The Ultimate El Chalten Travel Guide | Argentina’s Fitz Roy Range
El Chalten, or Chalten travel is one of the most rewarding trips you’ll make. From windswept peaks to frigid lakes this area is wild, windy and sometimes extreme. Patagonia has always been a place I’ve wanted to visit and I added trekking in Patagonia to my bucket list about 4 years ago, specifically trekking in El Chalten. It was only this year that I had the chance to visit and really explore and hike the El Chalten region. Oh boy, am I glad that I did. The Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and El Chalten trekking has got to be some of the best in the world. Keep reading for your little pocket sided El Chalten travel guide and find the best El Chalten hikes for you.
Chalten, located on the fringes of the Los Glaciares National Park has such as small village feel to it, there are only a few, independently run stores, cafes and restaurants and there is only one ATM so bring cash with you. Buildings are quaint wooden structures, the streets are wide and during the day you’ll barely see anyone around. El Chalten has about two decent supermarkets and I’d highly recommend to stock up on trekking snacks and packed lunch supplies as you’re going to need it.
From El Calafate, it’s about a 3-hour bus ride to El Chalten, a dreamy, sleepy mountain village. El Chalten is the gateway to the Fitz Roy Range and if you love hiking and the outdoors this will be your new favourite place in the world. I heard that El Chalten gets busier and busier every year and especially now since a new government tax makes it extremely expensive for Argentinians to travel abroad. Most people visit in the southern hemisphere summer (Dec-Feb) and I would definitely advise booking accommodation prior to getting here unless you’re doing multi-day treks and camping.
EL CHALTEN TRAVEL: GET IN
From El Calafate – the best way to get to the sleepy town of El Chalten is from El Calafate. Many local bus operators do the trip which takes about three hours.
You can also reach El Chalten from Bariloche along the Ruta 40.
If you’ve hired a car for a Patagonia road trip just follow Ruta 40 until you get to Route 23 and its about an hour from there.
Visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier? Check out my guide HERE
WHERE TO STAY
El Chalten has a number of hotels and Airbnbs to choose from. Camping is also a great and cheaper option, especially if you’re planning to do multi-day treks in the Los Glaciares National Park.
La Hosteria Los Ñires – located in the centre of the town, this little BnB has all the cosy Patagonia feels. It has spacious rooms, that include heating and a delicious breakfast to prepare you for a day of trekking.
Infinito Sur – located in a large wooden cabin, this small, elegant hotel offers a bit more of a luxurious stay. Exceptional breakfast, well-maintained, clean rooms and a great location.
Camping is also a good option in the summer and there are a few small campgrounds and lots around town, mainly to the west of town towards the start of the trekking routes.
If you’re new to Airbnb and haven’t yet tried it use my link for $40 off your first stay here.
THINGS TO DO
There’s isn’t much to do in El Chalten town. Trekking is the name of the game here and the outdoors is what it’s all about. There are numerous treks to choose from for all abilities, which start from the outskirts of town, so you won’t’ need to rent a car to enjoy some of Argentina’s finest views.
LAGUNA DE LOS TRES TREK
The classic is the full-day trek to Laguna de
This trek will take you about 8-9 hours depending on how fast you walk and how many times you stop to take photos. The path is marked clearly and for the most part, it’s an easy/medium trek. It starts to get steep at the end when you have to climb up and over the hill to get to the lake. The views and to die for.
LAGUNA TORRE TREK
Another classic is the Laguna Torre trek of a shorter distance with equally amazing views throughout. This one guides you to a larger lake with a huge glacier feeding into it over the other side. On the way, you’ll trek through some lush green Patagonia forest and meadows. This trek is mainly flat, apart from the climb up to the crater lake at the end.
CHORILLO DEL SALTO
I’d also recommend the Chorillo del Salto trek which is a short 3-hour walk to a lovely little waterfall surrounded by low and sparse forest. You could easily spend 5 days or even a week in El Chalten just trekking, rafting and relaxing.
While I didn’t have enough time to do any of the multiday treks, there are many to do in the area. See the link in the resources below to find out more about them and how to plan your trip.
WHERE TO EAT
Cerveceria Artesanal Chalten is an excellent place to grab a beer after a full day of trekking. They have some excellent brews on tap but come early it fills up in the evenings.
↠ Click here for the official hiking guide for the El Chalten area. It’s only available in Spanish but it’s a goldmine of information about all the treks in the area. Even if you can’t read Spanish it’s definitely worth a look for all the treks, routes, times and stunning pictures.
If you have any comments or questions about this Chalten travel guide please leave them below. I’d love to hear from you.
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