Argentina El Chalten (EC) - General Info

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Hougaard Malan

About This Spot

This tiny town, situated 2 hours North of El Calafate, is one of the world’s most popular hiking destinations. It is nestled in a deep valley below one of the most impressive
mountainous skylines you’ll ever see; the three serrated teeth of Cerro Torre and the conical granite towers known as The Poincenot and Mt. Fitz Roy. The surrounding landscape features river gorges, waterfalls, glacial lakes, normal lakes and unbelievable Beech and Lenga forests. As with Torres del Paine, any landscape photographer could spend a month here without getting bored. The main difference between TdP and EC is that you can spend a lot of time here on a small budget. There are cheap hosterias and grocery stores in town and you don’t need a car to access the locations above the plateau - they are only accessible by foot. You can camp in the mountains for days and when the weather turns bad, check into a hosteria, rest, refuel, resupply and head out again when the weather turns.

El Chalten has something for everyone, but it has a lot more for those who are willing to do some hiking. For the less adventurous it is still absolutely worth a visit - it offers 3 fantastic locations that are an easy walk from a parking lot. There are countless brilliant locations that are 60-120 minutes hike from town on easy, but uphill trails. For those willing to hike 3-5 hours, it offers some of the world’s most photogenic glacial lakes.

This destination’s spots are sorted by accessibility, so the easy spots are first and the toughest ones last.

There are two hiking trail starting points at the edges of town - One is at the end of the main street (San Martin) and goes to Lago Capri and Lago De los Tres. The other is on the Western edge of town, easiest reached by walking up and past the Los Cerros hotel (the very large one on the hill) and continuing towards the mountains - this trail goes to Lago Torre. If you intend to do some hiking, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with these two points.

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