Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation

From: $2,950

per person dbl occ

Dates: Mar-Mar - see all dates

Total Days: 13

Activity Level: 3

Reserve This Trip

1-800-622-2236

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Monday–Friday,
7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation

Price:

2015

$2,950

Additional Fees

Single supplement: $300

Trip Dates:

2015

  • Mar 2–14

Or, book a
private departure.


More great trips like this:
Machu Picchu Volunteer Vacation

Group Size: 8-18

Larger groups will be divided into smaller work groups of generally no more than 10 volunteers. Each of these work groups will be accompanied by an experienced team leader.

Activity Level: 3

Activities:

  • Trail Maintenance
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Hiking

Accommodations:

Hotels, 1 night; Park group lodging, 11 nights.

Trip Highlights

Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation

Selected by National Geographic as one of their "50 Tours of a Lifetime" for 2012.

  • Volunteer in Chile's magnificent Torres del Paine National Park
  • Help with critical trail maintenance and restoration projects
  • Hike parts of the famous "W" route on the way to "work"
  • Includes most meals and all lodging in hotels and refugios

Selected by National Geographic as one of their "50 Tours of a Lifetime" for 2012.

Rising from the flat Patagonian steppes with breathtaking abruptness, the craggy mountains of Torres del Paine National Park are an astonishing sight. As the crown jewel of Chile's national park system, the dramatic granite mountain spires, spectacular glaciers, and haunting winds draw visitors from around the world.

With a growing number of travelers coming to explore one of the world's greatest landscapes, some trails have become eroded and overused, and sensitive wildlife habitat is threatened. With limited resources, the park needs help responding to visitor impacts. Instead of simply visiting the park, join us in protecting this international treasure and World Biosphere Reserve.

This volunteer vacation lets us see the sights of Patagonia in a way that few visitors ever experience. We hike on the famous "W" on our way to "work" and team with park rangers to improve hiking trails. Training is provided—no prior trail maintenance experience is required.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Arrive Punta Arenas; transfer to Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Days 2-11 - Work and hike in Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Day 12 - Travel from Torres del Paine National Park to Puerto Natales.
  • Day 13 - Early morning transfer from Puerto Natales back to Punta Arenas.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Arrive Punta Arenas; transfer to Torres del Paine National Park.

    We begin our volunteer vacation in the Chilean community of Punta Arenas, at the southern tip of South America. Punta Arenas began as an important seaport prior to the construction of the Panama Canal. It was from here that Captain Ernest Shackleton launched the successful rescue of his crew in 1916 after his ship, Endurance, was destroyed by Antarctic sea ice. Our van takes us along the Straights of Magellan before heading north to the Seno Otway Penguin Sanctuary, where we can stop to view the foot-tall Magellanic penguin in its nesting habitat. Continuing north, we will travel to Torres del Paine National Park for lodging and our welcome dinner tonight. Along the way we stop to photograph the park's magnificent mountains, as well as guanacos or other wildlife we may see along the road. Lunch and dinner included.

  • Days 2-11 - Work and hike in Torres del Paine National Park.

    Each volunteer trip to Torres del Paine differs based on the needs of the Park. Before each trip, volunteers will be given a complete itinerary that includes details about where their specific volunteer trip will be based within the park. We are currently working on the famous "W" hiking trail in the park, stretching from the Grey Glacier to the namesake Torres del Paine (Towers of the Paine). We stay in refugios – backcountry, mountain lodges with shared accommodations or in dome tents with shared accommodations near the refugios. Our meals in the Park are provided by the refugios.

    This period includes a combination of work days, rest days, and time spent moving between locations in the park. Volunteers start each day with breakfast at the refugio. On work days, after picking up a bag lunch, we hike to the work site. The work day may involve a variety of tasks: We rehabilitate (close) unauthorized trails; cut and move vegetative plugs to camouflage and rehabilitate abandoned trails; use a pick or shovel to out-slope the trails and build water bars to better shed water; clip vegetation with a lopper or hand saw to widen trails for safety; remove rocks from the trail tread with rock bars to reduce tripping hazards; and move crushed rock or stone to create a dry walking surface. Training in all aspects of our work is provided. Small groups of 5-6 volunteers are teamed with an experienced leader. On rest days (typically 2), volunteers are free to rest, or to explore the park. Experienced leaders offer suggestions for both short and long day hikes such as the Grey Glacier, French Valley or the Torres del Paine. All meals included.

