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Travel Guide to El Chalten: The Adventure Gateway to Argentina's Patagonia

Buried deep in the Patagonian region of Southern Argentina sits the small mountain town of El Chalten. Considered the trekking and adventure capital of Argentina, this town hosts hiking, climbing, and photography enthusiasts alike. Home to some of the most rugged and impressive peaks in the region, like Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, El Chalten is the perfect destination for those seeking adventure in Argentine Patagonia.

How to Get to El Chalten

Los Glaciares-El-Chalten-PatagoniaImage sourced from https://www.switchbacktravel.com/sites/default/files/images/articles/Los%20Glaciares%20Patagonia.jpg

The most common way to reach the town of El Chalten is by bus from El Calafate. Bus companies operate at various times throughout the day. Most departures occur during the summer months (December – March). View the approximate departure times below:

El Calafate -> El Chalten (approx. 4 hours)

7:00am, 8:00am, 1:00pm, 4:30pm, 6:00pm and 6:30pm

El Chalten -> El Calafate (approx. 4 hours)

7:30am, 8:00am, 10:30am, 1:00pm, 6:00pm, 6:30pm, and 7:30pm

The Best Places to Stay in El Chalten

For a simple and cozy experience, opt for Hosteria Senderos. Located across the street from the bus station in El Chalten, this is a great option for those looking for a mid-range hotel.

Hosteria-Senderos-El-Chalten-Patagonia-ArgentinaImage sourced from https://s-ec.bstatic.com/images/hotel/max1024x768/692/6921380.jpg

*** Insider Travel Tip: Choose a higher category room at Hosteria Senderos, as the standard is small.

For a hotel with more amenities, try the 4-star plus Don Los Cerros. While the location is farther away from the bus station, the rooms are stocked with all the amenities you could want in a mountain hotel. Just take note that additional transfers are required to reach the hotel.

Don-Los-Cerros-El-Chalten-PatagoniaImage sourced from https://images.bestday.com/_lib/vimages/El-Chalten-Argentina/Hotels/Don-Los-Cerros-Boutique-Hotel-and-Spa/Fachada_xl.jpg

For those seeking a remote and luxurious experience, choose Aguas Arriba Lodge. Due to its location 37 kilometers from El Chalten, visitors have total privacy and magnificent views of the lake, the north face of Mt. Fitz Roy and more. Relax in your room or in the surrounding area of the lodge and you will find solitude in nature.

Aguas-Arriba-LodgeImage sourced from https://s-ec.bstatic.com/images/hotel/max1024x768/201/20129539.jpg

The Best Hikes in El Chalten

First on everyone’s list should be a trek to Laguna de Los Tres. This is the most famous hike in the area and offers the best views of the iconic peak, Mt. Fitz Roy. As a Patagonia Travel Expert, I recommend that my clients travel during Fall (End of March – April). During this time, the weather is the most temperate. And most importantly, travelers can notice how the beech trees burst with bright reds and oranges, providing a stunning contrast to the cool hues of the granite peaks.

 Laguna-de-Los-TresImage sourced from https://blogpatagonia.australis.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/iStock-488721805.jpg

The trail is fairly moderate in terms of difficulty. However, the final 400 meters proves to be the biggest challenge. Thighs will be burning as you ascend to the top of a moraine ridge, revealing drop-dead gorgeous views of a turquoise lake nestled in front of the stunning Mt. Fitz Roy herself. Find yourself a solid rock and settle in for one of the best lunch views you might ever encounter.

Duration: 9 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 700 meters
Difficulty: Moderate

Another popular option is the trail to Laguna Torre. Opposite to the Laguna de Los Tres trek, this hike has a much easier terrain. Enjoy the scenic vantage points as the trail takes you to the edge of a beautiful glacial-fed lake situated in front of the towering spires of Cerro Torre.

Laguna-TorreImage sourced from https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/5b/53/91/el-chalten.jpg

Duration: 8 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 200 meters
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

There you have it, our Guide to El Chalten: The Adventure Gateway to Argentina’s Patagonia.

Do you need help planning a trip to El Chalten?

At SouthAmerica.travel, we are your Patagonia Travel Experts. Send us an email or give us a call today. Let us help you realize your Patagonian dreams.

Jon Hillstead

Jon was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His interest in travel and South America came to life while he was studying abroad during college. Living and working in the Ecuadorian Amazon, he became intrigued with the indigenous Kichwa culture and local way of life. This sparked his interest to continue to explore other parts of South America. He traveled from the Amazon to the Andes and from the coast of the Galapagos and into Peru. Traveling all by land from Mancora in Northern Peru to Lake Titicaca in southern Peru, gave him an understanding of the geography and culture of the country. Some of Jon’s highlights include snorkeling with manta rays in the Galapagos, trekking at 13,000 ft in the Cordillera Blanca, and watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu. With his love for adventure, the outdoors and his passion for travel, Jon hopes to inspire others with his experiences to make South America their next travel destination.
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