Travel Guide

Cerro Castillo Circuit – a 2022 trekking information

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Cerro Castillo Circuit is a 50 km trek by Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park, among the best 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 possibly can 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 isn’t as wild because the O’Higgins Glacier hike.

A view of Cerro Castillo Lake and the glacier from the trek
A turquoise-blue Cerro Castillo Lake and the glacier, are the highlights of the trek

Cerro Castillo trek overview

  • Complete distance – 51 km/31,6 miles
  • Days required – Three to 4, we’d suggest Four with a view to have extra time to benefit from the surroundings however if you happen to’re brief on time you possibly can undoubtedly push it to three days.
  • Start line – Valle de la Lima, Ruta 7.
  • Ending level – Cerro Castillo village.
  • Common altitude – 1000m.
  • Highest factors – Cerro Castillo move – 1600m and Portezuelo Peñon move – 1435m.
  • Permits – no particular permits or information required, entrance payment – CLP 29 000/US$33 is paid on the gate.

Cerro Castillo climate

Summer time (December to March) – is the perfect time for mountaineering in Patagonia usually; good and heat through the day (it not often will get scorching), days are lengthy (you may have daylight until 9pm) although it rains rather a lot in Patagonia any season be ready to experience some rainfalls. We hiked in February and usually, have been very fortunate with the climate on this hike, not a single drop in Four days.

In winter (June to August); night time temperatures go right down to -2°C and under, and days are chilly and brief, it’s very seemingly you’ll encounter snow on the trek. April and September are the months with probably the most rain most likely the worst time for mountaineering. March, October, and November are fairly chilly although the temperature even at night time stays above 0°C and it doesn’t rain an excessive amount of. 

Average monthly temperatures in Coyhaique
Common month-to-month temperatures in Coyhaique, Patagonia
Graph with average monthly rainfalls in Coyhaique
Common month-to-month rainfalls in Coyhaique, Patagonia

Cerro Castillo trek

There are no outlets or eating places inside Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park you have to be self-sufficient and convey all of the gear and meals with you.

Some vacationers take into account 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 primary services within the reserve the place you’re allowed to camp, wild tenting shouldn’t be allowed.

Consuming 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; sturdy winds and heavy rains are fairly frequent ensure your gear is correct.

The route is marked fairly nicely all the best way, the one time we have been uncertain about it was firstly of the second day.

In the event you hike in summer time, particularly within the months of December and January convey insect repellent there may be many tabanos (horseflies) in Patagonia this time of the yr, they’re extraordinarily annoying.

Not many individuals in Patagonia communicate English some primary Spanish data can be helpful.

In peak season; January-February there are many individuals touring the Carretera Austral – a highway by Patagonia, typically it’s tough to get on a bus usually they’re full. Hitchhiking within the space could be very fashionable and protected, locals and vacationers cease rather a lot to select up vacationers. We hitched to Cerro Castillo from Pumalin Park and it labored out nice.

How we rank Cerro Castillo trek

  • Problem stage – Three out of 5, there are two steep ascents and descents on the best way.
  • Surroundings – Four 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.
Stunning view of the area from the pass, Cerro Castillo circuit, Chile
Stunning surroundings on the Cerro Castillo circuit, Patagonia, Chile

Cerro Castillo vs Torres del Paine

If you need to select between visiting Carro Castillo or Torres del Paine Nationwide Parks I might suggest the second. We’ve been to each parks and loved mountaineering there however for me, the surroundings in Torres del Paine is much extra spectacular than in Cerro Castillo. The sights of Torres del Paine embody a number of the major Patagonia highlights equivalent 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 primary spotlight however I wouldn’t select it over Torres del Paine.

The principle benefit of Cerro Castillo is that it’s simpler to rearrange the hike. Not like in Torres del Paine, you don’t need to e-book 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 payment contains tenting. In Torres del Paine you pay the doorway payment + tenting payment.

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. Mountain climbing like every out of doors exercise includes dangers of getting an harm, shedding or breaking gear, and different surprising conditions. It’s at all times 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 everywhere in the world and focus on out of doors actions like mountaineering. A beauty of World Nomads is you could purchase an insurance coverage coverage on-line whereas touring, it takes solely a few minutes. Their coverage could be very versatile it may well 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! All the time ensure you rigorously learn the Phrases and Circumstances half.

Can Cerro Castillo trek be walked in both path?

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 path you stroll the itinerary and distances are the identical.

Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park entrances

  • Estero Prada Entrance (the beginning of the circuit if you happen to stroll within the west-east path) – from 7 am to Four pm for hikers, from 7 am to 1 pm for day guests.
  • Entrance to Mirador Cerro Castillo (day hike) – from 7 am to 12 pm
  • Entrance Las Horquetas (the beginning of the circuit, east-west path) – from 7 am to 1 pm.