  • Day 12 - Travel from Torres del Paine National Park to Puerto Natales.

    Today we transfer to the frontier town of Puerto Natales. We will have time for some shopping before our farewell dinner in Puerto Natales. All meals included.

  • Day 13 - Early morning transfer from Puerto Natales back to Punta Arenas.

    After breakfast, we depart Puerto Natales early in the morning by van for Punta Arena, in time for volunteers wishing to catch the mid-day flight departures to Santiago and the U.S. Breakfast included.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions. Work locations may vary with each volunteer expedition according to the needs of park rangers at the time the expedition takes place.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

All meals from lunch on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 13; accommodations in hotels and park group lodging; guide leadership and support staff; group tools; all ground transportation as noted; park entrance fees.

Not Included

International airfare to/from Punta Arenas, Chile; 1 lunch on final day; cost of medical immunizations; insurance of any kind (emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory for these expeditions and can be purchased through REI Adventures); excess baggage charges; airport taxes; alcoholic beverages or soft drinks; some gratuities and items of a personal nature.

Payment and Special Cancellation Policy

In order to ensure that hotel reservations and additional support services for our volunteer expeditions are confirmed well in advance of each departure, we do make non-refundable financial commitments to local service providers. By making these commitments, we are taking a step towards ensuring the highest level of customer service and organizational efficiency possible so that you can enjoy your travel experience to the fullest. In conjunction with these practices, your initial $400 deposit is completely non-refundable at time of sign up. All other standard cancellation/transfer fees will apply as noted in our booking guidelines. Please take note of this special policy when planning your trip and feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

Qualifications

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members may be novices in good physical condition. Volunteers should be comfortable hiking up to five miles most days on rolling or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents and uneven trails. To assess your fitness, volunteers should comfortably be able to hike stairs with a day pack weighing approximately 10-15 pounds or work in your yard all day moving plants, shoveling soil and pruning trees. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest beginning a regular exercise regimen at least three months prior to departure. No previous trail maintenance or restoration experience is required.

Accommodations

During our time in Torres del Paine National Park, we stay in mountain lodges locally known as refugios (specific refugio locations may vary from departure to departure), or in dome tents. Staying at different locations will allow us the opportunity to explore various areas of this magnificent national park. Refugios can be best described as hostels with generally six beds (three bunk beds) in each room. Separate men's and women's bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets are down the hall. It is common for men and women to share the same room, although participants can often sort themselves out in any way they wish. Single accommodations are not available in the park. The dome tents are located close to the refugios, typically also accommodate six people, are similarly equipped with bunk beds, and share the refugio bathrooms. On our last night we will stay at a centrally located hotel in Puerto Natales. Hotel stays are double occupancy with private bathrooms.

Food

Tasty and nutritious meals will be provided on this adventure beginning with lunch on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 13. In the hotel in Puerto Natales, breakfasts will be served buffet-style with dinners ordered off a menu in a restaurant. In the park, breakfast will generally consist of eggs, cheese, bread, juice and coffee/tea. Lunch is normally a box lunch which includes a sandwich, fruit and chocolate or other snack. Dinners are varied and typically include a chicken, pork, or beef entrée with limited vegetarian entrees. Although some special meal requests can be accommodated, we encourage all volunteers to discuss particular food requirements with us at the time of sign-up. Torres del Paine is literally at the end of the earth and not all special requests can be accommodated. If you are looking for gourmet meals ordered off a menu each night, this might not be the right trip for you. Alcoholic beverages are not included but beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Weather

The weather in Patagonia is known for high winds and extreme variability. Days can range from sunny with temperatures in the 70s to rain, hail, and occasionally even snow. Please come prepared for all possibilities and equipped with good quality raingear.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.

Weather

The weather in Patagonia is notorious for high winds and extreme variability. Daytime conditions can range from sunny with temperatures in the 70s to rain (occasionally even snow) and temperatures near freezing. Please come prepared for all possibilities and equipped with good quality raingear.

