - it's about a 3hr trip)to Puerto Natales, which is a couple of hours from the Torres del Paine NP. Lan Chile flies to Punta Arenas from Santiago. I'm not sure if they fly direct from Rio to Santiago or via Sao Paolo. I don't think Aerolineas Argentinas flies from Buenos Aires to Punta Arenas but you could check their webpage. There is also a budget Chilean airline called SKY that flies from Santiago to Punta Arenas.
I suggest that you reserve accommodation in the very good Backpackers "Casa Cecilia" in Puerto Natales. They will give you all the info you need re the park and store luggage for you while you are hiking so you don't have to carry too much. Also check out the Rough Guide to Chile for good info. Cecilia will also hire any hiking equipment. Both Cecilia and her German / Swiss/ Austrian husband (sorry I forget which) speak excellent English and you'll find the phone no in Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.
An alternative way to get to Puerto Natales if you have time and are interested is to fly from Santiago to Puerto Montt and get the ferry to Puerto Natales which leaves every Monday afternoon and takes 3 nights. It travels through beautiful fjords past glaciers etc. It's fun but a commercial ferry not a luxury cruise ship. It's run by a company called NAVIMAG.
Hope this helps, Michael Sydney Australia