Hiking in El Chalten Argentina has always been a dream of ours, and it finally came true this spring in Patagonia! During our stay we had a chance to do several of the most beautiful hikes in South America. If you’re planning a trip to this small, but incredible hiking town Argentina we have all the information you need. Our guide will take you through all the best day hikes in El Chalten, delicious restaurants, and even where to grab a drink after a long day on the trail.
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Getting to El Chalten from El Calafate
Flight: There’s no airport in El Chalten. This means you’ll have to fly into El Calafate (FTE) and then find your way by car or bus. The travel time between El Chalten and El Calafate is about three hours and twenty minutes.
Car: You can rent a car directly from the El Calafate Airport or at select places in town. Follow Route 40 North to where it connects with Highway 23, and it will you lead you right to El Chalten.
Bus: Buses run regularly from El Calafate and the journey takes about 3.5 hours. We bought our tickets roundtrip through our accommodation. You can also purchase them at the bus station, but make sure to book at least a day or two in advance.
Things to Know About Hiking in El Chalten
Free Trails: All trails in this post are free to explore! If you plan to do Laguna Toro while hiking in Patagonia you must register beforehand.
Park Map: Stop in the visitor center when you enter town for a map and tips on the area. This is also where the start of the Los Condores and Las Aguilas hikes are.
Water: The fresh water from the endless streams near El Chalten is safe to drink! Feel free to fill up your bottles if you need extra water.
Lunches: Many of the El Chalten restaurants offer packed lunches to go that you can pick up in the morning. There is also a grocery store and several smaller shops to make your own lunch. Some goodies we always love to hike with are apples, juice boxes, mixed nuts, chocolate, and chips!
Weather Warning: The weather on the trails can be dramatically different than in town. Make sure to pack a warm jacket, hat gloves, and several layers.
Day One: Travel Day/Los Condores and Las Aguilas Hikes
This is the perfect way to start off your time hiking in Patagonia! The trails are not very long or difficult, but still offers beautiful views. After you check into your accommodation take a stroll through town and slowly make your way to the head of the trail.
In total, it shouldn’t take more than two hours to complete the Los Condores and Las Aguilas trails. Once you finish stop by La Vinería or any of the other El Chalten restaurants in town and grab a local craft beer to celebrate the completion of your first hike!
Start of Hike: Centro de visitantes, Guardaparque Ceferino Fonzo, and Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Las Aguilas: One Hour – 2km
Las Aguilas to Los Condores View: 30 min – 1km
Time Needed: 2-3 Hours
Quick Tips for Los Condores and Las Aguilas Hikes
- Leave at least two and a half hours before sunset to ensure you’re not hiking back in the dark.
- Stop into the visitors center at the start of the hike to pick up a map of the park and get information on the area.
- If it’s not windy you can pack a picnic or beverage of your choice to enjoy at the top overlooking the city of El Calafate.
- Plan to do both the Los Condores and Las Aguilas at the same time to start your adventure hiking in Patagonia Argentina!
- The initial climb is the steepest and most difficult part of the trail, but from the top you’ll have your first amazing views of the mountains.
Day Two: Fitz Roy Hike
Fitz Roy has an international reputation for being not only one of the best hikes in El Chalten, but all of Patagonia! The beginning of the hike is pretty steep when leaving town, but after that you’ll have a pretty relaxing and beautiful walk.
Well, that is until you reach the last kilometer of the trail which will take you straight up the mountain to the Laguna de los Tres! Trust us… The views are more than worth it. Arriving back into town you’ll feel accomplished, tired, and fired up to hit more trails in the area!
Start of Hike: Follow San Martín Street leading out of town
Fitz Roy Viewpoint: 1:30 min – 4km
Laguna de Los Tres: 4 Hours – 10km
Time Needed: 8 Hours
Quick Tips for the Fitz Roy Hike
- Get an early start to the day (between 7-8am) to leave yourself plenty of time to make it back to town before sunset.
- Use the kilometer signs to track your distance and decide when to take rests.
- When the trail divides make sure to head towards the Mirador Lookout for the first amazing view!
- Save some food and treats for the walk back. If you eat your lunch overlooking the lagoon remember that you still have 10km, and 3+ hours of hiking back to the El Chalten restaurants. Definitely save some of your food and water so you can take breaks and stay energized.
