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Must Know Tips for Planning a Patagonia Elopement in Torres del Paine

Home » Blog » Must Know Tips for Planning a Patagonia Elopement in Torres del Paine
A couple sit in formal clothes posing for a Patagonia elopement embrace in strong winds with the Mirador los Cuernos mountain peaks behind them. They are eloping in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile on a sunny but very windy day.

In February 2024, I spent a full month traveling from north to south researching potential locations for your Patagonia elopement. After 200 km of trekking, 4 domestic flights, hundreds of miles of driving and almost 5 weeks of exploring, I’ve scouted almost every viable location between Puerto Varas, Aysen, Torres del Paine, El Calafate, El Chalten and Fitz Roy for you.

This blog contain crucial planning tips and what you should consider before having a Patagonia elopement specific to Torres del Paine National Park.

Strict and inconvenient restrictions on trail opening/closing times

Chilean Patagonia generally has a lot of rules and restrictions in their parks. They funnel tourists within a relatively small area and there are actually very few hiking trails relative to how enormous the area is. Many trails come with some of the most limited hours of access I’ve ever encountered. Most trailheads are roped off and guarded by 3pm. You are strictly not allowed to hike past those times.

A sign blocks entry to a trail in the Patagonian National Park of Torres del Paine.

Rangers send people down from summits of popular hikes, like Torres del Paine, at 4pm unless they have reservations at closeby camps. Even in summer, when sunset isn’t until 10pm or later. As an avid night hiker in the US/Canada/Europe, this felt absurd to me.

As annoying as it is for capable adventurers, it comes down to safety. Compared to the US and Europe, Chile and Argentina do not have the money, manpower or resources to maintain and monitor the parks at a large scale, all hours. The landscape and weather is so unforgiving, fast-changing and vast, it’s impossible to have the amount of rangers and qualified rescue teams at hand for accidents, injuries or missing hikers. Much of Chile’s “national” parks also lie on private land. This includes all of TDP. so I image there is a legal aspect as well. If someone goes missing, the owner’s of the land don’t want to deal with the trouble or liability.

Even with proper gear, knowledge and experience, Chilean rangers want you off the trails and out of the parks by essentially dinnertime.

I found Argentina to be far less restrictive compared to Chile. The hiking areas around El Chalten are much more free for sunrise and sunset day treks. The Fitz Roy trail and Laguna de Los Tres are accessible directly from El Chalten and experienced hikers can manage this one for sunrise/sunset.

You’ll need to keep this in mind if you want a specific spot for your vow ceremony or elopement photos. These closing times can make logistics complicated. Luckily, I’m aware of many of them and the ways you can get around them by planning ahead.

READ MORE: Ultimate Guide for Patagonia Adventure Elopements (coming soon)

The incessant and the infamous: the Patagonian wind and rain

Patagonia can throw a ton of weather at you. Winds that literally knock you over, rain clouds which can gather in a matter of minutes, and humidity and clouds which continuously bubble up from the glaciers and obscure peaks for days.

Because of weather conditions, a Patagonia elopement should be over two days, and have an available weather window of 3-4. If you go to one location for only one or two nights, you will either be extremely lucky or extremely disappointed.

I do not recommend risking shorter time windows, especially considering the cost, effort and time it takes to get to these parks.

You have to allow time for the right conditions to appear, and stay flexible. Many viable locations for your elopement ceremony start at trailheads which will close if the winds are too strong. Other locations become pointless to visit if clouds are low. Finally, these areas are flat out dangerous during rainy, snowy or windy conditions.

All of Patagonia is real wild country and you have to respect the elements here. I only suggest a Patagonia elopement for those who are comfortable in all weather conditions.

A woman with red hair twirls in the wind in front of Lake Pehoe during her elopement day in Patagonia.

Patagonia elopements: no traditional wedding vendors anywhere around

Patagonia elopements are truly for folks who value adventure and spontaneity over luxury and structure. While there are many incredible luxury hotels and great food around, the park is still extremely remote. You won’t have access to any other vendors unless you pay to fly them in. Likely, the closest local wedding vendors who meet your standards and modern trends will be in Santiago.

I recommend doing your makeup yourself, and considering a dried floral bouquet. For hair, I recommend going natural and down. No matter what you do with it, the wind will wreck your hair. It’s better to embrace the wild rather than fight it.

Finally, things in Chile and Argentina can be a little disorganized and chaotic. For those who prefer luxury travel in rich countries, it’s a far cry from the comfort you’re used to at times. Patagonia is far less populated and much more rugged than mountains across the US, Canada or New Zealand. Infrastructure is minimal and you should be confident and experienced with adventure travel if you elope in Patagonia.

Bumpy, deserted dirt roads without a gas station in sight

I learned the hard way that there is NO gas within Torres del Paine National Park, and Google doesn’t always know what roads are drivable without a high suspension diesel pickup truck. So, as you plan your route, check street view.

We made the (somewhat common) mistake of turning off the famous highway 40 down a “short cut” near the village of Estancia Tapi Aike and onto the worst gravel road I’ve ever driven (highway 7). And I grew up on gravel roads!

When driving between TDP and El Calafate, continue a little further to the village of Esperanza where highway 40 makes a sharp left.

Do not go down highway 7 between Estancia Tapi Aike and El Cerrito (the road with the red “X” below. It was over an hour of slow driving over large stones, washboard rumbling and ruts you could lose a tire in. We’d already changed one flat the last 24 hours, it was after dark and beginning to rain. All four experienced travelers in the car felt worried on this one, so avoid the road.

Gas stations and when you should fill up

As far as gas, there are NO gas stations between Puerto Natales and El Calafate.

If you are stranded in the park, some hotels will sell you up to 10 liters of gasoline to get you back to Puerto Natales, but no more. You need to make sure you fill up at every available chance while you drive between these areas. Never turn down the chance to stop and get more gas out here.

We went into the park from Villa Serrano three days in a row. That was enough to force us back all the way to Puerto Natales for gas before we could drive to El Calafate.

Keep this in mind as you plan your trip. Stranding yourself out here at night for example could be a cold and dangerous affair.

Looking for a photographer to capture your Patagonia elopement?

Hey, my name is Mariah and I’m glad you’re here! I’m an adventure elopement photographer based in the Italian Dolomites. I spent an entire month traveling Patagonia to understand the entire area — and it’s risks — so you have someone to lean on while planning.

I’m an experienced backpacker and mountain athlete. I’m trained in emergency wilderness medicine, first aid and rescue. I also speak native English, fluent German, and intermediate Spanish. I have hiked many of the trails you’ll be interested in seeing during your visit to Patagonia, and would love to tell you more about them.

If you want to know more about my photography packages for Patagonia elopements, contact me below:


A woman in silhouette stands holding her wedding dress in front of a window during her Patagonia elopement. The Los Cuernos mountain is in the distance behind her.
The Torres del Paine mountain range far in the distance from beyond the Argentinian border, lit up by a deep reddish orange sunset.




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