Visiting El Chaltén, Argentina

A three-hour bus ride from El Calafate is the teeny hikers’ and climbers’ town of El Chaltén. While very (very very) small, the town of El Chaltén with the jagged Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy mountains rising up behind is an iconic image of Argentine Patagonia.

Welcome to El Chaltén!

Getting there

The most common way to arrive in town is to take three-hour bus ride from El Calafate. Some people choose to stay overnight, but if you are a more casual hiker—file me under that—it is very doable to just go for the day. Catch the first bus of the day out of El Calafate and then last one out of Chaltén back to Calafate at the end of the day, and you will have had time for some scenic hikes and relaxing meals.

My shot of the playground in El Chaltén

In fact, unless you are planning some intense climbing or trekking expeditions, I would not recommend staying overnight, as the town is even smaller and more quiet than El Calafate. Still, it is gorgeous and I do recommend scheduling a day to visit.

Residences in El Chaltén

What to do

Stop in the town’s tourism office to grab a trail map and get hike recommendations. My mom and I did about two hours of hiking total, which took us to two different, yet equally stunning, viewpoints.

Made it up to Mirador Las Águilas in Chaltén

Bus ride from Chaltén to Calafate, by Karina

Mom hiking back to town, with Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre in El Chaltén

Also, grab a meal at La Cervecería, an artesanal beer/food joint in town that was one of the tastiest and most comforting meals I had had in some time. (The Argentine stew locro is the house specialty.) Be warned, though, that because this is almost exclusively a tourist town—tourists being the hikers and climbers—many establishments close for the low-season months beginning in April, the Cervecería included.

Our lunch at La Cervecería in Chaltén

Otherwise, wander town, grab some Patagonian chocolates and take lots of pictures!

See more for Argentina’s Santa Cruz province in this TKGO post about visiting El Calafate and Perito Moreno glacier.

Karina

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