Flora & Fauna
Torres del Paine has 4 different types of vegetation:
Patagonian Steppe - Desert shrubs and tuft grasses resistant to harsh winds & weather
Pre-Andean Shrub land - Evergreen shrubs like the edible calafate
Magellanic Deciduous forest - Deciduous Antarctic Beech trees lining the park’s gorges
Andean Desert - Species tolerant to low temperatures and high precipitation
The landscape in Torres del Paine is dominated by the huge Paine Massif, also known as the Cordillera del Paine. Despite being part of the Andes Mountains officially, the Paine massif is an independent mountain formation with its own unique characteristics.
The origins of the Massif date back to 12 million years ago when the sedimentary layers of the earth were lifted up and were slowly worn down through glacial erosion until only hard resistant granite rock was visibly left. The jagged Torres are a classic example of the results of this process and the difference in colour between the sedimentary and granite rock in the park is highlighted by the sharply contrasting Cuernos peaks.
Valleys running between the mountains of the massif includes the French Valley, Valle Bader, Valle Ascencio (next to Eco Camp Patagonia) and Silence Valley. The highest mountain in the massif is Cerro Paine, which is 3050m tall.
You are familiar with the Big Five on African wildlife safari's. We too have the Patagonia big 5. Guanaco, Puma, South Andean Deer, Andean Condor and Nandu. There are 26 species of mammals and 118 different types of birds.