We can arrange itineraries to include El Chalten
EL CHALTEN TREKKING INFO↓
Easy "El Chalten" Treks ↓
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ABOUT EL CHALTEN
PATAGONIA TRAVEL DESTINATION
El Chalten for Mount Fitzroy
To get to El Chalten you will need to get to El Calafate first. The transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten takes about 3 hrs. We can include this return transfer in any itinerary we arrange for you.
El Chalten is a very small touristic village located beyond the northern end of Lake Viedma and within the Los Glaciares National Park 200km north from El Calafate. Originally the indigenous Tehuelche people named the high-jagged peak, now called Mount Fitzroy, as El Chalten, which means “smoky mountain”. Considering that for most of the year Mount Fitzroy is shrouded in mist the “smoky mountain” name is appropriate. However, the peak was re-named Mount Fitzroy after Captain Robert Fitzroy of Charles Darwin’s ship “The Beagle” (Charles Darwin being an important and historic scientific naturalist who came to the southern shores of Patagonia), but the name El Chalten was adopted by the settlers as the name of the village.
Historically El Chalten had been considered to be within Chile until Argentine nationals began to live here. Today the village is considered to be within Argentina, but it is adjacent to the still disputed border boundary between Chile and Argentina. Both countries, until now, have not agreed on where the official border should be in this zone and the Lago del Desierto (a long narrow lake north of El Chalten) is an area whose political future is yet to be finally determined. It is also very close to the southern-most village of mainland Chile – Villa O’Higgins, at the end of the Careterra Austral road.
The main attraction – Mount Fitzroy, resembles the “Torres” in Torres del Paine National Park, reaching a height of 3,400m with vertical sides that create an impressive and dramatic mountain spectacle. El Chalten is primarily a base for serious hikers who wish to hike the trails in the area or climb the challenging peaks.
Considering that El Chalten sits within the national park people mainly sleep in the village and each day will walk one of the hiking trails then return to their same comfy hotel at night, avoiding the need to camp.
The park rangers located at the entrance to the village provide camping and national park information for visitors. The tourist trade has spawned a few restaurants and basic shops in town, and some of the accommodations provide internet and phone access. There are a few hikers’ hostels, a handful of boutique-style, small hotels and one top-end hotel in town. Other than that, the village is fairly far removed from the normal flow of news and communication, even during high season (November-February), and is nearly deserted during off-season (the Southern Hemisphere winter).
ARRIVALS & TRANSFERS
To get to El Chalten you will first need to get to El Calafate. From El Calafate to El Chalten is a 3hr drive. To get to El Calafate you need to fly in from either Buenos Aires or Ushuaia, and you can come in from Bariloche too. You can also come in by road from Torres del Paine, Puerto Natales and even Punta Arenas. From Torres del Paine or Puerto Natales to El Calafate is 6hrs, including the two border crossings and if coming all the way from Punta Arenas is will be 9hrs total time approx to El Calafate plus the 3hrs to then get to El Chalten.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The main reason for El Chalten´s “fame” is the trekking routes and challenging climbing it offers.
CLOTHES TO WEAR
Try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. Cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.
Ideally clothes such as:
Over your body skin: an under vest (long sleeved if possible) made, ideally, from synthetic fibres so it dries quickly. If very cold weather (ie early spring, winter months or autumn) then thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres. The reason for synthetic fibres is because when you are walking several hours you will build up a sweat and your under garments will get wet, this then gets cold when you stop and will make you cold unless the wet material dries quickly. Cotton does not dry quickly, whereas synthetic material will dry more quickly.
Over your under vest: a breathable top such as a fleece.
Over your fleece: a waterproof windbreaker over jacket.
For your legs: trekking pants, resistant to rain and wind, but made from a breathable material otherwise you will sweat. Jeans are NOT good as they can get wet and not dry.
Over your trekking pants: waterproof shell pants to go over your trekking pants in the event of heavy rain.
For your feet: wool or synthetic socks. Waterproof trekking boots with ankle support and none-slip sole. If new make sure you break them in prior to using them on a trek.
For your hands: gloves. Close to glaciers it can be very cold.
For your head: a warm hat (not a jockey cap), sunglasses and sun-protection cream and a headband to keep your ears warm when not using the hat.
For your personal use: a back pack for food, water and clothes.
For your safety: a battery-operated torch for when power is out or if you are arriving to a refugio in the dark. Take with you during the trek extra water and snacks. Prepare for all weather conditions and dress for the outdoors. Do NOT go off the trail because if you have the slightest incident such as twisting an ankle, you may not be found.
Average Temperatures in TDP during the year
Summer (Dec – Jan – Feb) Max + 23.5°c / Min + 0.8°c.
Our featured hotels and suppliers have been selected by us for one or more of their attributes such as: location, views, surroundings, comfort, professional service, “uniqueness”, food and/or overall good feeling that one gets from being there.
PATAGONIA TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
Torres del Paine is quite simply one of the most amazing geographical wonders of the world. Set in the heart of an area of incredible outstanding natural beauty, Patagonia.
El Chalten is a very small touristic village located beyond the northern end of Lake Viedma and within the Los Glaciares National Park 200klometers north from El Calafate.
Puerto Natales is the closest village to Torres del Paine, which is only a one-hour drive entering from the west or a two-hour drive entering from the east.
Punta Arenas is accessible by a 4hr flight from Santiago, often with a short stop-over in Puerto Montt. The Southern-most city of the American continent.
The first time the name Ushuaia appeared in writing was when, in 1869, the English missionary Waite Hockin Stirling documented his experiences of living with the Yamana people.
El Calafate is the gateway to the large Perito Moreno Glacier and trekking at El Chalten. It is also a stop-off on the way to Torres del Paine in Chile and Ushuaia in southern Argentina.
TORRES DEL PAINE
Tierra Patagonia Hotel
TORRES DEL PAINE
Explora Salto Chico Hotel
Please supply us with as much information as you can about where you want to go, what you want to do, what you want to experience and how much money you want to spend (or do not want to spend!). How many people, what type of beds (matrimonial, twin, single etc.)
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Remember, our speciality is to create a travel itinerary custom-built to your needs.