Another step during our World tour, El Chalten, capital of hiking.
We went in February 2019. Our goal was to see the Fitz Roy and enjoy as much as we could this beautiful area.
Country: Argentina / Capital: Buenos Aires
Currency: Argentine Pesos
El Chalten is a little tourisland for hikers: hostels, hotels, bars and restaurants everywhere. There are a few shops also. It is quite cute but also becomes quickly boring.
Chorillo del Salto
Interest : Big waterfall
Time : Less than 2h to go and come back
Distance : 3km
This hike is very easy and accessible to everyone.
We walk along the river, then we go through a little forest. At the end of the path there is the waterfall.
On the way back we change a bit the path : instead of walking on the road along the river we walk on the mountain.
The good point with this hike it that we can do it on rainy and sunny days.
Interest : Amazing view of the glacier
Time : Around 3h to go to the lake (one way) and 4h30 to the Maestri view point (one way)
Distance : 9km to the lake and 11km to the viewpoint
Difficulty: Easy to go to the lake then medium to go to the Maestri viewpoint
This hike is quite easy to do to the lake. You walk through the forest so you are protected from the wind. You see a canyon with the river running into it, some waterfalls on the way. Before reaching the lake, you follow the river. The views, when the mountains are not under the clouds are just stunning. My advice would be (in case of bad weather, or wind and clouds): go camping at the lake, and the next day wake up super early to do the latest viewpoint (Maestri).
The camping area is quite big and there is a toilet. It is a perfect place to stay one night.
Laguna de los Tres & around
Interest : Amazing view of the Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre, of the lakes in one side and of the valley on the other side
Time : 2h-2h30 to Poincenot (camping) then 1h15 to Laguna de los Tres
Distance : 8km to Poincenot then 2km to Laguna de los Tres
Difficulty: Medium (to Poincenot with a flat trail during one hour) – Hard (last part to the Laguna de los Tres)
The first part of the hike is quite hard : 350m steep till the mirador Fitz Roy ; the nit is easy to go to Poincenot as flat all the way. You will have the choice to go to either the mirador or to Laguna Capri to go to Poincenot. You can do both and chance each way. The view of the lake is very nice.
The hike going from Poincenot to Laguna de los Tres is very steep and can be very hard for those who haven’t hikes such hikes for a while. Half of the hike looks like a big staircase. There is a wonderful view of the valley. Once you reach the point of view, it is amazing ! It is really worth the effort ! Nevertheless, I advise you, if you camp, to either go early morning or after 4pm (if the weather allows you to do it) because there will be less people as they need 2h30 to arrive to Poincenot.
Regarding the camping area, it looks like a music festival with all the colorful tents everywhere ; but everyone can get a spot. There is a river near the camping place to have drinkable water, and toilets…smelling bad… I advise wou not to put your tent near the WC…
There are several buses going there.
It is about 3 hours from el Calafate and 5 hours from Punta Arenas.
It is 800 ARS one way.
We chose the camping option because it is cheap and also because we definitely confirmed that we cannot stand hostels.
We went camping at El Rancho. Is costs 280 ARS per person per tent. There is a kitchen with gaz and a dirty fridge (tourists’ fault). The commune area is quite nice. There are toilets and hot showers.
When hiking we chose to use the camping sites as they are free and because this avoided us to go and come back every day.
* Cayetano:Very good hamburgers and tortillas. Very good music and very smiley owners.
Address: Ave. San Martin N°84
*Domo Blanco: Great ice cream
Address: Ave. San Martin n°164
*Restaurant just on the left of Domo Blanco is great. Super small but very good (you can take to go).
*Nipo Nino: Excellent empanadas
Address: Ave. San Martin n°872
Go to see the rangers to confirm your itinerary and double check the weather.
Take their little map of the park because it is great : there are all the hikes, the distances and the times reported on it.
Bring water, hiking sticks, warm clothes with several layers (especially if you camp), a hat and gloves.