El Chaltén travel guide

El Chaltén Tourism | El Chaltén Guide

You're Going to Love El Chaltén

Overlooking Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia, El Chaltén, founded in 1985, is a small town below the Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy mountains. Known for its countless hiking trails, it draws adventurers and nature lovers.

El Chaltén is also popular for its water activities, including boat tours on Lago Viedma and Lago Del Desierto, as well as white water rafting on Río De las Vueltas Canyon.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit El Chaltén

1. Guided Treks

Visitors up for a hiking challenge won't be disappointed in El Chaltén. One example, the two-day trek through El Chaltén, Laguna El Toro, and Paso del Viento lets hikers see the impressive Viedma Glacier up close.

2. River Rafting

Adventurers looking for an adrenaline rush can experience rafting on the De las Vueltas River Canyon.

3. Rock Climbing

Ascend the rugged peaks of Patagonia with a rock scaling tour in El Chaltén. Experienced mountaineers guide beginners through the basics of mountain climbing.

4. Rustic Cuisine

Meat lovers will be at home in El Chaltén, where grilled beef, lamb, and enormous milanesas are among the local specialties.

5. Patagonian Crafts

El Chaltén offers an unbeatable selection of Andean artisan goods, including leather and woodworks, as well as sheep, guanaco, and llama wool knitwear.

What to do in El Chaltén

1. El Chalten's Glorious Neighbor

Unquestionably the reason for El Chalten's rise to the status of trekking powerhouse, Cerro Fitz Roy looms above the village like a gorgeous invitation, urging visitors to ascend to discover its crags, glaciers and - most of all - it's volcanic lakes. When you make the climb, you'll probably make a bee-line for the beautiful Laguna de los Tres, with its brilliant blue waters, and a backdrop that will make you quiver. The folks back home will be in awe of the shots you take of Fitz Roy behind this stunning lake, and it's not bad exercise, either.

2. Remembering Patagonia's Danish Pioneer

Located at the center of town, El Chalten's premier museum is dedicated to a Danish emigrant to Argentina, who lived in the building in the early 20th century, and is credited with pioneering life in the Glaciares region. A rancher, explorer, government representative, and elegant writer, Madsen is venerated in El Chalten, and the museum does a great job of keeping his, and his family's history alive. Pick up a copy of "The Old Patagonia" while you're there for a literary treat.

3. Epic Trekking And Stunning Views

The glacier Huemul empties into the Lago del Desierto, which is a sight in itself. But the trek to actually reach these twin attractions is sublime, and one of the treasures of the el Chalten region. The hanging glacier is just over a day's hike away from the village, and the path zig-zags a little on the way, but you won't mind. Passing through forests, craggy rocks, and soaring vistas of Andean peaks, the walk feels like passing through a fantasy world of myth and legend. Sure, you'll need to be fit, but the effort won't leave you feeling short-changed.

4. An Ice Place For A Boating Expedition

If hiking excursions feel like too much hard work, but you still want to get a feel for the glaciers of Patagonia, there is an easier option: a cruise on Lago Viedma. Around 50 miles in length, Lago Viedma is just south of El Chalten, and easily reached from the village. Tour companies in town will hook you up with catamarans or conventional vessels, which nip in between the icebergs and get as close as possible to the glacier feeding the beautifully toned lake. And, as an added bonus, walks on the glacier field are possible, too. Viva Viedma!

5. A White Water Paradise

Returning to active pursuits, Río de las Vueltas ("the meandering river") is one of Argentina's foremost rafting destinations, and it's right next door to el Chalten. As it meanders down to Lake Viedma, the river offers plenty of rapids and calmer patches, with thrills and (hopefully not too many) spills for seasoned and novice white water paddlers. And, in the background, you'll get some dazzling views of Los Glaciares National Park.

1. El Chalten's Glorious Neighbor

Unquestionably the reason for El Chalten's rise to the status of trekking powerhouse, Cerro Fitz Roy looms above the village like a gorgeous invitation, urging visitors to ascend to discover its crags, glaciers and - most of all - it's volcanic lakes. When you make the climb, you'll probably make a bee-line for the beautiful Laguna de los Tres, with its brilliant blue waters, and a backdrop that will make you quiver. The folks back home will be in awe of the shots you take of Fitz Roy behind this stunning lake, and it's not bad exercise, either.

