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The Refugio Paine Grande, is considered the largest mountain refuge, as it has more than 100 beds plus camping ready to use and camping area. You will pass through it in any of the circuits you do in Torres del Paine, so I tell you how it is, what it offers and my opinion about it.
Location of Refugio Paine Grande
Paine Grande is located on the shores of Lake Pehoé, where the pier used to enter or leave the park is located. This refuge is less than 4 hours from Grey Refuge on an easy route, so many travelers take advantage of their stay here to go to see or kayak on the Grey Glacier.
It is the last refuge where you will stay if you do the classic W Trek route (from east to west) and the first if you do it in the opposite direction. In case you do the O Circuit, also called Paine Massif, it will be your fifth refuge or camping area.
What the refuge is like
You enter the Paine Grande refuge through a porch directly to the reception to check-in; this is the central axis for the rest of the rooms. It has 2 labyrinthine floors: on the first floor is the kitchen of the restaurant with the dining room and just above (accessed by the same restaurant) you go up to the bar. The rooms are distributed on both floors indistinctly.
There are also numerous lounges with sofas, wood-burning fireplace and a structure that serves as a makeshift clothes hanger (if you have had a rainy day, this is appreciated).
Bathrooms and rooms
There are bathrooms for bar/restaurant users, although anyone can enter, whether or not they are staying at the hotel. There are also toilets and showers on both floors (with shower gel and hot water).
They have different rooms of various sizes. The most common are the shared rooms with 3 bunk beds (6 beds) and space to leave backpacks and belongings. They can be padlocked, but you have to bring your own padlock, although we do not consider it necessary. The feeling of companionship makes it difficult to imagine situations like this. On the other hand, the beds are provided with sheets and comforters, and blankets are also available.
Timetable and meals
If you have contracted full board, there are 3 dinner sessions:
It is free buffet and you will find spoon dishes, several main courses to choose from and desserts. There are alternatives for celiacs, vegans and vegetarians, with prior notice.
Breakfast is served from 6:30h to 8h and consists of yogurt, a bowl with oat flakes, instant coffee, milk, toast with butter and jam, cheese and sliced sausage and scrambled eggs, also as an open buffet.
Personally from Howlanders we do not consider that it has the best food of all the shelters of the circuit. 😅
There are two camping areas with capacity for more than 250 people.
One of the areas is free camping (for those who bring their own tent) and the other where the campsite’s own tents are already set up with mats (tatami type) and sleeping bag resistant to low temperatures.
In the campers’ area, which is next to the shelter, there is a structure that houses different spaces united by a common porch. It consists of a reception area for check-in, a grocery store (selling essential food and hygiene items), showers with hot water and toilets, a kitchen-dining room with a sink and a long bench, as well as several tables with benches.
Water can be refilled in the bathrooms or in the kitchen. As for Wi-Fi, there are several rates depending on the hours of hiring (payment by Pay-Pal).
In our opinion, Refugio Paine Grande it is a refuge that because of its size loses the familiar character of those small mountain refuges, but its facilities are very good and it is necessary to have this capacity, since it is the entrance and / or exit of the park for many people, so it has a lot of demand.
I hope this information has helped you. You can leave any questions in comments and if you have already been there, what do you think of the Paine Grande refuge?