Gear Checklist

Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
  • Proof of emergency medical and evacuation insurance
Luggage
  • Two medium-sized duffel bags – best for distributing weight or for leaving extra personal items behind in hotel. A suitcase may be substituted for duffel bags (max. weight 25 lbs per bag.)
  • Daypack (approx. 2,000-2,500 cu. in.) to carry your lunch, camera, water bottles, extra clothing
  • Luggage tags
  • Passport pouch or money belt
Lodging
  • Summer-weight sleeping bag with stuff sack (for use inside refugios)
  • Travel clothes line and/or over the door type hooks to hang on bunkbed rails.
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket, waterproof and breathable
  • Rain pants, waterproof and breathable, side-zip pants are highly recommended
Clothing
  • Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel and eveningwear during nights spent in hotels
  • Midweight fleece or wool sweater
  • Synthetic fleece pants
  • Midweight thermal underwear tops and bottom, synthetic or wool
  • Hiking pants, lightweight, synthetic and loose-fitting
  • Hiking shorts, lightweight and synthetic long-sleeve shirt(s)
  • Long-sleeve shirt(s)
  • T-shirts, synthetic
  • Underwear
  • Hiking socks
  • Liner socks, synthetic
  • Casual socks
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat and retainer strap
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Bandana
  • Wool or fleece gloves for warmth
  • Leather gloves for work, two pair
  • Safety goggles (or similar eye protection)
Footwear
  • Sturdy hiking boots, waterproof, lightweight, broken in, aggressive tread
  • Comfortable shoes for travel and eveningwear
Travel Accessories
  • Two (2) one-quart water bottles or hydration system
  • Flashlight and spare batteries/bulb or headlamp and spare batteries/bulb
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sunblock and lip balm
  • Toiletry kit with biodegradable soaps
  • "Quick-dry" towel
  • Personal prescription medication
Optional Field Gear
  • Camera, film and spare batteries
  • Small binoculars
  • Hiking stick or trekking poles
  • Electrical adapter plug
  • Watch with alarm or travel clock
  • Travel pillow
  • Whistle
  • Small thermos
  • Insect repellent
  • Spare contact lenses or glasses
  • Baby Wipes or hand sanitizer gel
  • Water purification tablets or filter
  • Plastic garbage bags (2) to line duffel bag if it rains
  • Rain cover or large plastic bag for your daypack
  • Earplugs
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Several Ziploc plastic bags
  • Shower sandals
  • Small plastic trowel for bathroom use while doing trail work

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed
  • Wind chill can be a significant feature of this trip. Air temperatures can be relatively warm, but when the wind is constant you can be robbed of body heat quickly. Adequate wind/raingear is very important.
  • Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
  • Make sure boots are broken in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresTorres del Paine Volunteer Vacation
 
4.9

(based on 12 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Activity level (11)
  • Group camaraderie (11)
  • Guides (11)
  • Well organized itinerary (11)
  • Exceeded expectations (10)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Avid adventurer (6), Casual adventurer (3)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • Destination (11), Travel with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts (11), Active adventures (10), Commitment to sustainability (10), I liked the itinerary (8)

      Reviewed by 12 customers

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      4.0

      Patagonia is Amazing!!

      By MoteViolence

      from Portland, OR

      About Me Casual Adventurer

      See all my reviews

      Site Member

      Pros

      • Accommodations
      • Activity Level
      • Group Camaraderie
      • Guides
      • Quality Equipment Provided
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

          This trip was really awesome! I met some really nice people and had some great experiences. Everyone was really nice. For me, at 22 people it was a large group and I had a hard time with that, as I prefer smaller groups with more communication, but that is only a personal preference. Not all groups are as big as ours was.

          I would have liked information at the start of the trip about the place we were going. Why does Lake Nordenskjold have a Scandinavian name? Why are the Torres del Paine called that? Why are there no ground rodents where we were? Me and several others had many unanswered questions for a long period of time and would have appreciated maybe an info page about the area where we were going. We were told that usually everyone meets at the visitor's center in the park at the beginning of the trip instead of the end, like our trip did, so I personally would have appreciated information about the beautiful scenery, wildlife, history, etc so I could have enjoyed it more while I spent ten days in it.

          Having more smaller tools would have been appreciated instead of more larger tools, but I don't know if that was something that would have been known beforehand or not. Hand pruners would have been very helpful and more loppers than saws!