Cerro Castillo trek price

  • Transport – CLP 9000/US$10 bus
  • Purchasing (meals, fuel) – CLP 9000/US$10
  • Lodging + entrance payment –  it was once separate and actually no one charged for tenting on the path nevertheless it has modified. Now if you happen to do a multi-day hike you pay CLP 29 500/US$33 which contains the entrance payment and in a single day tenting within the park. For extra particulars on value verify the official web site.

Complete: CLP 47 000/US$53

Distances on the circuit

  • Las Horquetas – campsite Río Turbio – 15 km/9,Three miles
  • Rio Turbio – campsite Estero del Bosque – 12 km/7,Four miles
  • El Bosque – campsite Neozelandes – 11 km/6,eight miles
  • Neozelandés – Cerro Castillo village – 13 km/eight miles

Campsites on the route

Río Turbio, Day 1


  • Bathroom – sure
  • Operating water – sure
  • Tables, benches – sure

Estero del Bosque, Day 2 (moved 1 km on following the path in 2022)


  • Bathroom – sure
  • Operating water – sure
  • Tables, benches – sure

La Tetera, Day 2 (closed in 2022)


  • Bathroom – sure
  • Operating water – sure
  • Tables, benches – no

Porteadores, Day 3


  • Bathroom – sure
  • Operating water – sure
  • Tables, benches – no

Neozelandes, Day 3


  • Bathroom – sure
  • Operating water – sure
  • Tables, benches – sure
Beautiful scenery on the way to the trek
The surroundings on the best way to the Cerro Castillo trek

Tips on how to get to Cerro Castillo?

Cerro Castillo Nationwide park is about 75km from Coyhaique, the capital of the area. To get there you possibly can catch a day by 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 (if you happen to drive from Coyhaique) Villa Cerro Castillo. In the event you go by bus simply ask a bus driver to cease there, if you happen to hitch ask the identical.

To get to Las Horquetas entrance from Villa Cerro Castillo you may get on a bus to Coyhaique that leaves at 7 am and get off at Las Horquetas.

We had some additional baggage and didn’t wish to stroll for Four days with two backpacks every so we needed to go first to Villa Cerro Castillo and ask to retailer our additional baggage in one of many campsites (without cost), 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 journey from the city to Las Horquetas. 

As an possibility you possibly can hitchhike, relying in your luck and the way many individuals are on the route, you possibly can wait for a very long time or get a journey in 15 minutes.

A drawing map of the Cerro Castillo trek route
A map of the route of the Cerro Castillo trek in Patagonia

Cerro Castillo trek – a 4-day itinerary

Day 1. Las Horquetas – Campamento Río Turbio, 15 km/9,Three 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; simple stroll, largely flat, on the gravel highway by fields and forest.

On the entrance, you register, pay CLP 29 000/US$33 entrance payment and get a free map.


  • Indigenous forest
  • The attractive valley of Río Turbio


  • It was a simple day of strolling with out steep ascents or descents.
Rio Turbio, Cerro Castillo circuit
Surroundings close to Rio Turbio campsite, the primary day of the Cerro Castillo circuit

Day 2. Río Turbio –  El Bosque, 12 km/7,Four mi

To start with good simple 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 move, on high of it you’ll get an opportunity to stroll on snow/ice in the midst of summer time.

After the up at all times comes down; steep and rocky, watch out, don’t rush, and watch your step. Stroll from the campsite to the move 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.


  • Gorgeous views from the highest of El Peñon move
  • Snow and ice on the highest of the move


  • A steep ascent from the valley to El Pañon move, +600m
  • A steep and rocky descent from the move, -700m
Alya at the top of El Pañon pass, hiking Cerro Castillo circuit
Alya strolling over El Pañon move, the second day of the Cerro Castillo trek

Day 3. El Bosque/La Tetera – tenting Neozelandes, 11 km/6,eight mi

Firstly of the day after a 1-hour stroll you arrive on the lake – Laguna Cerro Castillo (you begin there if you happen to camped at La Tetera), probably the most spectacular sceneries on the hike; turquoise shade lake, hanging glacier, and mountains round. From the lake, you’ll begin ascending to Cerro Castillo move, 1600m.

Don’t overlook to show round occasionally to verify the view, from the highest of the move 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 may have a number of choices; to camp at Los Porteadores and stroll to Neozelandes with out your backpack, to skip Neozelandes and go right down to Cerro Castillo village, or to maintain strolling together 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 completely stunning; a inexperienced valley with a river surrounded by bizarre-shaped mountains. Tenting Neozelandes was the least crowded, we have been 6 individuals tenting there.

If for some reason you don’t need or can’t proceed the hike you possibly can 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 may 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 sooner or later. The descent could be very steep, about 900m down.


