This year, the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf) began a process to test the obligatory reservation measure for overnight stays in the Torres del Paine National Park. The initiative covers the Italiano, Torres and Paso campsites, free spaces that are managed by the institution.
The reservations platform for these campsites was published on the website www.parquetorresdelpaine.cl. The reservations can be made for just one night in each place and are not transferrable, meaning that reservations must be linked to a single person’s name and can only be secured for just one or two people. Conaf will not accept group reservations. The institution also informed that places will be made available from 15th October this year.
Owing to the large quantity of visitors that the national park receives, it will also be necessary to make reservations from this year onwards at the other campsites in order to secure a place. These reservations must be made by travelers directly via websites belonging to businesses Fantástic Sur (campsites Serón, Los Cuernos, El Chileno, Central and Francés) and Vértice Patagonia (campsites Paine Grande, Grey, Dickson and Los Perros).
According to the information provided by Fantástico Sur, there will also be an entrance hall located within the park, where accommodation availability will be made available to visitors in the event that they haven’t been able to make reservations online.
The objective behind the measure looks to guarantee the quality of the visitor’s experience and protect the natural and cultural resources that exist in the areas close to the trails. “Last season, we received 220.000 people. The number of visitors increased exponentially, which is why we have to limit access. Reservations and payments can be made via the website,” María Elisabeth Muñoz, Director of Conaf in Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctic, told La Tercera.
During the 2015-2016 season, an overpopulation occurred without warning, exceeding the park’s capacity within the 80.000 accommodation options. In January of this year alone, tourist admission to the two routes with available campsites – the “W”, covering an extension of 76,1 kilometers that can be explored in four days, and the “O”, covering a route of almost 93 kilometers that can be enjoyed over an average of seven days – increased by 15,6% when compared with the same month the previous year.
“This is a measure that will respect Torres del Paine National Park’s capacity and help to take care of it. It’s a destination that continues to be one of the most highlighted attractions in Chile,” explained the General Manager of Turismo Chile, Debbie Feldman.
The measure will come into force during the high season, which falls between October and March.