Tours and Activities:
Untamed BeautyKarina JozamiJorge González
El Chaltén is a small village within the Los Glaciares National Park, surrounded by matchless natural beauty, only 220km from the city of El Calafate.
Just like every day, transportation services leave early towards El Chaltén and at the El Calafate bus terminal there were already several backpackers and foreign tourists.
Thanks to the international airport, the Fitz Roy Mount, the Torre Mount and the Perito Moreno Glacier are at hand-reach and highly valued as the most precious destinations in Patagonia.
We had to go along about 220km in order to reach El Chaltén. We set off along Provincial Route 11 and then we took National Route 40. At kilometer 90, the bus stops at the Luz Divina stop, where we got off to drink some coffee and taste the home-baked pie made by Raúl. At noon, there are good homemade meals or a creole barbecue for travelers. There is also lodge for those who arrive exhausted.
We continued our trip, now along Provincial Route 23. The sky was slowly getting clearer and promised a fine day to get to know the youngest town in Argentina.
El Chaltén was created in 1985, as a geopolitical strategy that enabled to solve conflicts with Chile at Lago del Desierto. Its small group of houses grew amidst the Northern area of the Los Glaciares National Park and it has scarcely 150 residents.
With an Adventurous Spirit
Dreamed-of place of all mountain climbers in the world, El Chaltén has been declared national capital of hiking. Beyond the pomposity of the title, the truth is that in El Chaltén there are more than enough reasons to walk, because sites and paths to be visited end in landscapes as wild as magical.
The village lies on the Northwestern shores of Lake Viedma, between the De las Vueltas River, which gives origin to Lago del Desierto, and the Fitz Roy River, where the Torre lagoon’s source is. Its singular natural environment is characterized by the transition area between the Patagonian steppe and the Subantartic forest. Settled on an ancient glacier basin, El Chaltén is surrounded by pre-Andean ravines, and watched by the Viedma Glacier and the granite needles of the Torre and Fitz Roy Mounts.
There are several points you cannot miss. Without any doubt, one of them is Laguna de los Tres at the foot of the Fitz Roy Mount. Provided that the body and the willingness to walk can bear it, it takes five hours at sustained rhythm to reach this lagoon at the top. Another recommendation, with a higher dose of adrenaline, is hiking on the Torre Glacier and for the most trained adventurers, the seven-day trip along the ice-fields.
Less demanding tours but very recommended for their beauty are the excursion to Lago del Desierto, which can be made by car, van or bicycle, and lake excursions across Lake Viedma, getting to the homonymous glacier. Easily accessed and standing on your crampons, you can experience its icy landscapes of cracks, caves and ice peaks.
In short, El Chaltén is a magnificent nook to walk on, to get to know and be amazed in Southern nature.