  • Turquoise blue lake Laguna Cerro Castillo
  • Hanging Cerro Castillo Glacier
  • Gorgeous views from the highest of the move
  • A phenomenal valley at Neozelandes campsite


  • A steep rocky ascent to Cerro Castillo move, +700m
  • A really steep and rocky descent from the move, -800m
Campbell at Laguna Cerro Castillo, Patagonia
Campbell on the Laguna Cerro Castillo, day Three of the circuit

Day 4. Neozelandes – Villa Cerro Castillo, 13 km/eight 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 hold 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 day by day.


  • Strolling by the forest


  • An extended descent to Villa Cerro Castillo, -800m
Campamento Neozelandes, Cerro Castillo circuit, Chile
The surroundings on the Campamento Neozelandes, the final day of the trek

What to pack for the Cerro Castillo trek?

There aren’t 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 typically in very dangerous climate situations we purchased an MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent. It’s mild, pack small, simple to pitch, waterproof, and really secure in sturdy wind. They may be not the most cost effective tents however will serve you for years with out failing.

Tenting mat – we’re each solely for an inflatable tenting pad. It’s small and lightweight, simple to scrub, match inside a backpack, delicate and cozy.

Sleeping bag – if you happen to’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 delicate, 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 cook dinner scorching meals and boil water for tea. Trendy tenting stoves are very mild 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 at all times 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 nearly any city in Patagonia. You should purchase 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 – sooner or later hike

It’s potential to do a one-day hike to the Mirador Cerro Castillo from the place you possibly can see the lake and Cerro Castillo glacier. In my view, it’s among the best day hikes in Patagonia.

  • Beginning and ending level – Villa Cerro Castillo
  • Distance – 12km return
  • Altitude acquire/loss – 900m ascent to the Mirador (viewpoint) with subsequent 900m descent again to the valley.
  • The time required – 6-7 hours
  • Permits – no particular permits are required. The doorway payment 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 finished to make sure you’ll have sufficient time to descend earlier than it will get darkish.

In the event you take pleasure in day-hikes with gorgeous surroundings and breathtaking lookout factors take into account together with a number of the stunning day-hikes in Torres del Paine in your Patagonia itinerary.

Tips on 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 need to 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 are usually not allowed to descend to the lake because it takes an excessive amount of time.


  • Laguna Cerro Castillo
  • Cerro Castillo Glacier
  • Views from the Mirador


  • A really steep and lengthy ascent from Villa Cerro Castillo to the Mirador, +900m
  • A steep and lengthy descent again to the city, -900m
Laguna Cerro Castillo, Mirador Cerro Castillo hike
Laguna and the Glacier Cerro Castillo from Mirador Cerro Castillo, the spotlight of the day-hike

Mirador Cerro Castillo trek packing listing

  • Water bottle
  • Snacks, sandwiches – it’s a 7-hour hike you’ll get hungry.
  • Sun shades
  • Cap
  • Rain jackets
  • Mountain climbing 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 may be sandflies, they’re very annoying.

The place to remain earlier than the trek?

For Patagonia, Coyhaique is sort of an enormous 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 it is advisable 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 have been hitchhiking. 

You may mix the Patagonia mountaineering experience with exploring the large San Rafael glacier, there are excursions to the glacier that depart from Coyhaique day by day.

Coyhaique services

  • Motels – sure
  • Campsites – sure
  • Grocery store, outlets – sure, large Unimark and one or two out of doors gear outlets
  • Eating places, cafes – sure
  • ATMs – sure
  • Data workplace – sure

Lodging in Coyhaique

There are a lot of visitor homes, accommodations, hostels, and campsites within the city. In case you are on a decent 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 exterior of the city. It has good services; scorching bathe, wi-fi, energy shops however no kitchen you want your personal cooking gear, value 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; scorching bathe, kitchen, electrical energy, shops, and wi-fi. Value CLP 9000/US$10 per individual. To have extra lodging and restaurant choices moderately than return to Coyhaique. 

Villa Cerro Castillo services

  • Resort – sure, a few visitor homes and cabins (cabañas)
  • Campsite – sure, a number of by the city
  • Store – sure, a few smallish outlets
  • Restaurant – sure, a number of native eating places
  • ATM – no
  • Data – 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 |

Tips on how to get from Villa Cerro Castillo to Coyhaique?

In the event 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 day by day buses from Cochrane to Coyhaique however within the season they may be full. Go to the vacationer data workplace only a block away from Carretera Austral. You may attempt to hitchhike however it may be tough as a result of many individuals on the highway – dozens of backpackers locals and foreigners hoping to get a journey. 

Tips on how to get from Villa Cerro Castillo to Puerto Río Tranquilo? 

If hitch-hiking shouldn’t be your cup of tea you possibly can catch a bus simply must know that public transport could be very scarce within the space. There was a bus at 11am to Cochrane, value CLP 9000 pesos/US$10. In our experience 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 have been very wish to get a journey rapidly.

Really useful books and guidebooks

Please observe and like us:

Source link

Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

Write A Comment

Pin It