El Chaltén, the best hiking and climbing spot in Patagonia, many trails lead to the base of surrounding peaks and glacial lakes.
Day 12, after a day out on the glacier, we jumped on the CalTur bus to El Chaltén. The journey lasted 3 hours, there wasn’t too much surprise that it’s raining when we arrived. The town is pretty small so is easy to find your way to anywhere on foot.
El Chaltén is a small mountain village, it’s located in the riverside of Rio de las Vueltas, within the Los Glaciers National Park at the base of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy mountains, both popular for climbing and hiking numerous trails, such as those to the base of surrounding peaks and glacial lakes, such as Laguna Torre.
For those reasons, El Chaltén was named Argentina’s Trekking Capital. It was built in 1985 to help secure the disputed border with Chile. Today the sole reason for it’s existence is tourism. It’s 220km north of El Calafate.
We lodged in Hem Herhu, about 2km away from the bus terminal. This hostel is located at the end of the village where the trails begin. The advantage of staying here as it’s close to the trail and the disadvantage is it’s bloody far from everything else – restaurants, ATMs and tour agencies.
After dropping our luggage we had a little stroll in town. This wasn’t particularly great as it was pouring down rain. We tried to sort out our activity for the next day. There are many choices of trails but since we are only going to be here 2 days, we decided to do one of the hard trail to Fitz Roy peak. We consulted with an tour agent who recommended us to take the shuttle bus to Hostería El Pilar, cost 150 pesos per person each way. By this way, you will only do the trail one way instead of return. From the town El Chaltén up to the Peak of Fitz Roy is solid 10km and you will only be going up instead of climbing downward.
After booking our shuttle the rain has stopped so we decided to visit Chorrillo del Salto which is located 3km from our hostel. The trek to Chorrillo del Salto is easy, we walked almost on the flat ground by the river Rio de las Vueltas. The view on the way to the waterfall wasOK, occasionally you can see the peak of the Fitz Roy when the cloud blows over.