Nibaldo Cvitanic is a guide in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park, a fantastic place for hiking and backpacking, and he recently shared the following:
There once was a young boy who dreamt of a place for over 20 years.
A place so far south that you can´t really go any further.
A place with huge towers, pumas, and horns driving themselves out of the earth.
That place is Torres del Paine National Park and that boy was me, Nibaldo Cvitanic.
Now I show people the wonders, secrets and all the details of this park where I´m a guide.
"I was born in the capital of the Chilean Patagonia. A small town called Punta Arenas, a town that is only 200 years old. I´m currently living in a town called Puerto Natales, it is the closest city to Torres del Paine National Park--pretty much the entry point to get into the park.
"[I've] been living here in Patagonia for almost three years now and working almost 2 seasons in the park. I was raised in Kansas City, Kansas so I can´t tell you how many times I get called Dorothy.
I´ve learned so much from this amazing place, It has changed my outlook on life for the best. [I] just turned 24 not too long ago--one of the youngest guides that works in the park."
Alcorn: How did you become a guide?
Cvitanic: The start of my being a guide [was] working on a cruise ship that departs from Punta Arenas, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina.
Alcorn: How did you start guiding in Torres del Paine?
Cvitanic: Working as a guide has been interesting. I started off at some hotels, learned a lot. Then recently started working freelance with various agencies. It has been great working on my own, being my own boss.
Alcorn: And to be a guide in Torres del Paine?
Cvitanic: There is no special training, you just have to be devoted. Learn about the geology, the plants and of course the wildlife. First aid is a must. I have my WFR MED, First aid responder course. There is no need for a license within the park. All you need is a great spirit, willingness to teach people about this amazing place and take them to have some unforgettable moments that they will cherish. It really warms my soul to show people everything I know and have them along for the ride.
Alcorn: Where do you lead hiking trips?
Cvitanic: My guided trips are usually doing the W circuit. Sometimes I also offer different hikes that are equally as good but in different areas of the park.
Alcorn: How long do the trips last?
Cvitanic: The W circuit is all hiking and camping, there are other day hikes in the park as well. [They] usually last about four to five days, depends on the Circuit you're doing. Sometimes people stay much longer doing studies or climbing mountains.
Alcorn: And the O Circuit?
Cvitanic: There is an O Circuit that lasts about 8 days. It involves going behind the Towers and Horns. [This is] pretty much a very remote area of the park.
Alcorn: Do you have a favorite hike in Torres del Paine?
Cvitanic: One of my favorites is the trek to see the Grey Glaciar. That glaciar is massive and the colors, details, everything is just incredible!
Alcorn: Are there many guides in Torres del Paine?
Cvitanic: There are probably at least forty guides working in the park right now.
You can email Cvitanic, click here.
Regular flights to the capital cities of Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina leave SFO daily.
CONAF map to Torres del Paine, click here.
Susan Alcorn has backpacked on the "W" and "O" circuits twice and is the author of Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine
Alcorn article: Backpacking in Patagonia.
Please come back to find out more about hiking including guided hikes in Torres del Paine in Torres del Paine with Cvitanic, part 2. Subscribe (above) to have the article delivered straight to your inbox.