          Overall, though, this trip was amazing and I would definitely refer other people to it and would even do it again. I had a great time with the leaders and everyone was so nice and friendly and helpful!

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • I did CVIP's Machu Picchu trip last year and it was one of the best things I've ever done, so to do a Torres del Paine trip with them was a no-brainer!
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • The absolutely AMAZING scenery!! This part of Patagonia was so breathtaking. Words and pictures cannot truly define it until you experience it for yourself!
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • Keep an open mind because this trip can take place in almost the middle of no where. Or in places where it is not always easy to get food and supplies to. We had the same breakfasts and lunches every single day. Most people aren't staying in the same refugio for eight days and wouldn't normally experience this, but since we were, we did. The food was good, but something to keep in mind!

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Fell in love with hiking in Patagonia!

          By Michelle K

          from Northern California

          About Me First-Time Adventurer

          Site Member

          Pros

          • Activity Level
          • Exceeded Expectations
          • Group Camaraderie
          • Guides
          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

              * The trip leaders (Gene and Paul) share their wealth of knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm. You can definitely go on this trip without prior trail work experience. They'll teach you how to use the necessary tools and provide guidance.

              * Prior to this trip I was a bit of a hiking novice. I mostly did day hikes around Hudson Valley, New York (having just moved to CA from NYC) and Tahoe/East Bay. Even though the other volunteers were more experienced hikers, I think I was able to keep up on this trip because I had been exercising (cardio & weight lifting) regularly a couple months prior. I was glad that I was fit enough to enjoy the hiking and the tough work like removing 100+ pound boulders and building drains. So much fun!

              * This was my first time to Chile and so I had decided to get to there a couple days early and stay a couple days afterward. I'm really glad I did - it was a great opportunity to experience other parts of Chile (Santiago & Punta Arenas).

              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
              • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
              • Why did you choose this trip?:
              • Originally, I was looking for a trip where I would feel safe traveling solo, slowly ease into backpacking, and improve my hiking. But this trip exceeded all my expectations! Not only did I feel safe traveling with 2 reputable organizations - REI and Conservation VIP (the trip leaders) - but I also fell in love with hiking & the outdoors and credit the leaders for their education & leadership.
              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
              • The people - the other volunteers and trip leaders - really took this trip to the next level. I think what makes this a once in a lifetime experience is that this trip brings together incredibly dynamic individuals who share a passion for nature, adventure, and environmental stewardship.
              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
              • To just go in with an open mind and heart and be prepared to laugh and smile everyday! There is so much to smile about - the walk to "work" is gorgeous and everyday there was a cool discovery - hearing & seeing avalanches, seeing autumnal foliage changes, swimming in the lake. The best though was the gratitude from the other hikers (from all over the world!) on the trail for our efforts.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Patagonia wanderlust

              By Mo

              from United States

              About Me Avid Adventurer, Wanderlust

              Pros

              • Exceeded Expectations
              • Group Camaraderie
              • Guides
              • Hiking
              • Once in a Lifetime Experience
              • Volunteer
              • Well Organized Itinerary

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                  Thanks REI for another wonderful vacation, my third one with you guys. Learned a lot about trail maintenance. Made some cool like-minded buddies for future adventures.

                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                  • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Excellent Reputation, Good Value, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                  • Patagonia has always been on my bucket list but wanted the opportunity to give back, hence a volunteer vacation. Best of both worlds, hike + volunteer.
                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                  • What wasn't??? The trip was totally awesome! The group comaraderie was superb! To work in such a setting was not work, Patagonia is your worksite =) To be able to give back to the trails gave me a new perspective on hiking in regards to what makes it possible.
                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                  • PACK LIGHT! I adhered to the advice from other participants reviews, Thank you.

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Epic

                  By Diana Cha

                  from Sacramento, CA

                  About Me Outdoor Enthusiast

                  Site Member

                  Pros

                  • Activity Level
                  • Exceeded Expectations
                  • Group Camaraderie
                  • Guides
                  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                  • Well Organized Itinerary

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                      Handling tools and hiking for consecutive days can be tiring but totally worth it, satisfying, and doable...

