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Hiking in Torres del Paine - 14 Essential Photographs

You wouldn’t visit the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia without taking a perspective-bending shot of yourself standing on someone else’s hand. You wouldn’t visit Pisa without taking a snap of yourself straining to prop up the famous leaning tower. You wouldn’t visit Buckingham Palace without capturing the moment you unsuccessfully tried to distract a stony-faced uniformed guard. And no visit to Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia would be complete without the following obligatory photographs!


pose with milodon
1. The ‘Posing with the Milodon’ shot
The caves where the remains of the ancient animal, the milodon, were found are not actually in Torres del Paine National Park, but many people make the stop en route. Picture yourself hugging, faux-fighting or just awkwardly hanging out with the tasteful life-size model of this prehistoric beast.


conquering the torres del paine towers
2. The ‘Conquering The Torres del Paine Towers’ shot
Jumping for joy, sitting serenely, or arms outstretched in triumph... everyone wants a picture of their moment of glory. This is your proof that you did it, you were there, you took on the tough hike to the base of the imposing Towers and you won!


guanaco in torres del paine
3. The ‘Guanaco against a mountain backdrop’ shot
What is it about the llama-like guanaco that’s both endearing and slightly amusing at the same time? We’re not sure, but nothing sums up the Torres del Paine experience more succinctly than the sight of this quirky creature against a backdrop of epic proportions.


hiking in torres del paine
4. The ‘Hiking action’ shot
This is another one of those photos you have to take just to prove you really did hike the whole W Trek or Paine Circuit and the bigger the backpack and the better it looks! Just remember that no matter how much your legs are aching, how cold you are, or how far it is until camp, this photo is never complete without a smile!


torres del paine sunrise
5. The ‘Towers at sunrise’ shot
You’ll have to rely on a certain amount of luck and a large dose of motivation to snap this coveted vista but it really is one of the classic shots of The Towers. Arriving at the lookout point for sunrise means a chilly pre-dawn hike, but who could deny that it’s worth it?


scotch on the rocks
6. The ‘Drinking Scotch with glacier ice’ shot
When taking a boat ride out to Grey Glacier the chances are you’ll be offered a glass of Scotch or something similar on glacier “rocks”. You know deep down it’s a bit of a gimmick, but for some reason it’s still incredibly exciting and definitely a moment to capture for posterity.


flying in torres del paine
7. The ‘Leaning into the wind’ shot
The wind in Torres del Paine National Park is legendary, it’s hard to get across just how strong it can be. But one way to make your point is to take a photo of yourself leaning into it, or, if you’re after an extra thrill, even “flying”.


condor in torres del paine
8. The ‘Majestic condor’ shot
The condor is Chile’s national bird and is seen wheeling around mountains along the length of the country. But there’s something about the wide spaces of Patagonia that lifts this already magnificent bird to another level. They’re not easy to photograph but you won't be able to resist giving it a try.


grey glacier
9. The ‘Impossibly blue glacier’ shot
When glacial ice becomes very compressed it refracts light in such a way that it appears to be bright blue. Unfortunately, for anyone who hasn’t seen it with their own eyes the colours can be so vibrant that camera trickery is often suspected!


cloud torres del paine
10. The ‘Weird cloud formation’ shot
The dramatic landscape of Torres del Paine and its position at the bottom of South America mean that it’s subject to changeable and frequently spectacular weather. From brooding storm fronts to lenticular clouds resembling alien spaceships, you’re almost certain to see something photo-worthy.


hiking feet
11. The ‘Battle scars’ shot
Multi-day hikes in Torres del Paine can take their toll on your body and your feet are usually the first to suffer. If you're unlucky enough to get blisters, you can at least take a photo to show off your war wounds when you get home!


torres del paine reflection
12. The ‘Mountains reflected in a lake’ shot
On a calm day in Torres del Paine National Park the choppy, white-capped lake waters can be transformed into glass-like glacial mirrors that reflect entire stretches of the craggy mountain range, creating great symmetrical photographs.


torres del paine mist
13. The ‘Towers obscured by clouds’ shot
Nobody really sets out to get this particular photograph, but with Patagonia’s rapidly changing weather it’s often one that people end up with. On the plus side, since the weather is so changeable you may find you get a short window with a clear shot at The Towers even on a really overcast day.


plane to punta arenas
14. The 'Out of the plane window' shot
If you’re travelling in or out of Torres del Paine through Santiago, rather than across the border from Argentina, you’ll probably be flying to or from Punta Arenas. Book a daytime flight for awe-inspiring views over the Patagonian ice fields as you travel back up north.


Now you know the photos clichés of Torres del Paine National Park you can recreate them or choose go your own way. One thing’s for sure, no matter how amazing the photo, it can never quite compare with the experience of visiting Patagonia for yourself.

Let us know if you’ve managed to collect all 14 classic photos. And why not head over to take a look at the top five photo opportunities in the whole of Chile?