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The Central Sector is the gateway to Torres del Paine in the traditional itinerary. Here you can hire services, request information, buy souvenirs and have a coffee with a sandwich. In addition to this center, the sector includes the Refugio Central and the camping area, and a few hundred meters away is located the hotel Las Torres.
In this article I will explain the entire sector in general, but we will focus especially on the camping area and the refuge, which is where I stayed when I did the O Circuit.
Location of the Refugio Central on the Torres del Paine treks
In the Refugio Central you will spend the first and second night when you do the classic W Trek route from east to west or the last night if you do it in the opposite direction.
If your route is the O Circuit, you will stay here during your seventh day and the Central Hut will be the last lodging of your route. You will reach it from the French or Horn sectors in a 13 km route without difficulty if you leave from the Horn sector, or in 16 km if you leave from the French sector. This section takes approximately 4 hours.
Facilities at the Refugio Central
The Refugio Central is one of the largest lodges in Torres del Paine. Its reception is spacious with several sofas to rest and is illuminated all day long thanks to large windows facing Las Torres. Check-in is done there if you are staying at the refuge. It has a small souvenir store and camping essentials. If you are looking for food, they mainly sell snacks.
The rooms are divided in the two wings of the refuge. They have 3 bunk beds with pillow, sleeping bag and blanket. You will also find a bulky drawer/cabinet to store your backpacks. These can be padlocked if you bring your own padlock, but don’t worry because it is not necessary. All windows overlook Las Torres and the views are unbeatable. In each wing of the refuge there are bathrooms and showers with hot water 24 hours a day.
On the other hand, they also have their own rest areas: a padded bench and large cushions on the floor around a wood-burning fireplace, very nice and cozy.
In the dining room, with more than a dozen tables and stools, breakfast and dinner are served.
At one end of the dining room is the bar, and at the other is the kitchen bar. This is where they deliver your box lunch in the morning.
Exterior of the Refugio Central
The outdoor garden is pleasant. It has tables spread out and the unbeatable views make it an ideal place to have a drink from the bar, read a book and enjoy it in the sun. A great plan.
If you are staying at the campsite, you will have to walk a few more minutes to check-in at the hut.
There are several areas for camping, whether you have your own tent to set up or you stay in those already set up with mat and bag.
The novelty of 2023 is the Premium Camping. These are tents set up on a strong structure separated from the ground by almost a meter, like those used on safaris to camp on the roof of the 4×4.
The camping area has toilets and showers with hot water all day and gel dispensers. On the other hand, there is also an area where you can cook.
Finally, there are wooden tables spread throughout the camping area.
Extra info: You can refill your water bottles both in the bathrooms and in the dining rooms. On the other hand, you have Wi-fi for a fee with various rates depending on how many hours you want to hire.
Next to Refugio Central we find a smaller and cozier one called Refugio Norte. It has rooms for 6 people, bathrooms with hot water and a common area. However, it does not have a kitchen, so you would have to hire the all-inclusive or go to the kitchen for campers located in the Central.
Opinion of the Torres del Paine Refugio Central
In our opinion it is a large refuge, but without being excessive, so it still maintains a certain mountaineering character, especially thanks to its exterior areas and the interior rest areas. Its facilities are very good and since it is the gateway to the park it is necessary that it has this capacity, as it is an area used by many travelers.
Las Torres Hotel
Finally, we would like to mention that the Las Torres hotel, located in a spectacular enclave, has 74 rooms, all with views and different capacities, from 1 to 4 people. It also offers other services such as an all-inclusive experience that includes as many tours and activities as you can do in a day, as well as food and signature cocktails. Another option to stay in this luxury hotel is simply the bed & breakfast option, chosen by some travelers to have a first or last day of luxury.
Even if you are not staying at the hotel, you can still go to the Pionero Bar to enjoy the best views with original cocktails and craft beer. A good plan for the end of a day of trekking. If you want, you can also eat at the Coirón Restaurant, a mixture of traditional and modern gastronomy with products from its regenerative garden. In its Quincho you will be able to taste the Patagonian barbecue while watching it being cooked. If you want to treat yourself, another surprising option is the Spa and Wellness Center where you can let yourself be pampered by expert hands before the day is over.