                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                      • Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                      • I've done trail work before and really enjoy it. Couldn't think of a better way to spend two weeks
                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                      • The wonderful people I met on this trip, and giving back in a beautiful setting
                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                      • Probably to pack light...I took more than what was necessary. Didn't realize you can just wash your clothes in the sink and hang them to dry for the next day
                       
                      5.0

                      try it! you will like it

                      By partimehiker

                      from new england USA

                      About Me Casual Adventurer

                      Pros

                      • Accommodations
                      • Activity Level
                      • Exceeded Expectations
                      • Group Camaraderie
                      • Guides
                      • Once in a Lifetime Experience

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                          The hike to the towers was truly a once-in-a-lifetime thing! Park torres del paine is vast and there is something for everyone as far as terrain goes. Gorgeous wildflower covered meadows, horses grazing, challenging hikes and nice overland walks, guanacos and waterfalls, and more.

                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                          • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                          • I was going to be in Chile and thought staying in one or two locations in the park for a more extended period would give me a chance to really get to know one area in a different more close-up way. And it did! plus the week long stay above grey glacier and lake was a rare experience in itself
                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                          • being on a couple of miles of trail above the grey glacier and lake for a full week. Seeing the changes of light and weather, watching the work we did change the trail for the better, hanging "after work" in the refugio's common room in front of the fire with a chunk of glacial ice in your ???drink.
                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                          • get ready as advised, pack light, be open minded about all aspects of the experience, prepare to laugh a lot and spend time (days AND nights And bathrooms and bunkrooms!) with a hard working committed and diverse group of people.
                           
                          5.0

                          Incredible way to see beautiful location

                          By KarenPB

                          from Silver Spring, MD

                          About Me Avid Adventurer, Love the outdoors

                          See all my reviews

                          Pros

                          • Accommodations
                          • Activity Level
                          • Exceeded Expectations
                          • Group Camaraderie
                          • Guides
                          • Hiking
                          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                          • Quality Equipment Provided
                          • Volunteer Opportunity
                          • Well Organized Itinerary

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                              Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                              The trip was phenomenal - an incredibly beautiful part of the world and a great way to see it in volunteering. Met a great group of people. Learned a lot about trail work and the region. Learned more about volunteer vacations and definitely plan to participate in others.

                              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                              • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Chance To Volunteer, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                              • Why did you choose this trip?:
                              • The opportunity to travel to this part of the world, with a volunteer group really appealed to me.
                              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                              • There were a couple of great highlights - the fantastic group of people I met (including trip leaders); the opportunity to learn to do trail work in an incredibly beautiful part of the world; a day hike up to the magnificent towers - even though it was fogged in, it was still incredibly beautiful.
                              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                              • Pack light with only necessities and definitely bring rain gear. Be prepared to do some good work on the trails.

                              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Wonderful Fun Trip

                              By jvMN7

                              from Minnesota

                              About Me First-Time Adventurer

                              Site Member

                              Pros

                              • Accommodations
                              • Activity Level
                              • Exceeded Expectations
                              • Group Camaraderie
                              • Guides
                              • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                              • Well Organized Itinerary

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                                  The views in the park are spectacular. The itinerary was set up to allow our own exploration and hiking. Refugio Grey was great, the refugio staff fun and accommodating. Gene, our trip leader, set the tone for the trip. He worked alongside of us and tried to instill in us the basics of trail maintenance. (I don't believe I will hike another trail without evaluating its structure.) The members of our group definitely made the trip a success. I value the laughter shared and friendships made.

                                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                  • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                  • Wanted to visit Patagonia, like to be active, enjoy volunteering, time of trip suited my schedule, heard the Park was a beautiful place - it definitely was!
                                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                  • I enjoyed being in Torres del Paine Park, experiencing the light (it is nearly dark by 4:00 pm in Minnesota in the winter), the work and camaraderie of the group. We worked hard, laughed a lot and enjoyed being able to see the improvements we made in the trail as we hiked to work each day.
                                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                  • Take the advice of packing light seriously.
                                   
                                  5.0

                                  Amazing Experience! : )

                                  By JB8

                                  from Hoboken, NJ

                                  About Me Avid Adventurer

                                  See all my reviews

                                  Site Member

                                  Pros

                                  • Activity Level
                                  • Amazing Trip
                                  • Exceeded Expectations
                                  • Group Camaraderie
                                  • Guides
                                  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                  • Well Organized Itinerary

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                                      Awesome experience! We had a great group and the scenery was amazing. Our leader was outstanding! Wouldn't have changed anything about our trip.