2. Remembering Patagonia's Danish Pioneer

Located at the center of town, El Chalten's premier museum is dedicated to a Danish emigrant to Argentina, who lived in the building in the early 20th century, and is credited with pioneering life in the Glaciares region. A rancher, explorer, government representative, and elegant writer, Madsen is venerated in El Chalten, and the museum does a great job of keeping his, and his family's history alive. Pick up a copy of "The Old Patagonia" while you're there for a literary treat.

3. Epic Trekking And Stunning Views

The glacier Huemul empties into the Lago del Desierto, which is a sight in itself. But the trek to actually reach these twin attractions is sublime, and one of the treasures of the el Chalten region. The hanging glacier is just over a day's hike away from the village, and the path zig-zags a little on the way, but you won't mind. Passing through forests, craggy rocks, and soaring vistas of Andean peaks, the walk feels like passing through a fantasy world of myth and legend. Sure, you'll need to be fit, but the effort won't leave you feeling short-changed.

4. An Ice Place For A Boating Expedition

If hiking excursions feel like too much hard work, but you still want to get a feel for the glaciers of Patagonia, there is an easier option: a cruise on Lago Viedma. Around 50 miles in length, Lago Viedma is just south of El Chalten, and easily reached from the village. Tour companies in town will hook you up with catamarans or conventional vessels, which nip in between the icebergs and get as close as possible to the glacier feeding the beautifully toned lake. And, as an added bonus, walks on the glacier field are possible, too. Viva Viedma!

5. A White Water Paradise

Returning to active pursuits, Río de las Vueltas ("the meandering river") is one of Argentina's foremost rafting destinations, and it's right next door to el Chalten. As it meanders down to Lake Viedma, the river offers plenty of rapids and calmer patches, with thrills and (hopefully not too many) spills for seasoned and novice white water paddlers. And, in the background, you'll get some dazzling views of Los Glaciares National Park.

Where to Eat in El Chaltén

Estepa specializes in lamb in mint sauce, pizzas, and pumpkin sorrentinos. Entrees average AR$310. Ruca Mahuida serves Patagonian stews, trout, and pastas dishes. Entrees average AR$110.

When to visit El Chaltén

El Chaltén in August
Estimated hotel price
$92
1 night at 3-star hotel
El Chaltén in August
Estimated hotel price
$92
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best time to visit El Chaltén is during the summer, from late December to late February, when the weather is warmest and the days are longer.

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How to Get to El Chaltén

Plane

The closest airport is El Calafate International Airport (FTE). There are daily flights from Buenos Aires. From the airport to El Chaltén, it's four hours by bus.

Car

Two main roads lead to El Chaltén. National Route 3 along the Atlantic and National Route 40 along the Cordillera de los Andes. Both routes take roughly 30 hours.

Bus

The bus to El Chaltén from El Calafate takes three hours. The fares is AR$450.

Airports near El Chaltén

Airlines serving El Chaltén

KLM
Good (350 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (826 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (124 reviews)
GOL
Good (265 reviews)
Aerolineas Argentinas
Excellent (261 reviews)
Flybondi
Good (28 reviews)

Where to stay in El Chaltén

Laguna de los Tres - from El Chaltén take a trip out to the Fitz Roy Valley, where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Laguna de los Tres glacial lake at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy.

Popular Neighborhoods in El Chaltén

Rio de las Vueltas - north of El Chaltén in the Los Glaciares National Park, you can experience the adrenaline rush of rafting down Rio de las Vueltas for 16 miles.

Cerro Torre - the best views in Patagonia are arguably found near Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy. Take a hiking trip from El Chaltén and discover the spectacular Lago Eléctrico, Laguna Torre, and Perito Moreno Glacier.

Where to stay in popular areas of El Chaltén

Most booked hotels in El Chaltén

Los Cerros Boutique Hotel
Excellent (9.1, Excellent reviews)
$362+
Hostel Rancho Grande
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
$40+
See all hotels

How to Get Around El Chaltén

Public Transportation

The only public transportation in El Chaltén is a transfer service that brings groups of four or more to areas such as Lago del Desierto, Estancias, Río Blanco, Río Eléctrico, or the airport. Fares average AR$50.

Taxi

Taxi service from the airport to El Chaltén is AR$60.

Car

Car rentals in El Chaltén start at AR$792 a day.

The Cost of Living in El Chaltén

Shopping Streets

On the Avenida San Martín, you'll find climbing and camping gear, clothing, sunglasses, trekking shoes, and more.

Groceries and Other

Supermercado La Tostadora Moderna sells staples, snacks, and take-out. Almacen Don Manolo has fruit, cured meats, cheeses, and beverages. El Chaltén is relatively affordable. A gallon of milk is AR$74 and a dozen eggs is AR$31.