El Chaltén would have to be our number one destination to see in South America. This is a tough call to make, but it wins on so many fronts:
- Breathtaking natural scenery – mountains, lakes, glaciers, rivers
- Amazing hikes
- Multiple accommodation options
- Easily accessible
- The freshest water source – on a hike you can refill your bottles directly from the running river
- There is a gas station, small stores, restaurants, hotels, hostels and camping
It’s hard to believe such a national treasure is still free, I am sure in a few years time this will all change. However, until then, please make El Chaltén a priority destination if you are planning a trip to Argentina. The weather can be unpredictable, and things do shut down in winter months, so it is best seen in summer, late spring or early autumn. Sometimes you may need to camp out in town a few days for some sun, and for a clear view of Monte Fitzroy.
Things to do in El Chaltén
- Hike the Laguna de Los Tres to see the Fitz Roy formation up close (8 hours)
- Laguna Torre Trek
- Los Condores trek
- Laguna Capri (if you’re not up to walking the whole Laguna de los Tres)
- Glacier Viedma trek – guided
- Chorrillo del Salto
Please protect this natural gift, and abide by the laws of this national reserve. Do not leave your trash or belongings. Clean up after yourself, and leave this place the way you found it.
An international airport exists nearby – Comandante Armando Tola International Airport. You can fly here from multiple overseas destinations, and then either get a bus, private transfer or private transport to El Chalten.
The road is beautifully paved, and easy to drive.
If you’re entering from Chile you can fly to Punta Arenas, and from there get buses to Puerto Natales – El Calafate – El Chalten. This allows you to stop at the famous Torres del Paine on the way.
Drive here via the Ruta 40, a legendary road trip that is lined with jaw dropping views. Accessible from both the north and south.
Also accessible by public bus from Calafate/or the airport – from about $60 return.. Hitchhiking is an option.
An alternative option is to come in via Chile, with buses from Puerto Natales leaving to Calafate and then from Calafate to Chalten available.