                                      The visit to the penguin sanctuary on the way to the park was also one of the highlights!

                                      Patagonia can be very windy and weather can change very quickly. I was happy that I took a light weight down jacket as well as a down vest. Layering works best in an environment like this. Rain gear is a necessity!

                                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                      • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Great Way To Volunteer, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                      • After doing the Machu Picchu volunteer trip with REI/Conservation VIP last year I decided I had to do the Torres del Paine trip this year. It's a great experience to be able to see beautiful parts of the world while also volunteering and giving back. REI/Conservation VIP are organizations that I trust so know that the trips will be amazing and rewarding.
                                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                      • The beauty of the trip goes without saying. We worked near Glacier Grey so had amazing views of it most days. The work was very rewarding as we worked on improving the trails near Refugio Grey. Many hikers thanked us for improving the terrain as we cleared many rocks and expanded trails that were very narrow. But one of the best parts was the camaraderie and the new friends made!!
                                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                      • Pack LIGHTLY!! Do not overpack for this trip as there are numerous times where you must carry all of your luggage for some distance. The food on this trip is average but by no means is this a negative, just part of the experience! Go in with an open mind, be flexible. Pack rain gear and expect sudden shifts in weather. And by all means, always pack a sense of humor!! : )
                                       
                                      5.0

                                      If you don't like the

                                      By Mike t-p

                                      from Ann Arbor, MI

                                      About Me Casual Adventurer, Love Outdoors

                                      Site Member

                                      Pros

                                      • Accommodations
                                      • Activity Level
                                      • Exceeded Expectations
                                      • Glaciers And Mountains
                                      • Group Camaraderie
                                      • Guides
                                      • Incredible Vistas
                                      • Well Organized Itinerary

                                      Cons

                                        Best Uses

                                          Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                                          Best of all, I made some incredible friends! We worked hard together, and made a difference that was immediately evident. Throughout, we laughed, shared our ideas and experiences, and discovered we all had something in common... that we will be doing this again someday!

                                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                          • Chance To Give Back, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                          • I was looking for a trip (with others) to Patagonia, and happy to find a trip that combined group travel with volunteerism. It is one thing to visit and try to not leave a trace; it is another to visit and leave it a little better for the next person(s).
                                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                          • Everyday, and sometimes throughout the day (wait 15 minutes...) the views would change (new vistas or a new perspective on the same place) as the sun and/or clouds would change, or the next rise in the trail brought into view another peak, or another expanse of the glacier! Even the snow or ice on the high peaks changed daily!
                                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                          • The weather changes throughout the day (wait 15 minutes...) so follow the REI guide for weather gear (experienced wind, rain, sun, cool and warm temps) sometimes duirng the same day, but also try to pack light. There are numerous places where you will be lugging you kit between transports (bus to boat) and to and from camps to the boats or buses.
                                           
                                          5.0

                                          What a beautiful location to volunteer

                                          By Mita

                                          from Los Angeles, ca

                                          About Me Avid Adventurer, First Time Volunteer

                                          Site Member

                                          Pros

                                          • Accommodations
                                          • Activity Level
                                          • Exceeded Expectations
                                          • Food
                                          • Group Camaraderie
                                          • Guides
                                          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                          • Quality Equipment Provided
                                          • Well Organized Itinerary

                                          Cons

                                            Best Uses

                                              Comments about REI Adventures Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation:

                                              It was amazing so see the entire group work so hard everyday and get up the next day and do it again. The progress made each day and the lessons learned to improved the work on the trails were priceless. The hikers passing us were very appreciative of our work and many thanked us for making the trail safe. Be prepared for weather as it can get windy and raining at times.

                                              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                              • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Make A Difference, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                              • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                              • Ratings were good, trip location looked exciting, never been to the location, wanted to support a good cause.
                                              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                              • We worked near Glacier grey and everyday the opportunity to see the changing glacier, the light and the proximity was priceless. At the end of each day to see how much we had progressed on the trails.
                                              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                              • Definitely work out before the trip, get everything on the gear list, pack light as you may have to carry your bags a long distance based on the work site, do bring rain gear as weather is unpredictable, windy.

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