The visual beauty of El Chaltén is evident when you step out at the bus station – your first sight is bound to be the towering Fitz Roy peak. The other incredible thing about El Chaltén is its location, in Los Glaciares National Park where almost every dead end in town turns into a trail you can wander off along. If you’re looking for something a little more intense, or want an organized tour, you have a long list to choose from, and here we have cherry picked our favourites.
Lago del Desierto
At the north end of town on a clear day, you will see hoards of people heading towards the Fitz Roy trail but prior to that, the road splits and Route 40 leads north to Laguna del Desierto. On the 37 kilometer shuttle ride you will stop to enjoy views of various glaciers, waterfalls and other stunning nature before arriving at the beautiful Lake of the Desert and end with a little trek up to the Huemul Glacier.
Rafting El Chaltén
Get off your weary feet, sit on your backside and get an amazing adrenaline rush with one of the few tours that is geared around water that is not frozen. Being in the Park of the Glaciers, you can ride some glacier runoff in a guided rafting tour that will lead you through Class 3 rapids and makes for a different talking point to everyone else who will all be walking the same trails.
Calgiero Glacier Ice Trekking
A full day trek that will take your breath away in more ways than one. You’ll start with a guided walk through the forests, around the Lagoon of the Devil to a stunning lookout to snap some photos, before strapping on the crampons and exploring the glacier.
Sailing Viedma Lake
Visit one of the lesser known but highly impressive glaciers in the area as you cruise the calm, beautiful waters of the Tunel River Delta from the harbour and right across the front edge of the glacier. You will meander alongside the glacier, between icebergs all while being informed by your bilingual and very informative guide. A very peaceful approach to seeing some incredibly unique scenery.
Paso del Viento
With an ever-present wind in El Chalten, it is not surprising there is a place named the Wind Pass, but it is surprising how few people explore through here. Take a three day excursion and hike from El Chaltén to Laguna Toro, try to stay dry as you cable and harness across the Tunel River basin, and hike your way up the Tunel Glacier to get a view of the Patagonia Ice Field as well as the Viedma glacier. Then head back to base camp for your final night.
Southern Ice Field Expedition
Feel like a challenge? If you tentatively said, sure, then don’t entertain this tour as this trek will take you out of your comfort zone for seven or eight days, weather dependent, though the rewards are undeniable. This 90 km journey will lead you through the elements and across the Marconia Glacier, provide tremendous views of the famous Fitz Roy and Cerro Torres peaks, and allow you to camp next to Lake Ferrari. No experience is required but a good physical condition is necessary and previous cold weather trekking experience is recommended.
Chalten Main Points/Total
If you want to pack everything into your time in El Chaltén, and don’t want to waste any time planning, organizing, and waiting, then you are not alone as this tour has been created for trekkers like you. Known as Chaltén Main Points or Chaltén Total, this five night, six day guided trek will lead you to the main points surrounding El Chaltén, like Laguna de los Tres, Laguna Toro, Laguna Torre and Paso del Viento without having to return to town until the end.