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Refugio Paine Grande Review







A wooden signboard at Refugio Paine Grande indicating directions and services on offer.

Intro: One of Torres del Paine’s largest lodgings, and an undeniable hub for trekkers in the park, Refugio Paine Grande turned out to be our favorite campsite along our 9-day “O” circuit trek.

It had been 11 long hours on the trail from Campamento Paso before we finally arrived at Refugio Paine Grande, and it couldn’t have been a second too soon for Charlene and I. We were feeling absolutely exhausted and ready for a hot shower and a hearty, home-cooked meal.

Looking towards the Cuernos del Paine mountain range from the campsite at Refugio Paine Grande during the early morning light.

Refugio Paine Grande is located along the edge of Lago Pehoe, near the entrance to Torres del Paine National Park, and (as a result) is one of the most well-established and busiest lodges. It not only serves those doing the “O” circuit trek (like Charlene and I), but also trekkers on the “W” trail, as well as day visitors who come in to just get a taste of the scenery Torres del Paine has to offer. It’s very much a hub, with great amenities, lodge-style rooms, and a huge cafeteria to eat in.

The meal service area at Refugio Paine Grande where you can redeem your prepaid voucher for a hot dinner or breakfast.

Before leaving for Patagonia, we had decided to splurge on the meal packages provided at some of the refugios in Torres del Paine, and this was one such occasion. After pitching our tent, we were ready to sit down and be spoiled with a hot meal, cooked by the chefs at Refugio Paine Grande. Basically, you purchase a voucher that you show to the staff, who then dish you up a meal of meat, potatoes, vegetables and soup, with drinks an optional extra.

The main building of Refugio Paine Grande, with lodge accommodation and a large cafeteria.

Feeling a little reenergized after dinner, we headed off to the communal shower block for a hot (at some stages warm) soak and the best showers on the trek thus far. While I only had to wait about 5 minutes in the men’s queue, Charlene had to wait a good 30-40 minutes in the women’s, prompting some ladies to sneak over into the men’s cubicles anyway!

Capturing the fast moving clouds over the Cuernos del Paine mountain range at around 7PM from Refugio Paine Grande.

Aside from the amenities at Refugio Paine Grande, the setting is absolutely stunning, with the Cuernos del Paine mountain ranges behind and beautiful vistas no matter which way you look. I took a few long exposure shots of the clouds moving above the peaks before going to bed, then was up bright and early to capture the sunrise the following morning over Lago Pehoe.

The early evening sunshine illuminates the campsite at Refugio Paine Grande, with Cuernos del Paine in the background.

We started the day with a breakfast inside the cafeteria (a rare treat to not have to prepare it ourselves) and packed up our belongings and tent, ready to get going all over again. Although it had rained a little the night before (with water droplets on the outside of our tent when we awoke), it was a beautiful morning at Refugio Paine Grande, with the Cuernos del Paine mountain range providing a stunning backdrop.

Sunrise over Lake Pehoe and the grassy fields that surround Refugio Paine Grande in Torres del Paine National Park.

All in all, Refugio Paine Grande was our favorite lodging of the entire 9-day “O” circuit trek, and a chance to refuel, wash and rest before continuing our adventure through Torres del Paine National Park.


  • If you have to choose a day when to splurge with a nice hot meal, your best bet is at Paine Grande where you have more options. You can also purchase wine here.
  • Take your hot shower early (when there isn’t a line) or you may end up waiting for 30 minutes.
  • Bring a pair of earplugs in case other trekkers get a bit too rowdy in the middle of the night.
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