Day Three: Rest Day or Easy Waterfall Hike
We added a rest day into the itinerary because it’s important to allow yourself time to relax and have an additional day in case of bad weather. The day we wanted to do the Fitz Roy hike it was raining so we had to push off our plans a bit.
It’s important to note that if we didn’t plan for an extra day in El Chalten we would have had to hike in the rain or completely miss out on one of our full day treks! No matter how much you plan and research, the weather is one thing you can’t control when hiking in Patagonia Argentina. Even visiting in the Spring (Late October) we had rain, wind, sun and even snow.
Chorrillo del Salto Waterfall Hike
Don’t need the rest day? Take a relaxing hike to the Chorrillo del Salto waterfall. This is considered the easiest hike in the area and has a small waterfall at the end of the trail. Many travelers pack picnics and spend the afternoon hanging out and enjoying the outdoors. To travel one way to the falls is only forty minutes and 3 km.
Day Four: Laguna Torre
You might be sore from the other hikes in El Chalten that you crushed, but don’t let that stop you from completing at least one more! Laguna Torre is a beautiful trail that takes you through a long valley before arriving at the base of the the lagoon and Cerro Torre.
Torre Viewpoint: 1:15 Minutes – 3km
Laguna Torre: 3 Hours – 9km
Maestri Viewpoint: 4 Hours – 11km
Total Time: 6-8 Hours
Quick Tips for Laguna Torre
- Start the day off early with another 7-8am start. Make sure to pre-book your lunch from one of the El Chalten restaurants and shops in town, or have it prepared the night before.
- Once you reach the Torre viewpoint lookout 2.5km into the hike the Laguna del Torre is mostly flat… At least compared to some of the other hiking in Patagonia Argentina, such as the massive mountain you would have climbed when hiking Mount Fitz Roy!
- After reaching the lake there is a 2 hour hike to the Maestri Viewpoint. The trail is on top of the cone shaped dome, and is made completely of loose rocks. If you don’t hike the entire way it’s still worth it for the incredible view.
- Walk down to the edge of the lagoon for a different perspective of the mountain with the water in front of you.
Our Favorite El Chalten Restaurants & Bars
For such a small town we found there to be endless food and drinking options. You should know that craft beer is huge in El Chalten, but of course you can always order a glass of the world famous Argentinian wine.
When it comes to eating out you’ll find everything from classic steaks, to delicious vegan meals, and endless pasta. Here are a few of the spots we enjoyed after a long day of hiking in El Chalten Argentina!
- La Vineria: Awesome happy hour spot for drinks and light snacks in main part of town.
- Curcuma: Vegan El Chalten restaurant which also makes great box lunches for hiking. Try the buckwheat crust pizza!
- Don Guerra: Great grill with both western and traditional Argentina food. We shared a fajita plate here and it was fantastic.
- Rancho Grande: The hostel we stayed at also has a popular restaurant inside. They specialize in empanadas and popular Italian dishes like pasta and pizza.
- Bourbon Smokehouse: Fun barbecue joint in the center of town with a great view of the mountains.
Have any questions about hiking in Patagonia Argentina? Or want to share your favorite El Chalten day hikes? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In El Chalten Argentina
Ultra Luxury – Destino Sur Hotel & Spa de Montaña – This amazing hotel is set in the heart of El Chalten and offers a spa, bike rentals, and even guided tours. Enjoy a large breakfast to start off your day and views of the mountains in the distance from every room.
Fun Vacation – Infinito Sur – This accommodation feels rustic, yet comfortable. Infinito Sur is close to the center which makes it easy walking distance to all the best restaurants and bars. Have an Argentinean buffet breakfast before starting your adventures hiking in Patagonia Argentina.
Hostel Life – Rancho Grande – Rancho Grande is the most popular hostel in town, and we really enjoyed our stay there! It’s filled with a great atmosphere for backpackers and hikers alike, and has a full restaurant and bar. It also features inexpensive dorms and private rooms as well as a kitchen if you want to prep your own meals.
For more places to stay in El Chalten you can explore the latest prices here!
Argentina Travel Planning
Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Remember that a lot of the time it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Argentina than driving or taking the bus!
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling in Argentina. It is especially fun to have a car in scenic regions like Patagonia.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Explore More of Argentina
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- Cruising the Magical Seven Lakes Drive on Argentina’s Route 40
- Day Trip to the Brazilian Side of Iguazu Falls
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