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El Chaltén, Argentina:

El Chaltén

Trekking El Chalten in Glacier National Park, Patagonia Argentina

El Chaltén, the trekking capital of Argentina, is a small mountain village at the foot of Mt. Fitz Roy, in Santa Cruz Province, southern Patagonia.

 

The Fitz Roy is also known as Cerro Chaltén, a Tehuelche word which means "smoking mountain" for the cloud that generally forms around the mountain’s peak.

 

The distance to the town of El Calafate is a 220 km drive away. The trip covers an area of unspoiled landscape in the midst of the vast Patagonian steppe with a view of the mountain ranges. Mt. Fitz Roy and Mt. Torre attract many trekkers and mountaineers from around the world.

The small villa of El Chaltén provides a great tourism infrastructure for all visitors: hotels, inns, shelters, restaurants, bungalows, camping facilities, trekking tours, horseback riding, snack bars and tourist information center. If you choose to camp up in the mountains, walk towards the base camps through marked trails following in the the footsteps of daily tourists.

 

Laguna Hija - Patagonia trekking, El Chaltén, Argentina

El Chaltén is a fascinating experience, particularly for those fond of trekking. Hanging glaciers and millenarian forests turn this place into a haven for those willing to enjoy ecological and adventure tourism.

To fully appreciate the secrets of this special area, it is advisable to spend more than one day at El Chaltén to be able to experience the different activities available.


ATTRACTIONS

Capri Lake & Madre e Hija Lagoons

Laguna Madre and Laguna Hija Trekking scene from Fitz Roy base

A hiking trail along a winding road leads to Capri Lake, with Mt. Fitz Roy on the left. The walk takes a couple of hours through a scenic route that offers a great variety of birdlife, a lagoon with a special color and a gorgeous scenery right in the foothills of the incredible Fitz Roy. Camping is permitted on this area with spectacular views of the mountain ranges of El Chaltén. Go around Laguna Capri and follow the valley to get to the Laguna Madre and Laguna Hija (Mother and Daughter lagoons), which leads on to the Río Blanco base camp.

 

Río Blanco (White River)

Through the same road that leads to Capri Lagoon, walk towards the base of the Fitz Roy and cross several cascades. At this point is where the best part begins: with every step the landscape become greener, high mountain vegetation, sound of cascades as the background of this splendid road. Before crossing Río Blanco, there’s a detour to Río Blanco base camp (exclusive for climbers), an ideal spot to fully experience the high mountain climate. The camp is surrounded by mountains, forests and rivers. 1 1/2 hour away is the Laguna de Los Tres. Walking along the left margin of Río Blanco, all the way up to Río Eléctrico, there is another magnificent spot: Piedras Blancas Lagoon and Glacier.

 

Laguna de los Tres (Los Tres Lagoon)

De Los Tres Lagoon, self-guided trek in El Chaltén, Patagonia

This is the most famous of all hikes, with magnificent nature scenery, located at the closest spot to the majestic Fitz Roy, which can be reached by walking without any special climbing gear. From White River camp, follow a steep trail through a dense forest with magnificent views of Fitz Roy, till you reach Laguna de los Tres. The path ends at the cobalt blue Los Tres Lagoon, at the base of Cerro Fitz Roy, being the last stretch of this trail pretty steep. Enjoy the stunning views of the Fitz Roy and the other needle-shaped peaks. 200 meters from the Laguna de los Tres you will find the radiant Laguna Sucia.

Laguna Sucia (Dirty Lagoon)
This strange name lagoon is actually a magnificent glacier lake at the foot of Fitz Roy and other huge peaks around. To reach the Dirty lagoon, walk the same path as the Laguna de los Tres, and continue 200 meters from it. Once at Laguna Sucia appreciate its turquoise waters reflecting the hanging glaciers, along with the majestic view of Fitz Roy.

Laguna Torre & Torre Glacier

Fitz Roy Ice Trekking. Glacier Adventure - hike torre glacier

 Torre Glacier Trekking Fitz Roy. El Chalten, Patagonia Argentina
From camp "De Agostini", the trail goes through a beech forest where is common to see woodpeckers, red beret and flocks of parrots. After 3 hours walking up a mountain, bordering the Fitz Roy, you reach the Laguna Torre. At the lagoon, enjoy a splendid view of the Mount Torre where floating icebergs from the Glacier Grande & Glacier Torre are ideal for trekking. Torre is one of the hardest for the climbers.

 

Outdoor travel trekking Patagonia Fitz Roy, Mount Torre glacier

An unforgettable adventure that includes climbing, trekking, zip-lining, and direct contact with ice.

Mount Fitz Roy Hike
This hike is the main feature of the Glaciares National Park with views of  Mount Fitz Roy, Cerro Poincenot, Piedras Blancas Glacier, and other surrounding peaks. The hike begins by going up to Los Tres Lagoon where you can choose to relax on the shores of the appealing lake, or continue hiking up to the base of Mount Fitz Roy.


Mount Torre Hike

Hiking through a thick forest and following the Fitz Roy River to the base of Mount Torre, you reach the stunning Laguna Torre and Glacier Grande. At this point the Fitz Roy river begins with icebergs that have broken away from glacier. This is the second most popular highlight of El Chalten. Mount Torre is one of the most challenging for climbers.


Mount Poincenot Hike
After a normal route around 800 meters of technical climbing through ice and rock, you reach the sheer Poincenot hill near Mount Fitz Roy, both thrusting into the cobalt blue patagonian sky. It is possible to climb both Poincenot needle and Fitz Roy, being the most vertical ice climbing. There is a near camp site "Poincenot".

 

Chorrillo del Salto
Located 5 km from El Chalten, through the same route to Lago del Desierto, it is 1 hour walk on level ground along a well marked road, till you reach a 15 meters waterfall in the middle of the forest that rushes into crystal waters of a lagoon.

Lago del Desierto (Desert Lake)
Heading up north of El Chaltén is the Lago del Desierto, an alternative for those seeking unconventional experiences in contact with nature. The Río las Vueltas covers the 35 km distance and along the way it is possible to view a different view of the northern wall of the Mount Fitz Roy. The bridges over the rivers Río Blanco and Río Eléctrico are crossed, continuing along the western coast of Laguna Cóndor.

Piedra del Fraile (Monk Stone)
This camp is famous for its stunning view of Mount Fitz Roy in the northwest wall. There is a camping fee, cabins, bar, dining room, bathrooms and showers.

Flights
Qatar Airways

Flights to Argentina: Qatar Airways

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