Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Although we travelled to El Calafate prior to El Chaltén we returned to El Calafate so I’ll tell you about El Chaltén first!
We travelled with CalTur for the 3 hour journey from El Calafate to El Chaltén ($550ARS return to El Calafate). The bus stops about 2 minutes from town in the Park Ranger Office so you can listen to a quick safety briefing (in Spanish and English). We stayed at Condor de Los Andes for 2 nights ($ARS230 per person per night) – in a dorm room for just the second time in our whole trip. The first night was fine; we met a lovely couple from Buenos Aires but the second night we had 2 Brazilian guys and one of them must be the snoring champion of the world. Such fun! Also there was an absolute scramble from the bus station to look for accommodation so I’d definitely advise booking here before just showing up.
Anyway, as our time was short in El Chaltén we decided on a day hike from the town up to a viewpoint at Laguna Torre to see a glacier. We did the 9km (each way) trek in about 6 hours. It’s quite hilly here and there even though they say it’s relatively flat so just be prepared for that. There are a few viewpoints or miradors on the journey with views of Cerro Torre and the valleys around El Chaltén before you reach the base of Laguna Torre with the glacier reaching right to the mouth of the lake. It’s pretty beautiful and if the weather had been kind to us then we would have had stunning views of Mount Fitzroy in the background. We walked along the ridge high above the lake to a mirador called Mellinsk (about half an hour to the top from the lake) to get a view up along the glacier; it’s definitely worth the extra half an hour climbing as you get much better views of the glacier than just down by the lake.
El Chaltén is the tiniest of towns – if you’re not in to hiking then there really wouldn’t be much to do. There are quite a few restaurants, most of which don’t open until 7pm, and La Cerveceria, an expensive see joint where you get popcorn along with your drinks. Wifi was terrible in El Chaltén, although we had some spotty reception in a nice little café, Lo de Haydee, which also had very tasty apple crumble.
That’s kind of all there is to say…I probably wouldn’t be in a rush back.
Next stop: El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier