El Chaltén is a small village situated at the foot of impressive Mount Fitz Roy. Located in the northern part of Los Glaciares National Park, the area has been designated the Trekking Capital of Argentina. It is filled to the brim with great hiking trails that attract thousands of visitors every year.
Walk Patagonia, a small company that specializes in trekking inside the Park and the Southern Ice Fields, describes their hometown saying: “El Chaltén is located on the northern shore of Lake Viedma, at the confluence of rivers “De las Vueltas” and “Fitz Roy”, in the northern sector of ?? Glacier National Park. This spot combines the magic of glaciers and hidden lagoons, with rich Estancia history, Lake Viedma, and the magnetic presence of Mount Fitz Roy. The unmistakable, omnipresent silhouette of Fitz Roy is almost always covered by a blanket of clouds. In fact, the indigenous Tehuelche thought these clouds were smoke, an error that resulted in their naming the mountain, Chaltén, which means "mountain that smokes".
The village is of El Chaltén is located near the shores of Viedma Lake, approximately 220 Km from El Calafate, and has about 400 permanent inhabitants. Each year, during the months of October through March, it becomes the center of activity for thousands of trekkers and climbers from around the world. Due to the popularity of hiking, we suggest making your reservations at least one month in advance for the January - February high season. This is a place in high demand!
El Chaltén was founded October 12, 1985, which makes it the youngest town in Argentina. It was created as a service and support center for National Park visitors. It didn’t take long, before young entrepreneurs began to arrive, with the dreams of living and sharing this incredible natural area.
Among the many things to do, we recommend:
Hitting some trails. There are 100s, but here’s a few for inspiration:
- Chorrillo del Salto Waterfall Trail
- Hike to Capri Laguna, Poincenot Camping and the Blanco River
- Hiking to Laguna de los Tres
- Trail to the Piedras Blancas Glacier Overlook
- Hike to the Laguna and Cerro Torre Overlook
- Lago del Diablo Trail
Embark on other Adventures. The possibilities are practically endless. A few of our favorites include:
- Viedma Lake and Glacier Multisport Excursion: The Viedma Glacier is the second largest in Patagonia and one of the few with easy access for visitors. Just 15 Km from El Chaltén, this full day excursion offers a boat excursion, hiking, and ice-trekking.
- Visit the La Quinta Estancia, located in the entrance of the city, where you can relax and learn the history of the area with Patricia Halvorsen, granddaughter of one of the original pioneers of the area, Halvor Halvorsen. Patricia is a renowned historian and storyteller who loves sharing legends and stories about the area. She offers an entertaining tour of the Estancia, which is a great option for lodging during your visit. It offers comfortable accommodations, a restaurant, and lots of activities. The Halvorsen family is the only with permanent residence in El Chaltén, since the pioneer era. Their heritage spans over a century in this sector.
- Browse the boutiques and fairs, where you’ll find a wealth of hand crafted souvenirs to remember your trip. From chocolates to technical mountain gear, El Chaltén has it all.
- Splurge on an incredible Gastronomic Experience. There are 30+ restaurants in the village offering a wide range of flavors and styles, most of which incorporate local elements.
- Relax and unwind in one of the town’s spas, which offer a wide range of services including saunas, massage treatments, manicures, pedicures and facials.
Some Festivals to Keep in Mind:
- Celebration of the Town’s Anniversary: Every October 12, El Chaltén celebrates the town anniversary with dancing in the school gym, barbecues and live music.
- The National Trekking Festival takes place each year during the last week of February. Popular with rock climbing and bouldering enthusiasts, this festival combines climbing competitions with traditional cultural events; even woodcutting. The festival also includes running and mountain-bike races.