El Chalten

Welcome to the Argentine mecca for climbers and trekkers. Learn about the attractions and things to do in El Chaltén, the best time to visit and our insider tips to prepare your next travel adventure.

El Chaltén is a little mountaineering village, founded 1985 and located inside the Glaciers National Park in Argentine Patagonia. For many years this secluded place remains as the unexplored spot for intrepid travelers whose main delight is to hike and explore nature. Today, though it manages to preserve its little-town ambiance, El Chaltén is visited for many people every year who enjoy hikes of different lengths and difficulty levels. Is in this isolated corner of Patagonia where the famous Mount Fitz Roy can be admired. Mount Chaltén is another highlight near the village which was named after this colossal and sacred mountain for the Tehuelches, the natives of the region. Its summit, frequently covered by clouds, was called by the Tehuelches “Chaltén” which means “smoking mountain” in the Tehuelches’ language. In 2015, Chaltén was declared “National Capital of Trekking”, but, apart from the descent of hiking trails and climbing routes, travelers can also enjoy other adventure activities like kayaking, horseback riding and sailing. We invite you to read our El Chaltén Travel Guide!

Attractions
Attractions

Attractions

Eating & Drinking
Eating & Drinking

Eating & Drinking

Tours You Might Like

Tips & Advice

Tips & Advice

How many days should I stay in the village?

We recommend at least 3 nights in El Chalten to be able to do 2 full day trekking explorations.

Best time to visit El Chaltén

The best time to visit El Chaltén of the year is during the summer. The season is from October to April, but the truth is that you can visit all year round. In winter there are fewer hotels and restaurants available and the climate is harder for outdoor activities, such as hiking, but it is still possible to visit in winter. 

The seasons are well defined throughout the year. Summer is mild with average temperatures of 12ºC, days with many hours of sunlight, normally windy and moderate rainfall. Winter is cold, with an average temperature of 2ºC, short days, little wind and sporadic snowfalls.

How to get there?

Flight: You can take a flight to El Calafate International Airport and from there travel by land the last 200 km to El Chaltén.  

Self-drive: The access route to El Chaltén is in good condition, It is one of the newest routes in the country. The route was paved in 2003, it is double-handed, without potholes and perfectly signposted. Routes: Provincial Route 11, National Route 40 and Provincial Route 23.  All paved.

Bus: There are shared buses from El Calafate to El Chalten that operate everyday. There is also shuttle service from hotels in El Calafate to El Chalten. If you want to connect El Chaltén with Bariloche by bus there are 2 options. Take a 2 days and 1 night exploration from El Chaltén, or go by bus to El Calafate and from there take a bus to Bariloche (24 hours trip).

Can I find ATMs in El Chaltén?

There is only one ATM and sometimes it runs out of cash, so we recommend having cash with you because otherwise you may run out of money. Also the phone and internet signal is sometimes not good and that makes it difficult to pay by card in some places. We recommend that you have cash with you.

Is there an internet connection in El Chaltén?

Yes, but the signal is not very strong and is usually intermittent.

Do you need previous experience to carry out the activities?

No. You do not need to have any experience in trekking, mountaineering, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting, etc.In fact, the majority of activities are concentrated on self-guided trails, which run along well-marked roads in good condition so that you feel safe at all times. For longer or more difficult hikes it is advisable to be in good physical condition. Only in the ascensions or expeditions it will be necessary to have some experience in climbing or trekking.

Is it possible to travel with small children?

Yes. Depending on the age, you should consider certain cares:

Toddler: With a baby carrier you will be able to enjoy short or medium length walks of low difficulty.

Child: They can do the low-difficulty trails respecting their rest times. We recommend constant hydration and never leave them alone.  

Teenagers: They can do almost all the excursions if they are used to walking in the mountains.

Some excursions have age restrictions such as rafting, kayaking, etc.

How much money can I spend per day in El Chaltén?

We estimate around USD 50/100 per day, per person for daily expenses like eating, shopping and transportation, depending on how much money you want to spend on these.

Exchange money and using CC

Credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted, but it will be more convenient for you to exchange pesos rather than using US dollars because the rate that shops or restaurants use might not be the most convenient.

What facilities do NOT exist?

El Chaltén is a very young and developing town, so some facilities do not exist yet: Hospital (the nearest district hospital is in El Calafate), banks and exchange offices, cinemas, theaters, cultural centers, auditoriums or convention centers.

What to include in your luggage

Patagonia is famous for its changeable climate and for the strong winds during the austral summer. Particularly in the El Chaltén area, cloudy or rainy days are frequent in the summer and the temperature contrasts between day and night are accentuated due to the proximity of the Southern Continental Ice. 

If you are going to spend the night in a base camp, you should bear in mind that it is not unusual for small snowfalls to occur, especially in the months of October, November, March and April. Good footwear (preferably trekking boots) and clothing using the layering method (first an undergarment that allows rapid evapotranspiration and drying, then another warm garment and finally a windbreaker) is the most recommended.

Tickets to Glaciers National Parks

To enter Glaciers National Park we do not have to pay for the entrance. Unlike the South Zone (where the Perito Moreno Glacier is located) in the North Zone of Los Glaciares National Park there is no entrance fee. 

You can enter freely to all the trails that start from El Chaltén and run inside the National Park. There are trails located outside the National Park on private property where you will have to pay the entrance fee, as in the cases of the Laguna Azul and Laguna Diablo in the Estancia Los Huemules or the trail to the Huemul Glacier in Lago del Desierto.

Sustainability

Sustainability

El Chalten

Local businesses

 

  • Sirio Artesanías

Tools and objects made of wood, metal and textiles. Mates, accessories, looms. In Sirio Artesanías you will be able to find souvenirs from this region.

Address: Lago del Desierto 330, Z9301 El Chaltén.

Days and hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Price: Free entry.

 

  • Chalteños: alfajores y dulces artesanales

It is a coffee with artisan elaboration of alfajores and sweets from the region. You can go to enjoy tea time and, if you like their products, buy to take away or give as gifts.

Address: Av. Del Libertador Gral. 249, El Chaltén.

Days and hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Price: Free entry.

 

Who to meet

 

  • Guido Grando – Iron Artist

Guido Grando is a craftsman who, in addition to traditional blacksmithing, creates other objects, such as making cutlery. Although he is not a native of El Chaltén, he fell in love with the city when he met it and now lives there. He inaugurated the first art gallery in El Chaltén, “La  espatula rosada”, and he exhibited a sculpture of a large metal condor with outstretched wings.

Address: Antonio Rojo 236

Phone: +54 2962 493251

How to help

 

  • Comedor Comunitario Municipal

It is a municipal soup kitchen created to give food to people affected by the pandemic. Although it was first a private action, the Municipality took over and now these activities are carried out at the Municipal Headquarters.

Address: Av. Martín M. de Güemes 21

 

Sustainability tips

 

  • Take your reusable bag with you when you go shopping.
  • Choose the consumption of local products from artisans and small producers.
  • Travel the city by bike or on foot, it is healthy and does not leave a carbon footprint.
  • When you go on an excursion, ask for food without plastic wrap.
  • Don’t leave trash in nature.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you to carry water in restaurants.
  • Don’t feed native fauna.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and batteries.